Category: Art/Art history

Maruzen eBook Library (MeL) Now on Trial at OSU Libraries

Update (posted September 1, 2020): Following the trial period described in this blog, OSU Libraries made the decision to permanently adopt the Maruzen eBook Library (MeL) platform, which can be accessed now at: Continue reading for details on how to use this helpful new e-resource!

In an effort to increase the list of e-resources for research and teaching in Japanese Studies, we have set up an Extended Trial Reading Agreement for the Maruzen eBook Library (MeL), which will last until the end of May.  During this trial period, OSU users will be able to access over 56,000 Japanese ebook titles.

Also during this trial period, unlimited concurrent user access is possible, but printing and downloading are not. If you have specific printing and downloading needs – or any questions whatsoever about Japanese language e-resources –  please contact me, Ann Marie Davis, the Japanese Studies Librarian at OSU, at

To get started using this online platform, click the link in the OSU catalog here:   

For tips on how to search for books in MeL and use the various platform functions, please refer to the Maruzen eBook Library cheatsheet.

If you see something you’d like to consider purchasing, please feel free to e-mail me. If you need MeL materials for your teaching or research projects, you can also fill out this form for eBook purchases, which goes straight to our OSU Library acquisitions office:




Temperance in Tokyo – Unique Woodblock Prints from the Early Japanese Women’s Rights Movement

Following the Meiji Restoration (1868) and the new policies of modernization (kindaika) and Westernization (seiyōka), Japan began to import much more than material goods from the Western imperial powers. New concepts and ideologies soon made their way across the Pacific and freely entered the once “closed country.”   Riding this wave were Christian values and models of Western feminism, which in part were proselytized by the American teacher and temperance crusader Mary Greenleaf Clement Leavitt (1830-1912).

Title: “Inshu no Nariyuki.” Meiji Woodblock Print Leaves, Illustrated by Sasaki Toyoju.
Collection number SPEC.RARE.MMS.0127.
Counterclockwise: Angled view of the six prints, detail of a jovial tavern scene, drunken disorderly conduct from the main character confronting a Native American man, drunken disheveled main character robbing a man by the roadside

Inspired by Christian sermons about the destructive nature of alcohol,  Leavitt  helped found the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in New York and Ohio in 1873.  Soon thereafter, her global crusade  led her as far as Japan and other countries including New Zealand, Burma, India, and Turkey, where female allies launched new chapters of the World WCTU.  Tired of the ill effects of alcohol on their domestic lives, women worldwide were drawn to the message of temperance and created an unprecedented transnational movement “for God, home and country.”

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Night Parade of One Hundred Demons: Kyōsai’s Hyakki Gadan Now at OSU Libraries

Japanese Studies invites you to learn about the mythology and artistic culture of Meiji Japan (1868-1912) through the newly acquired Kyōsai Hyakki Gadan (暁斎百鬼画談), a color woodblock print by eccentric painter and manga forerunner, Kawanabe Kyōsai (河鍋 暁斎, 1831-1889). The long, accordion book (orihon) depicts a parade of all manner of weird and wicked yōkai (妖怪), spirits and demons from Japanese mythology. This particular scene is evocative of the hyakki yagyō (百鬼夜行) idiom, a historic theme in Japanese visual representation wherein a procession of legendary creatures sets foot upon the communities of mortal men and women.

For more information about this new acquisition, please check out the full article on our Manga Blog at OSU Libraries, available here:

Japanese Monsters, Ghosts, and Spirits: Mythical Yōkai (妖怪) at OSU Libraries

An example of a colorful three-panel woodblock print of Japanese spirits and demons from the book Yōkai: Strange Beasts & Weird Spectres — 100 Japanese Triptychs (pages 56-57)

In Japanese folklore, yōkai (妖怪) refers to legendary ghosts, monsters, and spirits.  Rooted in Japanese animism, ancient Japanese religion, and the providence of nature, these mythical creatures are attributed with strange behaviors to explain the otherwise mysterious phenomena encountered in ancient life. Shedding light on the meaning of this word, the two kanji for yōkai, mean “attractive, bewitching” (妖)  and “mystery, wonder” (怪) respectively.  Because of their connection to human nature, yōkai were often depicted as strange embodiments of ordinary individuals or creatures — some resembling humans, for example, with altered features such as a long neck or three eyes.  Others looked like strange animals, plants, insects, or household goods. 

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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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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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Okinawan Toys by Shiso Sakiyama (崎山嗣昌) – Leon Kurtz Walters, Sr. and Grace Smith Walters Collection

These papier-mâché toys are part of the collection of Okinawan Folk Art Toys (traditional Ryukyuan handcrafts)  donated by Leon K. and Sadae Yamamoto Walters and also by Robert A. and Shirley Fearey.

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