In his youth, Alexander Meshcheryakov dreamed of devoting his life to literary creativity. As a result, he managed to combine the craft of writing with the study of the culture of Japan, which in the middle of the last century began to emerge at the forefront of the world. Meshcheryakov's entire life, his scientific and pedagogical activities are inextricably linked with Japanese studies.
From the biography of Alexander Meshcheryakov
The future specialist in the history, traditions and culture of Japan was born in 1951. The boy's childhood passed in the capital of the USSR, it coincided with the beginning of the era of space exploration and with the famous "thaw" in society. But in his youth Meshcheryakov was not interested in politics. However, Aleksandr Nikolayevich remembers the end of the “thaw” well: when Khrushchev was dismissed in 1964, protracted interruptions in food immediately began. The queues for bread were engraved in my memory.
Uncle Alexander Meshcheryakov was an expert on China. He advised the young man to choose Japanese studies. At first, Alexander dreamed of becoming a writer or journalist. However, he did not want to stoop to lies, without which, as he already understood, it was impossible to work in central publications in times of stagnation.
Meshcheryakov received his education at the historical department of the prestigious Institute of Oriental Languages at Moscow State University, but he was not interested in modern topics: the young student was more attracted to antiquity and the Middle Ages. Another hobby of Meshcheryakov was fiction. He tried to write himself, composed poetry and prose.
At first, the Japanese language at the university was given to Meshcheryakov with considerable difficulty. But Alexander studied diligently, comprehending the basics of grammar, phonetics and hieroglyphs of an unfamiliar language. And gradually the quantity turned into quality. Now Alexander Nikolaevich explains to his depressed students: “120 million people speak Japanese. Once they were able to master it, you can too!”. The main thing when learning Japanese is not to feel sorry for yourself and to do a little more than the curriculum requires, the scientist said.
Career and creativity
Alexander Nikolaevich graduated from the university in 1973. A few years later, the young scientist defended his Ph. D. thesis. The topic of the first scientific work was the social and political struggle in Japan in the 6th-8th centuries. After that, Meshcheryakov worked for about two decades at the Institute of Oriental Studies.
In 1991, Alexander Nikolaevich became a doctor of historical sciences, having defended a dissertation on the culture of ancient Japan. Later he worked as a leading researcher at the Institute of Oriental Cultures and Antiquity. Becoming a professor, he headed the "Association of Japanese Studies" and was the head of the journal "Japan".
The Japanese scholar has more than three hundred publications on various problems of the history and unique culture of Japan. Meshcheryakov also managed to publish six books with poetry and prose. In the excellent translations of the scientist in Russian, the works of a number of major Japanese writers were published: Yasunari Kawabata, Shintaro Ishihara and others.
The competently written book by Meshcheryakov "The Emperor Meiji and his Japan" won the prestigious "Enlightener" prize (2012). The scientific world recognizes the significant contribution of Alexander Nikolaevich to the strengthening of friendly ties between the peoples of Russia and distant Japan.