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January General Meeting – Ennin’s Green Road: A Short Excursion in 9th c. China & Japan

Title: Ennin’s Green Road: A Short Excursion in 9th c. China & Japan
Speaker:
Virginia Stibbs Anami

Date&time: Wednesday, January 17,  10:00 am ~ 11:30 am

Venue: Online Streaming >>
A Zoom link will be shared with attendees in the registration confirmation email and also in a reminder email on the day prior to the event.

Fee: No payment is required.

RSVP: RSVP by January 15

The 10-year diary of Japanese Buddhist monk Ennin (円仁)(794–864)’s travels in China, some 1,200 years ago, lay dormant until American Ambassador to Japan Edwin O. Reischauer arrived in Tokyo in 1961. In his speeches he frequently mentioned Ennin, sparking interest in the ancient document, one of Asia’s three great travel journals. It was Reischauer’s PhD. dissertation at Harvard: translating Classical Chinese writing into English.

I was inspired by Reischauer to use Ennin’s Diary to find the places where he had walked during China’s Tang (唐) Dynasty. Searching for his routes since 1983, it not only taught me a lot about all aspects of Tang times, but it also helped me learn a lot about present day China, as it gave me an excuse to explore old paths and remote villages, befriend all sorts of people and begin in 2002 what I call Ennin’s Green Road.
It was Ennin’s own will that requested not to build a memorial, instead a tree should mark his grave. As I read the Diary, I found that Ennin and his group were greatly helped by all sorts of people on their travels. Planting trees was a way of recognizing their hospitality and people were elated to find their place mentioned in such a document. Later, the Green Road was expanded to Japan, as Ennin also traveled far and wide spreading the knowledge he had gained from the far more sophisticated China. At his death, he was the first monk here to receive the title of Daishi (Great Teacher) and is known to most Japanese as Jikaku Daishi(慈覚大師). Each of these 58 plantings has a story so I will share a variety of them as we follow Ennin’s footsteps.

Virginia Stibbs Anami (阿南史代) Profile:

Virginia Anami, “Ginny”, (Anami Fumiyo 阿南史代) grew up in New Orleans. After marrying her Japanese diplomat husband Ambassador Koreshige Anami (阿南惟茂), whom she met in Taiwan, she became a naturalized Japanese citizen in 1970.They lived in Japan, U.S., Pakistan, Australia and China (3 postings to Beijing altogether 12 years).
Earned B.A., (East) Asian Studies, Scripps College, California then, M.A., (East) Asian Studies, East-West Center, University of Hawaii. Taught Chinese History at Temple University Japan Campus (2006~2018). Awarded Distinguished Alumna Award from Scripps College in 2011, and “You Bring Charm to China” Award by Tianjin and Phoenix TV in 2009. She has written six books.

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