18th Meeting Bloomington, 1975: Report by Matsumura Jun

Source: Matsumura Jun: „Dai jū hakkai kokusai Arutai gakusha kaigi“, Tōyō gakuhō, Vol. 57, pp. 260–265

The Eighteenth Meeting of the Permanent International Altaistic Conference

by Matsumura Jun

tr. by Oliver Corff

The Permanent International Altaistic Conference, also known as PIAC, which was founded in 1962 [sic!], had its previous meeting in Bonn, West Germany. Mori Masao of Tokyo University participated in that Meeting. This meeting took place in Indiana University, the home base of Denis Sinor, who in fact ran the meeting by himself. Indiana University is located in the quiet university town of Bloomington which is about 50 miles or two hours by bus away from Indianapolis, capital of the state of Indiana, in the Midwestern United States. Said to be founded in 1820, Indiana University is one of the oldest public universities in the United States. The meeting took place during the summer vacation period. In the American Midwest, daytime temperatures in summer frequently exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and the green trees of the university campus evoke the idea of an oasis in a desert. The Indiana Memorial Union is a luxurious building which offers excellent accommodation and meeting facilities, and the participants stayed one week at these premises.

Since I had received the last Circular in London on June 14th, I think that foreign participants could only make it in time if they rushed through the necessary procedures. Anyway, I followed the directions of the Circular and I arrived at Indiana University on June 29th. In the waiting hall of the Greyhound Bus Station in Indianapolis I heard a female voice asking whether there were any PIAC participants. That lady happened to be Mary Frances Weidlich, who had made friends with Isono Fujiko during the time of her studies. Mary Weidlich also is a Mongolian scholar. Registration took place at the entrance of the Memorial Union, I paid the registration fee of 100 US Dollars and received a bag with the meeting materials, and was greeted by Denis Sinor who welcomed all participants. Dinner started at 7:30 p.m., but it was an informal get-together which was not in the style of an opening ceremony. Nonetheless, most of the participants were old acquaintances, their faces enlightened by mutual accounts of the past. Since I had met Denis Sinor, Nicholas Poppe, Ch’en Chieh-hsien, Jagchid, Joseph Fletcher, Paul Hyer and Jerry Norman before either at the Toyo Bunko or the 4th East Asian Conference of Altaicists, held in December 1971 in Taipei, it was truly a joyful evening.

The next morning, the meeting began at 9 o’clock with the greeting address by the President, Helmut Hoffmann, followed by the well-established confessions, chaired by Denis Sinor. All participants rose one by one from their seats and briefed the audience on their most recent work as well as the recent situation of Altaic Studies in their respective countries. The list of participants is as follows:

The first day also ended with the confessions. After dinner, we went by bus to the suburb where we had a wine party at Denis Sinor’s home.

According to the schedule, on July 1st, the next morning should have started with the presentations, however, the confessions of the previous day continued. Among the confessions, some are mentioned in order of speakers. John Boyle prepared an English translation of Rashid al-Din; Nicholas Poppe had prepared three of four volumes of Mongolian epics for print, with the fifth being a Kalmyck version of Jangar, to appear next; Klaus Sagaster conveyed the greetings of Walther Heissig who had chaired the previous Meeting in Bonn; John Hangin spoke about the Mongolia Society, established at Indiana University; Edmond Schütz conveyed a message from L. Ligeti and reported on academic activities in Hungary; Huang Pei reported on his research concerning the Eight Banner system of the Qing dynasty; Jerry Norman announced that his Manju-English Dictionary was being prepared for print; Rashidondug (C. T. Hsi) reported his translation of the Arad-injarghu-yin bičig; Mikhail Sofronov introduced the Tangut research activities in the USSR; Roy Andrew Miller had just relocated to Indiana from Kyoto where he had conducted a joint research project with Murayama Shichirō; Francis Cleaves reported on his work concerning Mongolian texts in the Old Manju Documents (since he rarely participated in conferences held in the US and never participated in conferences held abroad, this was his first participation in a PIAC Meeting); Tibor Halasi-Kun reported on Kipchak influences on Hungary; Owen Lattimore reported on the making of a TV programme named Document of Mongolia and episodes of his recent visit to China.

In the afternoon, the session started with the following four presentations:

  • Sadettin Buluç, “Über einige sprachliche Besonderheiten der anatolischen Mundarten.”
  • Robert Dankoff: “Middle Turkic Vulgarisms.”
  • Abdulkadir Karahan: “An Outline of cultural Relations between Turky, Iran and Pakistan.”
  • Owen Lattimore: “Loyalty and Honor: The Case of Temüjin-Chinggis Khan and Jamuha Gör Khan.”

One presentation originally announced in the program, “Terms on Human Emotions in a Spanish-Turkish Vocabulary of 1626” by José Bárral, was not delivered. The general theme of this meeting being “Human Emotions” (e. g. honor, love, loyalty, solidarity, fear and courage), the presentation by Owen Lattimore of the joint research work together with Isono Fujiko based on the Secret History of the Mongols, was immediately met with many doubts raised by Sechen Jagchid, and Nicholas Poppe introduced Hidehiro Okada’s view on the quality of the Secret History as a historical source.

The second day ended with a picnic dinner and barbecue which was a short busride away in Beechwood Heights. After sunset, it quickly became cooler, glowworms flew from the banks of the nearby lake, and the evening was a wonderful get-together for all participants from so many nations.

The third day, July 2nd, started with a session on “Teaching and Teaching Materials” which was not strongly related to specialized research.

At the beginning, Denis Sinor explained that he was paid by the university not so much for his research but rather for his teaching, and that funds from the United States Department of Education and the university administration could only be obtained if such a title was chosen. Thus, for the benefit of the [East] Asian Studies Program of Indiana University, a series of textbooks, “Teaching Aids for the Study of Inner Asia” was planned, of which so far two volumes had been published:

  1. Denis Sinor, What is Inner Asia?
  2. Turrell V. Wylie, Tibet’s Role in Inner Asia

These two volumes, intended for universities without a specialized focus on Asia as well as for teachers of undergraduate courses, were distributed to the participants.

In the afternoon, three communications were delivered, namely:

  • Ch’en Chieh-hsien, “Emotional Insights into the Personality of a Manchu Emperor – based on Emperor Yung-cheng’s Vermilion Endorsements.”
  • Paul Hyer, “Some Observations on Mongolian Regional Stereotypes.”
  • Sechin Jagchid, “Traditional Mongolian Attitudes and Values as seen in the Secret History of the Mongols and the Altan tobči.”

Ch’en Chieh-hsien centered his presentation on the Vermillion Endorsements (硃批諭旨), the Yongzheng Emperor’s personal annotations of Memorials to the throne. Paul Hyer explored various stereotypes among the Mongolians, namely that Khalkha Mongolians are seen as dumb, that Čakhar Mongolians are seen as coarse, and that Kharčin Mongolians are seen as sly and cunning. He also touched upon the image of the Mongolians in the eyes of Japanese, Russians, Chinese and Americans, which forced a bitter smile on the faces of those concerned persons who happened to be present. Sechen Jagchid compared how traditional Mongolian attitudes and values are reflected in the Secret History of the Mongols and the Altan tobči from the point of view of Mongolians which made his presentation very interesting.

In the evening, the university hosted a reception, which explained why Denis Sinor had asked all participants to dress properly. The university was represented by the Vice President, and indeed it was a luxurious dinner.

July 3rd was the fourth day, and it started with the following five presentations.

  • Edmond Schütz, “Turkic tart – Hungarian tart.”
  • Edward Tryjarski, “Interjections in some languages of Western Turkic (Codex Cumanicus, Arabo-Kipchak, Armeno-Kipchak, Karaim, Kazan-Tatar).”
  • László Lőrincz, “Bemerkungen zur ‘Geschichte der mongolischen Literatur’ von Walther Heissig.”
  • Aulis Joki, “Ein paar Bemerkungen über die Begriffe ‘Ehre und Liebe’ im Altaischen und Uralischen.”
  • Alice Sárközi, “Love and Friendship in the Secret History of the Mongols.”

In the afternoon, the Business Meeting took place. As Prof. Joki’s invitation was accepted with applause, it was decided that the PIAC Meeting of the following year would be hosted in Helsinki, however the meeting would take place a bit earlier than usual PIAC Meetings, that is, from June 8th to 12th. The next item was the election of the PIAC Medal recipient for the year 1975. Two candidates had been named, Karl Jahn and Hattori Shirō, and with the ballot cast by those who had participated more than twice, Karl Jahn was elected. The recicipient of the previous year was Owen Lattimore. After this event, four members of the PIAC Medal Committee were elected. In the afternoon, a boat party on the biggest lake of Indiana, Monroe Lake, was organized. We used three boats, enjoyed swimming and closed the day with a picnic dinner on the banks of the lake.

The fifth day of the Meeting was July 4th, with is Independence Day. So, only the following five gentlemen delivered their communications:

  • István Vásáry, “The Golden Horde term daruga and its survival in Russia.”
  • Lájos Bese, “Was Köde Aral an island?”
  • Alo Raun, “Some Remarks Concerning Affective (Emotional) Meaning.”
  • Larry Clark, “Turkic ȫč – Mongol ös, hatred, vengeance.”
  • Denis Sinor, “Lament on the death of a qatun.”

For the afternoon, a second session on “Teaching and Teaching Materials” had originally been scheduled, however it was cancelled and the time could be used for own activities. So I joined Jagchid and Ch’en Chieh-hsien, and together we made a  tour of the library of Indiana University, guided Prof. Y. J. Chih (郅玉汝), head of the Department of East Asian Languages & Litteratures. Diner took place at a restaurant named Fireside Inn, and in the evening we went to the stadium of Indiana University to see the celebrations for Independence Day. As we took our seats at the stadium, we had the priviledge of being greeted with applause when we were publicly announced as guests. A full display of baton twirling, cavalry processions and fireworks continued until late in the night, and people from probably all over the town gathered here.

On the morning on July 5th, the last day, Mrs. Sinor showed 8 mm film which her husband had filmed since the second PIAC Meeting, and every time a familiar face was recognized, it was met with applause. Among the Japanese, we saw the faces of Ikegami Jirô, Yamada Nobuo, Okada Hidehiro and Nishida Tetsuo. By suggestion of Prof. Fletcher, a resolution was passed to the effect that a word of thanks was offered to all those who had facilitated the meeting, and the final curtain fell.