‘The String of Compassion. Couperus and Japan’

June 14th 2013 until August 25th 2013

Riksja Thumb

Japan Museum SieboldHuis will host the exhibition ‘The Cord of Compassion: Louis Couperus and Japan’ from 14th June until 25th August. This exhibition is part of the Louis Couperus Anniversary celebrations in honour of the author’s 150th birthday. This exhibition provides a rich illustration of Couperus’ Japan.

Follow Couperus at the height of his fame, on his 1922 journey to Japan. Couperus reported on his year-long travels through the Dutch East Indies and China with Japan as his final destination in letters commissioned by the Dutch weekly paper De Haagse Post. According to Couperus the purpose of his journey was “not to study economic conditions, not to study the depth of the Japanese seas, but to simply write numerous light hearted tourist letters”. As ‘special correspondent’ he visited many of the tourist highlights. Central to this exhibition are his travelogues, compiled in Nippon and his adaptations of the Japanese legends in The Cord of Compassion. These deeply personal Japanese journals are the jewel in the crown of their oeuvre. The works of Couperus gave the Dutch a portrait of Japan, a land that was, for many unattainable.

This exhibition offers an extensive study of subjects as varied as Japanese silk farming and the intricacies of the Japanese tea ceremony. The tourist hotspots of the 1920’s are depicted in a series of photographs. View the prints, manuscripts, periodicals and objects that inspired Couperus in his translation and interpretation of Japanese legends. His hand written manuscript of The Cord of Compassion gives an insight into the author’s creative process. The images described by Couperus in his writing are brought to life in the Japan Museum SieboldHuis.