Category: Distinctive collections (page 1 of 2)

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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Distinctive Materials in History of Science – Donated by Dr. James Bartholomew

The Ohio State University Libraries have been fortunate to receive various donations over the years. The Japanese Studies collection is no different, having recently received a unique donation from Dr. James Bartholomew, an Emeritus Professor of History and specialist of modern Japan. During his career, Professor Bartholomew conducted research in the History of Science, Medicine, Higher Education, and Japanese Business. His recent donation manifests the tremendous knowledge he garnered over the course of his career.

Related to Professor Bartholomew’s research, one of the most fascinating topics in modern Japanese history is the so-called “opening” of Japan (or kaikoku) in the mid-nineteenth century. In the final decades of the Tokugawa period (1603-1868), various foreign powers, including the United States, Great Britain, France, and Russia, were making overtures to Japan to open its borders to expanded trade and foreign diplomacy. Throughout much of the Tokugawa period, Japan had had very limited relations with a small number of foreign countries. In the 1850s, the question of whether to open Japan to Western trade was becoming increasingly pressing for two main reasons: Western powers were threatening military action to open Japan’s ports, and many Japanese were anxious to learn about Western military technologies.

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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: https://library.osu.edu/site/manga/2019/10/02/night-parade-of-one-hundred-demons-kyosais-hyakki-gadan-now-at-osu-libraries/

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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New Collection of over 600 Picture Postcards of the Great Kantō Earthquake (1923)

Japanese Studies at the Libraries has recently acquired a vast collection of postcards showing scenes from the Great Kantō Earthquake (関東大地震 Kantō daijishin). With over 600 in the set, the photographic images on the face of the cards provide an in-depth look at the progress and ensuing destruction, including the tragic deaths of an estimated 100,000 to 140,000 people, of this historic event. The postcards are in good condition and offer a valuable window on the many sites, from Tokyo to Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, and other prefectures on the Kantō Plain, affected by this disaster.

Sample Postcard Showing the Earthquake’s Destruction in Isezakichō, a district of Naka Ward in Yokohama

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Exploring Shashi (社史, Company Histories)

Nissin Food Product Shashi Outer Packaging

Shashi (社史, Company Histories) are the chronological accounts of a company or corporation, usually written in the form of a book. Their contents typically include information about a specific company’s  history, including its foundation, expansion, and changes of administration corresponding to historical shifts in politics and economics. They can also reflect many other aspects of a company’s history, such as the biographies of its administrative members, interviews with workers, exhibitions of historical documents, and special topics about technological improvements.

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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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Yurii Kyogoku Collection – Books with inscription by Itsuzo Kyogoku (京極 逸藏)

Yurii Kyogoku was a Serials Cataloger at OSU Libraries until her retirement in 1982. Born on April 13, 1916 near Hiroshima, Japan, Yurii came with her family to the United States in 1919 and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley.

When she retired and moved to Virginia, Yurii donated 523 volumes of Japanese books to the Ohio State University Libraries. Most of them were acquired by her father in California during the 20s and 30s, providing a rare glimpse into Japanese-American history. Continue reading

Japanese films

The best way to find Japanese films in the Ohio State University Libraries’ collections is through the library’s catalog. I found 563 Japanese films! using the advanced search, limiting to Video Recording and Language = Japanese. The titles I found include TV shows and educational films in addition to movies.

Books on Japanese cinema in the library have the subject: Motion pictures — Japan

There are many databases on Japanese film, including these: Continue reading

Great East Japan Earthquake

photograph of Japanese books about earthquakes

Last month the world observed the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. As time passes since the Great East Japan Earthquake (2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami) some important and interesting records of this event are being added to the collection to support research. The National Diet Library has generously sent us some materials as part of their gift and exchange program, including in-depth studies of previous earthquakes and tsunamis in Japanese history. Recently I have also started to collect creative writings, such as poetry, fiction and literary essays, as well as personal accounts of those who survived. Continue reading

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