On June 22, 2012, Prof Dr Evgeny I. Kychanov, a chief researcher at the Department of Far Eastern Studies, celebrated his 80th Birthday.
Bright and successful academic life of Prof E. Kychanov has been entirely connected with our Institute. In 1955, after he graduated from Leningrad State University, the Faculty of Oriental Studies, Chinese History Major, he was admitted to the doctoral course at the then Leningrad Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies (now the IOM RAS). It was when he decided to study Tangut mss brought by P.K.Kozlov from Khara Khoto. In his PhD dissertation, The State of Xi Xia [Государство Си Ся], defended in 1958, major research area was ascertained such as various issues of the Tangut State, history of Central Asian peoples and their relations with Mediaeval China. Works by Prof E. Kychanov were destined to revive Tangut studies in our countries started by Dr N.A. Nevsky in the 1930s.
The study of Tangut mss and block prints kept the IOM RAS started with edition of some texts important for the understanding of Tangut culture. In cooperation with Dr V.S. Kolokolov, Prof E. Kychanov edited the monograph Chinese Classics in Tangut Translations [Китайская классика в тангутском переводе], on cooperation with Dr Ks.B. Kepping, Dr V.S. Kolokolov and Dr A.P. Terentiev-Katansky, The Sea of Writings [Море письмен], that included facsimile editions, translations from Tangut, introductory papers and indices. Prof E. Kychanov was the first scholar worldwide who wrote a monograph on Xi Xia history, An Account of the History of the Tangut State [Очерк истории тангутского государства] (1969). In 1970, it was defended as the Habilitation dissertation. The first original Tibetan text translated by Prof E. Kychanov was The Newly-Assembled Precious Dual Maxims: fascimile edition [Вновь собранные драгоценные парные изречения: факсимиле ксилографа] (1974).
Many years of work with the Tangut collection kept at the IOM RAS resulted in fundamental editions such as The Catalogue of Tangut Buddhist Texts Kept at the Institute of Oriental Studies, RAS [Каталог тангутских буддийских памятников ИВ РАН] (Kyoto 1999) and A Dictionary of Tangut, or Xi Xia, Language. A Tangut-Russian-English-Chinese Dictionary [Словарь тангутского (Си Ся) языка] (Kyoto, 2006). The latter monograph was highly appreciated by Japanese academics who awarded Prof E. Kychanov with the certificate of merit of Ritsumeikan University, in 2007.
Academic interests of Prof E. Kychanov were always very wide. Thus, he paid much attention to the study of law systems of peoples who neighbored China. He based his studies on his translation of The Revised and Newly Endorsed Code for the Designation of Reign ‘Celestial Prosperity’ (1149-69) [Изменённый и заново утверждённый кодекс девиза царствования: Небесное процветание (1149—1169)], in 4 vols (1987-89). At the moment, he is going to publish his translation of the New Laws the text of which is additional to the former one. The collected essays, The History of the Tangut State [История тангутского государства] (2008), is a result of more than 40 years of the work aimed at the reconstruction of history and culture of the Tanguts.
These studies invoked Prof E. Kychanov to make a research into the Chinese law during the T’ang and Song Periods and so he wrote the monograph Basics of Mediaeval Chinese Law [Основы средневекового китайского права] (1986), the first work of the kind in an European language. Prof E. Kychanov founded an entire branch of studies of Chinese law in Russia and prepared a number of experts in this area.
Studies of Central Asian history are reflected in his numerous papers on early states of various peoples of the region including the summarizing monograph The History of Ancient and Mediaeval States Bordering China: from the Hunnu to the Manchu States [История приграничных с Китаем древних и средневековых государств (от гуннов до маньчжуров)]. Some of his semi-popular books are also dedicated to the subject.
Prof E. Kychanov has published more than 250 papers and monographs, some of them were republished or translated into other languages. In 1997, he received the S.F. Oldenburg Award by the RAS, for the translation of The Revised and Newly Endorsed Code for the Designation of Reign ‘Celestial Prosperity’ (1149-69), and, in 2011, the S.F. Oldenburg Award by the Government of St Petersburg, for great achievements in humanities.
Prof E. Kychanov supervised and consulted more than 20 PhD students and Habilitation candidates, including those from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzia, Buryatia and Kalmukia. During many years he ran various special courses of lectures at Leningrad/St Petersburg State University.
Prof E. Kychanov is exceptionally respected as an expert in Chinese, Tangut, Central Asian history and culture both in Russia and abroad. In 1981, he was elected an honored member of the Hungarian Kőrösi Csoma Sándor Cultural Society, in 1998, an honored member of the Chinese Center for the Studies of Xi Xia culture, in 2008, he received the certificate of merits from the Society of Russian-Chinese Friendship for the contribution to fastening of relations between Russian and China.
Prof E. Kychanov has always played an important role of organizing academic process. During 1961-96 and 2003-05, he was the deputy director of the Leningrad/St Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies, during 1997-2003, he was the director of the Branch. He heads the Dissertation Council at the IOM RAS, a member of the Academic Council at the IOM RAS, a member of the Dissertation Council at the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, RAS, the chief editor of the Journal Written Monuments of the Orient.
Prof E. Kychanov celebrates his Jubilee being a universally respected scholar who is characterized with outstanding academic talents and diligence and personal zest for life and stamina.
As a tribute to him, his colleagues at the IOM RAS and other scholarly establishments organized a conference The Tanguts in Central Asia [Тангуты в Центральной Азии] that was held on June 22, 2012, at the Green Hall of the IOM RAS. Scholars from St Petersburg, Moscow, China, Japan, and Taiwan took part in it. The program is available at the Russian version of the web site. The papers presented at the conference were published as a book offered to Prof E.Kychanov at the event.