Notice 27th June 2023

Notice 27th June 2023


Associazione Internazionale di Studi sul Mediterraneo e l’Oriente

Corso Vittorio Emanuele II 244, 00186 Roma



On Sunday, June 18, 2023, our member Silvio Vita, an internationally renowned Yamatologist, passed away in Kyoto at the age of 69.

He leaves his wife Kumi and children Nicola and Francesca, as well as brothers Letizia and Renato and numerous friends who with his kind and reserved trait had learned to love him during his life.

Professor Silvio Vita graduated in Classics from the Faculty of Humanities at the Oriental University Institute of Naples in 1978. Initially interested in the studies of religions and East Asian thought, he had deepened his research on medieval Buddhism in Japan and China, training at Kyoto University and acquiring an M.A. at Princeton University in 1986, a circumstance that had put him in contact with the world of American oriental studies, a contact that he maintained constantly throughout his life; in the same year he entered the role of Italian university researchers at the Sapienza University of Rome. From 1992 to 2001 he served as Associate Professor of Religions and Philosophies of the Far East in the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy of the University of Naples L’Orientale, where he dedicated, among other fields of study, to Chinese epigraphy, a sector rather neglected by Italian sinology. In 2006 he returned to teach at Sapienza University where he remained until 2012, when he decided to leave the Italian universities to move permanently to Japan, to Kyoto, his city of choice, as Full Professor at the Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, where his scientific interests have increasingly focused on Japanese cultural history and relations between Japan and Europe.In the years 2005-2006 he taught at the School of Oriental Languages and Cultures of IsIAO.

In two different periods, from 2001 to 2005, and then from 2008 to 2012, Silvio Vita held the position of Director of the Italian School of East Asian Studies (ISEAS) in Kyoto, until the MAECI financed a specific position of Expert of the Italian Cultural Institute of Kyoto. Subsequently, Silvio Vita played the role of Scientific Coordinator of ISEAS, an institution to which he has incessantly dedicated himself with great passion, promoting its activities and weaving a significant network of scientific collaboration relationships with international institutions, primarily with the École française d’Extrême-Orient and with the Institute for Research in Humanities of Kyoto University. He was currently the ISMEO representative on the Scientific Council of the renovated Kyoto School.

The Italian diplomatic office in Tokyo underlined “its unceasing commitment to improving relations between Italy and Japan, through academic cooperation”.


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