In the humanities, the tendency for research resources to be digitized and to be easily shared across borders has become increasingly strong, and while slowing, it’s same in Japanese studies. While research resources in paper have been stored on the bookshelf and shared with its loan system, digital research resources have been leveraged wider through more efficient systems in various layers. For example, as IIF (International Image Interoperability Framework) has already adopted not only by the National Diet Library, the National Institute for Japanese Literature, and so on but also by various world cultural institutions like Gallica, we can utilize digitized Japanese resources preserved in the world via the integrated method. As for the text data, TEI (Text Encoding Initiative Guidelines), which has been incubated in the Western humanities, can be adopted for Japanese texts recently by the growing Japanese environment for the TEI.
The NIJL-NW Project at the National Institute of Japanese Literature (NIJL) launched the "Database of Pre-modern Japanese Works" in 2017. In cooperation with various domestic and overseas universities and specialized institutions, this database publishes images of pre-modern Japanese works widely.
In this presentation, we will introduce the latest progress in the database, with special attention to our recent collaboration with other institutions and newly-joined collections to our database.
In addition, we will introduce some two from our databases, "Inventory of Early Japanese Books" and "Bibliographic and Image Database of Japanese Modern Times": Both are from the results of the investigating and bibliographic collecting mission called “Research and Collection” that we have been working on since our establishment.
Since 1992, the Multi-Volume Sets Project (MVSP) managed by the North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources (NCC) has awarded more than 300 grants that funded the acquisition of over 47,000 items. With the funding from the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission discontinued in 2018, MVSP has been finally terminated. In March 2019 NCC has introduced an overview of a new grant program under development entitled "Comprehensive Digitization and Discoverability Grants Program" to replace MVSP, and, prior to that, funded four projects involving digitization as pilot cases. As one of these pilots, the C.V. Starr East Asian Library has digitized its holding of Kadenshū consisting of 146 volumes of manuscript originally from the Mitsui Collection, produced in the 19th century. The material contains genealogies and biographical information for 3,160 individuals from some 140 aristocratic families up to the 19th century. In this paper, I will discuss several problems I encountered in the process of digitization and making this resource available to the world, the strategies I took to make this resource more usable, and possibility of further future development.
This presentation integrates reflections on a workshop held at Heidelberg University in June 2019 which the author co-organized. The workshop assessed recent directions in the study of the visual production of urban centres in early modern Japan. More specifically, there is an increased awareness and investigation of artistic production across a broad spectrum of materialities, genres, and social networks. This renders possible reconsiderations of the meanings of the very categories of manuscript and print that have defined discussion on this topic.
In December 2018 Leiden University was able to acquire a small wooden box of archival material found in a storage house in Saga, formerly belonging to the Hideshima, a family of translators to the Dutch serving under the daimyō of Nabeshima. Drawn and written in a time where Nabeshima Naomasa executed his vision for a strong coastal defense of Nagasaki amidst escalating international tensions and unequal treaties, these materials offer a glimpse onto the drawing board of the artisans, gunners and translators charged with carrying out the monumental task of building a dyke and installing cannons on several islands in front of the coast of Nagasaki.
Saito Gesshin’s manuscript of the Zoho ukiyoe ruiko is very important for studies of ukiyoe artists, particularly those of the mysterious Sharaku. Ukiyoe ruiko itself was a complicated manuscript (or rather, a group of manuscripts). There are several versions of Ukiyoe ruiko and they had been used in manuscript form until 1889, when the first modern typed version was published. Of the manuscript forms, Saito Gesshin’s Zoho ukiyoe ruiko was the most comprehensive.
Zoho ukiyoe ruiko had been kept as a personal copy at his home, when Saito Gesshin (1804-1878, a prominent compiler and scholar) died in 1878. In Japan, Ernest Satow (1943-1929) acquired it shortly after Gesshin’s death. Satow was then earnestly collecting a lot of Japanese books, including art materials from the late 1870s to the middle of 1880s, and was particularly active in these efforts in the early 1880s. Satow had a plan to publish a book of Japanese art with William Anderson (1842-1900, a collector and scholar of Japanese art) and he was helping Anderson to collect art works and books at this time.
Yale University Library acquired two Japanese books in 1868 and hitherto these have been regarded as the first Japanese books to reach the United States. In fact, however, the famous Perry Expedition was also a shopping trip and the participants brought back a considerable quantity of porcelain, lacquerware and books. It is now possible to identify some of these books, which were mostly bought in Shimoda or Hakodate in 1853 and 1854. One of the books brought back, Ehon ōshukubai, was reprinted in Philadelphia in 1855 using a new technology, and this was equipped with notes and an explanation of Japanese writing. This was the first Japanese book printed outside Japan, apart from Japanese kanbun writings printed in China or Korea. Why was it printed, given that there was at the time nobody in America who could read it? Who was responsible for the notes and explanations? What impact did it have? In this paper I shall provide the answers to these questions and reveal the forgotten wellsprings of American academic interest in Japan.
An encyclopedia for urban dwellers "Tokai setsuyo hyakkatsu" created by neoconfucian scholars Matsuni Dojin (1753-1822), Takayasu Rooku (1772-1801) and illustrated by Niwa Tokei (1760-1822) was published in Osaka in 1801. "Tokai setsuyo hyakkatsu" is an example of popular encyclopedias of the time of setsuyoshu genre. This kind of encyclopedias usually contents various information on geographical topics as texts, images or maps. In "Tokai setsuyo hyakkatsu" there are maps of Japan, world, Fuji, three great towns (Osaka, Edo, Kyoto), images of Chinese and Japanese famous sceneries, some notes for piligrims, historical notes on Japanese shrines and temples. The clue goal of the genre was to support and reinforce the stability of the existing social order based of neoconfucian world view.
Japan has a developed postmodern society, and the country is world leader in postmodern global urban culture. But despite of growing globalization and internationalization, many traditional elements have still continuing to play a significant role as important resources of understanding local community culture, identity and solidarity. Matsuri, as a part of the cultural heritage of local communities, are among the most crucial resources of national and local culture. Local festivals solidify relationships between individuals and their community, making spirit of belonging stronger; they play the role of socio-cultural instruments and resources for constructing and re-constructing community. In postmodern environment they become important part of locality versus global forces, showing not only the continuity and connection with past, but also the local culture creativity and potential for transformation.
This presentation will report the current movement of the activities of Digital Humanities and “Digital Archive” in Japan. In addition, the "Integrated Studies of Cultural and Research Resources" project promoted by the National Museum of Japanese History, and the "Historical and Cultural Preservation Network" project promoted by the National Institutes for Humanities will be also introduced.