This presentation will be a case study (example of University library “Nikola Tesla” from Niš, Serbia) of how even limited resources can make a major impact on local community. The study will include the description of how the library managed to market its limited Japanese resources and sparkle interest in academics and general population alike, by partnering with a local NGO to organize a Japanese-themed yearly festival called “JapanNiš”. We will present experiences and lessons learned from five consecutive years of organizing the festival. The idea is to make the audience rethink the notion that a library or a resource center needs to be huge in order to attract the audiences, and also to share ideas for future actions and possible collaborations.
Isaac Titsingh (1745-1812) was undoubtedly the most energetic and aspiring person among all heads of Dutch East-India Company trade factory in Nagasaki. His endeavor to compile a compendium on Japan made him an outstanding collector of Japanese books, which spread among institutions and individuals in Europe after his death. Paul Schilling (1786-1837) was on a par with Titsingh in energy and ambition. Employed mainly in diplomatic service, he was famed for his inventions in electro-magnetic engineering, including demolitions, communications and lithographing, but of the greatest interest for him was cryptography, which made him an enthusiast in Asian languages and scripts. While in Europe he collected a huge collection of books on Asian languages, including Japanese, and later donated them to the Asiatic Museum of the Imperial Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg. His autographic list of Japanese books and maps contains 32 items, and 12 of them are marked as being brought from Japan by Titsingh.
The resources for Japanese studies often contain temporal information according to the Japanese calendar. The temporal data in catalogs and documents are usually converted into Gregorian calendar, as most computer systems do not accept Japanese calendar dates. However, periods of years and months prior to 1873 (i.e., when the Japanese calendar was lunisolar), are different for Japanese and Gregorian calendars. This may, therefore, cause problems in retrievals and analyses. Moreover, calendar conversion is not easy as Japanese calendar dates are represented using Chinese letters and the Stems-and-Branches.
On behalf of the North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources, this presentation will provide updates on new and exciting projects by the NCC, including the Next Generation Librarian Workshop to be held as a pre-conference workshop in Boston (CEAL 2020), Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery with a focus on the NDL’s Toshokan Soshin Service, the Image Use Protocol Working Group’s new initiative related to moving images, the newly establish Outreach Working Group, the Multimedia History Project, as well as the new Comprehensive Digitization and Discoverability Grants Program. By introducing these numerous initiatives of the committees and working groups, the NCC hopes to get feedback, exchange ideas, and identify opportunities for collaboration with the EAJRS community.
XXIst century has brought much turmoil into the humanities studies. Digitalization of resources, online platforms, virtual classrooms, development of artificial intelligence… The needs of Japanese studies students, as well as the need for and the expectations from japanology scholarship have changed substantially. Social, political and economic themes have moved up the hot-topic list, whereas literature, arts and cultural topics have suffered a certain hint of negligence.
Since its establishment as a regular course some 30 years ago, Japanese studies at Sofia University has maintained a steady line of development, yet the challenges of the 21st century have certainly raised important questions.
How do we evaluate the environment in which Japanese studies develop? How do we define the priorities and the strategies for this development? How do we cope with challenges on financial, political and social level?
Although diplomatic relations between Japan and Ukraine are not 30 years yet, the history of the Japanese literature translations into Ukrainian goes back more than a century. First Ukrainian translations of Japanese poetry and fairy-tales, published in literary or artistic journals, were done from intermediary languages, primary English, German and French. Direct translations from Japanese and Esperanto appeared in the Soviet Union period, and this circumstance greatly influenced the subject matter of the translated texts: it was exceptionally Japanese proletarian writers’ novels and short stories. In the early 1930s, almost all orientalists, including few specialists on Japan, were repressed and perished in camps. Until the 1960s, there were no Japanese studies in the Soviet Ukrainian Republic. The ideological situation has improved in the 1970s, and translations have changed significantly in its quantity and quality. The latter resulted as well in a shift from proletarian writers to the pre-modern and modern classical authors. The new epoch of literary translations has started at the beginning of the first decade of the 21st century when Japanese studies’ departments were founded in the majority of big universities and research institutes of the country.
The National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics is developing and publishing the "Corpus of Historical Japanese" as basic data for the study of Japanese language history in the digital age. The corpus is updated two times a year, and the latest edition published in March 2019 newly released the corpus of Hachidaishu (eight imperially commissioned anthologies of waka poetry). In this corpus, there are links to the images of the "Shōho hanpon nijuichidaishu" by the National Institute of Japanese Literature and the text of the 'Shin Nihon Koten Bungaku Taikei', and users can refer to the original images and annotations.
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.