Asian studies in Lithuania


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Rudzinskaitė-Arcimavičienė, Marija

In 1885 July 16 - In 1941 May 4th

The scientist, the first professional Lithuanian Egyptologist. She learned to read Egyptian hieroglyphics herself, translated several patterns that are now stored in Mykolas Žilinskas Gallery in Kaunas. She bought important valuables ​​of ancient Egypt by personal funds, brought to Lithuania and she herself protected her own curated exhibition, which was called “the Egyptian section”. Her merit is that famous explorer Matas Šalčius (1890 – 1940) got interested in Egypt.

Šalčius, Matas

1890 - 1940

Matas Šalčius was a Lithuanian traveler, journalist, writer, political figure.

In 1929, Šalčius together with other famous Lithuanian traveler Antanas Poška began a great journey through the Balkans, Greece, Egypt, Near East to India. After this travel he published six-volume series Svečiuose pas 40 tautų (Visiting 40 nations), which was awarded the National Press Prize.

Šapira, Nachmanas Chaimas

1894/1895 - 1943

Semitologist, historian of Jewish literature, Docent of Vytautas Magnus University (VMU), Professor of Vilnius University (VU), Hebrew language and literature researcher.  While living in Kaunas he has been doing researches on Jewish literature, Jewish–Lithuanian literary links and also since 1926 he was a head of Department of Semitology in University of Lithuania (now VMU). In this university N. Šapira taught several semitology courses (Arabic, Syriac, Aramaic languages, Comparative Grammar of the Semitic Languages, Quran, ect.), trained teachers for Jewish schools.

N. Šapira actively participated in the activities of “Lithuanian and Jewish Cultural Cooperation Society“, was a member of “ Hacionim haklaliim beLita“ (Kaunas section) – an organization of Sionists in Lithuania. This organization tried to improve More

Starkus, Martynas


Lithuanian traveler, host of the TV shows and events, journalist and producer. Got a degree in journalism at the Vilnius university. Has worked as a show host on such radio stations as “M-1”, “Lietus” also in 2013-2016 has been a host of the TV show “X Factor”. Martynas Starkus has went on the numerous expeditions, that include Asian countries, North American countries, South American countries and Australia. By using his rich experience that he gained in the expeditions, he wrote books. Produced and directed film “Mulai” (2018). He as well he starred in a film „Šventa karvė“ (“Holy cow”) (2014).

Švambarytė, Dalia

Dalia Švambarytė is one of the first professional Lithuanian japonologists. Since 1992 she has been teaching Japanese at Centre of Oriental Studies of Vilnius University. She is now docent of the centre. Her main academic interests focuses on classic Chinese and Japanese literature, lingvistics, language teaching and literary translations. In 2002 she published the first Japanese Lithuanian Kanji dictionary, in 2011 Intertextuality in Classical Japanese literature. She has translated a numerious texts from Japanese, classical Chinese and classical Japanese.

At the moment Dalia Švambarytė is teaching Features of Japanese Culture, Japanese Literature and Language, Japanese History, Classical Chinese and other subjects.

She is also a member of editorial board of periodical Acta Orientalia Vilnensia and consultant of Lithuanian Language Commitee of Institute of Science and Encyclopedia Publishing.


Tilmantaitė, Berta


Lithuanian Multimedia journalist, photographer, professional diver, writer, operator, professor and traveler. Berta is known as a photographer-traveler, who has traveled to multiple countries and shown them from an artistic cultural side in her photographs. Her work is admired by Taiwan, China, India, GB, France and USA. She is also the very first Lithuanian whose photographs were published in a popular magazine „National Geographic“.

Berta is achieving victory in many photography contests in different countries. Her work has achieved prize possessions in Russia, Britain, Czech Republic, UAE, Italy, China and Lithuania.

Žiogelis (Žagelis), Ignotas

1826 - 1891

Orientalist, physician, traveler, historian, archeologist. I. Žiogelis had traveled a lot in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. He had visited Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Java. He had been living in India and Egypt for several years. Based on his travel experiences I. Žiogelis wrote “The history of Ancient Egypt“, “Historical trip through Abyssinia“ and others.Most of his articles and books I. Žiogelis wrote in Polish, French and English. Also, he has written a short Polish-Arabic dictionary.

The basis of his book “The history of Ancient Egypt“ is the history of the dynasties of Egyptian pharaohs. In this book I. Žiogelis described the main characteristics of each ruler, public administration, the most important events of the time, achievements and local customs, as well as flora and fauna of the country. This book was not only based on I. Žiogelis‘ trips, his Egyptian studies, More

Zykas, Aurelijus


He is teaching or taught courses at VMU: Political Systems of Asian Countries(MA, since 2011), Japanese language (2009-2011), Japanese Culture: its Heritage and Presents (MA, 2008-2009); Regional Studies and Academic Writting (MA, since 2007); Ethnic policy of East Asia (MA, since 2007); Intercultural Communications (MA, since 2007), etc. He also has teaching experience at Vilnius University (2010), Turku University (2010), Meiji University (2012).


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Initiators of the project: Japan foundation VDU