Universiteit Leiden

Praying for success
Praying for success Woodblock print by Kobayashi Kiyochika, 1885

All over the world and in every era, students pray for good results. It’s no different in Japan. This print depicts the medieval scholar and poet Sugawara no Michizane. In Japan, he is the patron saint of scholarship, and temples dedicated to him are popular places for students to pray for good grades. Japan is an important country for Leiden University; in 2017, Carel Stolker travelled to Japan with a delegation to strengthen the ties with Japanese universities.

Siebold’s dog
Siebold’s dog One of the few living animals that Siebold brought with him from Japan (on loan from Naturalis Biodiversity Center, photo Peter van der Lugt)

His owner was suspected of espionage, which is why this dog moved to Leiden in the 19th century. The German physician Philipp Franz Von Siebold (1796-1866) collected information in Japan for the Dutch government, and instructed the Japanese in Western medicine. In addition to his dog Sakura (the name means ‘cherry blossom’), brought with him a large collection of plants, animals, and art and utilitarian objects. The Hortus received many bulbs and seeds, while the University Library acquired books and maps. Siebold’s former home at Rapenburg 19, where Sakura also lived, has served as the Japan Museum since 2005.