150 years ago, Belgium and Japan signed their first treaty. They have been important economic partners for each other ever since. As a result, the reciprocal exchange of artistic influence between these countries flourished: Belgian artists were inspired by 'Japanisme', while Japanse writers read the works of Maurice Maeterlinck and Emiile Verhaeren. After the devastating violence of World War II, these two countries' cooperation finally resulted in a solid alliance. This book invites its readers to focus on the cross-cultural exchanges that make the Belgian-Japanese relationship a fertile space for diplomacy, trade, and creativity.
Prof. Vande Walle lectured at Leuven University, specialising in Japanese studies. In 2000 he was awarded the Japan Foundation Special Prize, and in 2006 the 'Order of the Rising Son'. In 2016 he received the Yamagata-Bantoo Prize from the Osaka prefecture.