Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona: First database on the Imjin War now available. “The database covers a wide range of aspects of the Imjin War, such as information on prisoners, pottery produced during that period, Christianity, international relations, economics, the environment, Europe, identities, literature, military history, migrations, social history and trade. It allows analysing the human aspect of war, given that tens of thousands of Koreans were captured and sold to Japan as slaves, and many Japanese soldiers fell into the hands of the Chinese army and never returned to their country of origin. The project examines the trajectory of these people and how they were integrated into their new societies.”
Stars and Stripes Japan: If you can’t travel, here’s 11 virtual tours of Japan. “Let the power of technology, like virtual museum tours or live video feeds, decide where to visit on your next holiday—or help you pass your time during a spot of social distancing as coronavirus worries continue. Whether you’re already in Japan, scratching your head because of the closed attractions or still planning your next trip, these fantastic e-tours and live feeds will help you pass the time and maybe even add a few new places to your bucket list.”
British Library: Zuan-cho – Japanese design albums in the late Meiji Period. “The Japanese Collection of the British Library includes around 50 Japanese pattern and design books. Thanks to a grant from the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, the Library is digitising many of these and making them available online. For a list of what is currently available see Japanese manuscripts and woodblock-printed books relating to design arranged by theme. This series of blog posts features some of the items in the collection, the artists who created them and the publishers who produced them.”
GlobeNewswire: JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles Launches Virtual Programming Featuring Their Most Popular Series on Manga Art, Food, Film & Flower Arranging (PRESS RELEASE). “JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles, the premier Japanese cultural destination in the heart of Hollywood, is launching a virtual program featuring their most popular education and entertainment workshops, including expanded content, to enjoy at home during its temporary closure.” Cooking, Manga, flower arranging…
Yonhap News Agency: Gov’t to integrate databases on victims of Japan’s forced labor . “South Korea will integrate databases on Koreans conscripted as forced labor or soldiers during Japan’s colonial rule, the National Archives of Korea (NAK) said Monday. At present, the databases containing lists of Korean victims of Japan’s wartime forced labor and military conscription are spread among several state institutions, including the NAK, the National Memorial Museum of Forced Mobilization under Japanese Occupation and the National Institute of Korean History.”
Japan Times: Art gets a second life via digitized showcasing. “NTT East Corp. has launched a project to preserve Japan’s cultural properties in an effort to conserve assets susceptible to damage from natural disasters or deterioration over time. Under the project, the telecommunication firm plans to digitalize cultural properties, such as paintings, architecture and historical documents, and store the data on the firm’s server.”
9 News: Secrets of billions of ancient Japanese texts being uncovered by AI. “The content of billions of ancient texts written in a now-obsolete Japanese script have long puzzled researchers struggling to decode the secrets they might hold. Known as Kuzushiji, the ancient cursive script was used from the 8th century to the start of the 20th, however less than 0.01 per cent of the world’s population can currently read it.”
Kyoto University Rare Materials Digital Archive: Important Cultural Property “Dainihonshi Hensan Kiroku” (G.S. Letters) Newly Released. “The Graduate School of Letters of Kyoto University and the Kyoto University Museum have been carrying out the restoration and digitization of an important cultural property Dainihonshi hensan kiroku held by the Graduate School of Letters since academic year 2018. Two hundred and six new images of the restored material are now available in Kyoto University Rare Materials Digital Archive. Dainihonshi hensan kiroku (大日本史編纂記録) is a collection of more than 6,000 letters (copies) exchanged between Shokokan (彰考館; Mito Domain’s office for history compilation) in Mito (currently in Ibaraki Prefecture) and Edo (currently Tokyo) and their Kyoto office regarding the compilation of Dainihonshi (*1) by Tokugawa Mitsukuni (徳川光圀; 1628-1701).”
The Japan Times: Archive to tell story of Beate Sirota Gordon’s pivotal role in fight for gender equality in Japan. “Documents related to Beate Sirota Gordon, the American translator who played a major role in the formulation of the Japanese Constitution’s gender equality protections, are being archived in a project exploring the development of women’s rights.”
Japan Times: Reiwa calligraphy to be stored at National Archives, made available for commercial use. “The government plans to preserve the original calligraphic work Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga displayed when announcing the new era name of Reiwa at the National Archives of Japan, according to government sources. The archived material will be made public from the spring of 2021. The National Archives will scan and digitize the work for display in its online archives.”
Asian and African Studies Blog: Jesuit Mission Press ‘Feiqe monogatari’ now online. “One of the most important items in the British Library’s Japanese collections is a small, rather ordinary-looking, leather-bound volume, generally known as Feiqe monogatari (BL shelfmark Or.59.aa.1). Despite its appearance, it is, in fact, a remarkable work in a number of ways. Firstly, it was one of the earliest books printed in Japan using movable type rather than the traditional woodblocks, secondly, it is the first non-religious text printed in colloquial Japanese transcribed into the Roman alphabet, offering valuable insights into the phonology of the Japanese language in the 16th century, and thirdly, it is the world’s only extant copy.”
The Japan Times: The Japan Times Archives expanded to include The Japan Advertiser 1913-1940. “The Japan Times, Ltd. (Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. President: Mr. Takeharu Tsutsumi) has added new content — The Japan Advertiser (1913-1940) — to its digital archives, The Japan Times Archives (1897-2018). Published during a period encompassing the Taisho Period and the early Showa Era, The Japan Advertiser depicts the Japan of almost a century ago from the perspective of foreign journalists. The content includes news articles as well as stories aimed at foreigners living in Japan that introduced Japanese culture, and advertising that reflects the social and economic climate of those times.” The announcement notes that this archive is available only to institutional subscribers and not individuals (unfortunately).
South China Morning Post: Japanese wartime photos strike a nerve in China. “The release online of 35,000 photographs taken during the Japanese occupation of China between 1936 and 1945 has riled Chinese social media commenters.” I can’t find a link to the photography collection or much other news about it. The collection purportedly came from Kyoto University; I can’t find any announcements on its Web site but I have contacted the site and will update if I get any information.
Kyoto University Library Network: Kyoto University Rare Materials Digital Archive: 1,443 titles including “Korean Metal/Stone Rubbings Collection” and others newly available. “The digital images newly released this time include 219 titles of ‘Korean Metal/Stone Rubbings Collection’, 850 manuscripts from ‘Kawai Collection’, 356 titles of ‘Modern Educational Wallcharts’. Other than these, transcriptions and explanations are added to ‘Meiji Restoration Collection’ and Nara Ehon Collection. As of January 29, 2018, 1,071,087 images of 12,793 titles are available in Kyoto University Rare Materials Digital Archive.”
NHK World: Atomic bomb publications database released online. “The project was organized by LinguaHiroshima, a group of researchers based in the city of Kure in Hiroshima Prefecture. The group’s website offers a list of about 3,500 writings published in a total of 75 languages. The database includes the works’ title, author and date of publication.”