Spotlight Article: OSUL Collection of Tanikawa Shuntaro (谷川俊太郎)

One of the strengths of the Japanese Studies Collections at the Ohio State University Libraries is an extensive collection of  works and rare publications by world-acclaimed author TANIKAWA Shuntaro ( 谷川俊太郎). Tanikawa is Japan’s preeminent contemporary poet whose work has won over ten literary awards and can be found in Japanese textbooks across the nation. In addition to being a poet, he is also an acclaimed translator, picture book writer, and scriptwriter.

Much of Tanikawa’s work has already been translated and published in English, including his Floating the River in Melancholy, for which he won the American Book Award. His work in translating children’s literature, including Charles Shultz’s Peanuts comic strip, Mother Goose rhymes, and Swimmy by Leo Lionni,  garnered him a nomination for the Hans Christian Andersen award in 2008.  His worldwide stature and presence in literature has also made him a perennial contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Shuntarō Tanikawa, 2015 by Círculo de traductores is licensed under CC0

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What’s Cooking in the Collections

East Asian Studies at Ohio State University Libraries is happy to announce that our collection of Japanese food culture-related resources has grown with a new donation of Japanese recipe books! They cover everything from trendy new food creations to traditional home style cooking.

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Introducing the Toyo Keizai Archives (東洋経済アーカイブズ)

The suite of 5 databases offered through JKBooks at OSU appears in the left margin. The Toyo Keizai Archives is listed at the bottom.

Japanese Studies at OSU Libraries (OSUL) is delighted to announce that the Toyo Keizai Archives (東洋経済アーカイブズ) has been added to our suite of online offerings. It is an extraordinary database of one of Japan’s oldest economic magazines and one of the three leading business magazines in Japan, along with Nikkei Business (日経ビジネス) and Weekly DIAMOND (週刊ダイヤモンド). The full-text, searchable digital archives includes 120 years of publications, or 58,000 issues, from the inaugural issue of November 15th, Meiji 28 (1895) to Heisei 27 (2015).

The History of Toyo keizai shinpo

The Toyo keizai shinpo (東洋経済新報) was founded in 1895 by Chuji Machida (町田忠治) in Tokyo under the motto of  “supervising the government, advising investigators.” It became a weekly magazine in 1919, when it was renamed Shukatoyo keizai (週刊東洋経済).

Target Audience and Perspective 

The magazine’s primary audience is made of well-established businessmen and women. In comparison to other economic magazines that only report on the ups and downs of the market and econommy, the Shukatoyo keizai digs deep into current economic issues. In addition, it is written from the perspective of the average working man and is well known for its voice on social issues, such as the social polarization in Japan and deregulation of labor laws.

Using the Toyo Keizai Archives

The Toyo Keizai Archives is available to anyone with OSU login credentials. Those who are using Japan Knowledge Products at OSU Libraries for the first time can simply click here.

Users should use caution when switching between JKBooks and the popular Japan Knowledge Library Databases (which includes encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other databases).  It is necessary to clear your cache when changing between these resources. Please contact Mason Kamolpechara ( if you encounter any problems accessing the new archives or other Japan Knowledge resources. For tips on how to clear your cache, please visit the OSU IT Service Desk at

Incidentally, The Toyo Keizai Archives is now one of five major JKBooks databases available at OSUL. The other four searchable databases are Taiyo (太陽), Bungei Kurabu (文芸倶楽部), Fuzoku Gaho (風俗画報), and the Gunsho Ruiju series (群書類従).



Commemorating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month at Thompson Library: Book Display on “Global Asias”!

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage month, East Asian Studies at OSU Libraries recently opened a feature book display for the month of May. Focusing on the exchange of ideas, people, and culture between Asia, the Pacific Islands and broader global communities, the display’s theme “Global Asias” draws inspiration from recent scholarship on topics from across the Humanities and Social Sciences in Asian and Asian American Studies. Given the context of Asian Pacific American Heritage month, the display emphasizes Asian-American experiences in the United States. In addition, it showcases OSU’s extensive collections in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Studies while highlighting recently published books on the Asian diaspora in the Pacific Rim. With books available for immediate circulation, the display is located near the stairwell in the east atrium of Thompson Library.

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Focus on Japan in WWII: Kōa Shingun Ezu Iri (興亜進軍絵図入)

Interior of aerogram depicting Japanese battles in the Pacific

On February 14th, I wrote a blog introducing the Pearl Harbor Exhibit that was hung last winter in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor (December 7, 2016). In order to showcase the Japanese military perspective, the exhibit included a very special document, a fold-up aerogram that was made by the Japanese wartime government.  The present blog will feature that document, known as gunji yūbin (軍事郵便), or “military mail” in English.

Gunji Yūbin (軍事郵便)

Gunji yūbin was the military mail service that connected soldiers on the front lines to their families back in the metropole. It was established in 1894 (Meiji 27) during the Sino-Japanese War. Because the gunji yūbin was responsible for handling all letters going back and forth between the soldiers and their families, its extant pieces can be a treasure trove for researchers of war-time and Imperial Japan.

Kōa Shingun Ezu Nyūfūkan (興亜進軍絵図入封緘)

Aerogram exterior shown folded as an envelope

One such remnant is a fold-up envelope, or aerogram, which upon unfolding, provides the postal recipient with a map showing the expansion of Japanese military actions in the early 1940s. Entitled 興亜進軍絵図入封緘葉書 (or “Map of Military Marching for the Development of Asia”), the interior also includes a detailed chronology of Japanese military victories from 1941 to 1943. Issued by Niigata Tsuda Company in 1943, the main purpose of the aerogram was to illustrate ongoing battles, focusing on Japanese naval and land successes across the globe.

The map also highlights Japan’s relations with other nations in the early 1940s. Countries and regions shaded in red represented the territory of the Japanese Empire or Axis powers. Areas colored in white were known as enemies. These included countries such as the United States, Great Britain, Republic of China, and other Allied powers. Countries shaded in yellow, such as the U.S.S.R., had peace treaties or neutral relationships with Japan at the time of publication.

Flags of Friends and Allies

Another noteworthy point is a series of flags, which were attached and intended for the recipient to assemble as a type of three-dimensional decoration linking key territories in the Pacific Rim. Among these were the flags of Japan, Republic of China, Thailand, France, Germany, Italy, and Manchuria, as well as the Japanese military flag and Z flag, symbolizing Japanese victories. The small paper flags were linked together on a single string, suggesting the bonds of friendship and victory between these entities. Bamboo rods at the end of the string of flags were designed for insertion into special folds on the map.

Scholars and students wishing to access this rare material may refer to the item record in the OSU Libraries catalog:

For more information on Japanese activities during WWII available at OSUL:

Never Look Back: A History of WWII in the Pacific by William A Renzi; Mark D Roehrs (Armonk, 1991)

Japan’s War : the Great Pacific Conflict, 1853 to 1952 by Edwin P Hoyt (Da Capo Press, 1991)

Competing Voices from the Pacific War : Fighting Words by Chris Dixon, Sean Brawley, Beatrice Trefalt (Greenwood Press 2009)

For more pictures and information on the map, we recommend the blog entry here (Japanese language).


Detailed view of major military battles including the bombing of Pearl Harbor and campaign at Guadacanal

New to OSU Libraries: The Japan Times Digital Archive!

Japanese Studies at OSU Libraries is delighted to announce that The Japan Times Digital Archive is now available at The Ohio State University. It is an extraordinary archive of Japan’s oldest English language newspaper and only independent English-language newspaper in existence today.  The digital archive allows you to search the full text of all issues of The Japan Times published since its inauguration in March 1897 (Meiji 30) until 2014.

“The Japan Times Archives” search interface

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Pearl Harbor Exhibit at Thompson Library of The Ohio State University

On December 7, 2016, the National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Commemoration was held at Kilo Pier, located in the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. The 1941 Japanese attack on the US naval base Pearl Harbor was one of the defining events of the twentieth century. In that single moment, the U.S. was dragged out of its post-WWI isolationism and into a role of world leadership. The U.S. put away half a century of Mahan naval doctrine, with its emphasis on naval superiority, and moved into the age of naval air combat.

In commemoration of this historic event, Area Studies at Thompson Library created the Pearl Harbor Exhibit, which can be found on the 3rd floor at reading area Room 341. This exhibit fills two glass cases, each divided into several distinct sections.

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Toyo Suyemoto

Photograph of Toyo Suyemoto (Kawakami) Columbus, Ohio. Undated, circa 1974

On the occasion of Asian Pacific American Heritage month at OSU, Japanese Studies is pleased to announce the online publication of select materials from the Toyo Suyemoto (Kawakami) Collection.  Highlights of the digital exhibit include a rare oral interview, available in streaming video format, in which Suyemoto discusses memories of forced relocation and incarceration in U.S. internment camps during World War II. Images of diaries, personal photographs, notes and essays are also available in this online collection.
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Herman J. Albrecht Library of Historical Architecture – Ginza Kaiwai (銀座界隈)

As Japan was recovering from World War II, Sōhachi Kimura (木村荘八), Yoshikazu Suzuki (鈴木芳一), and several others, set out to document the history and architecture of the Ginza district in Tokyo. The finished project, Ginza Kaiwai (銀座界隈), contains two separate volumes. The main volume has detailed text, illustrations, drawings, woodblock prints, and hand-drawn maps of the entire district. The supplement, Arubamu, Ginza Hatchō (アルバム・銀座八丁) by Suzuki, is a panoramic photo, folded in leporello style, documenting the length of the main boulevard Ginza-dori.  

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Focus on Rekion: Okinawan Folk Music Asadoya Yunta (安里屋ユンタ)

Asadoya Yunta (安里ユンタ or 安里屋節) is one of the most widely performed Okinawan songs in recent music history.  The song originated from Taketomi Island in the Yaeyama district of Okinawa, Japan. It tells the tale of a young and beautiful peasant woman named Kuyama Asato (安里クヤマ) and the advances of a government official. The version wide-spread in Okinawa has Kuyama refusing the official as she felt the stability offered by marrying a local man was better than the luxurious but short-lived lifestyle of a mistress. However, in the Taketomi Island version, Kuyama ended up becoming the official’s mistress.

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