TimeOut Tokyo: This free virtual gallery lets you curate your own online exhibition of Japanese art . “Cultural Japan uses the International Image Interoperability Framework, a database with over 500,000 digital versions of Japanese artworks from 550 institutions around the world such as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Stanford University Museum in California. There are famous ukiyo-e prints like Hokusai’s ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’, as well as ancient artefacts dating all the way back to the Jomon period (14,000-300 BC).”
Tohoku University: Digitized Works from Kokichi Kano Collection Now Open to General Public. “The Kano Collection was brought to Tohoku University through the efforts of Masataro Sawayanagi, the university’s first president and Kano’s close friend. It consists of about 108,000 books, most of which are Japanese and Chinese classics covering a variety of fields such as literature, philosophy, science, art and the military.” 232 works have been digitized and are now available online.
Kyodo News: FEATURE: Museums to unite in preserving Japanese sports history. “A sports museum in Tokyo is leading the way in the creation of a network with similar organizations across Japan, aiming to protect and preserve valuable pieces of the nation’s athletic history. That there is no shared system under which the pieces of memorabilia, including medals and reference materials, are organized is a major concern to people working at museums. Additionally, there is no universal list maintained by any public organization that indicates which institution holds any particular object.”
Hankyoreh: S. Korea to release records showing Japan’s mobilization of Korean girls and women into forced labor. “On the 75th anniversary of Korea’s liberation by US forces from Japanese the colonial occupation, the National Archives of Korea, the National Library of Korea, and the Northeast Asian History Foundation have released records from the colonial occupation related to the poorly known issue of the labor conscription of women and children. The archives also contained newspaper articles and other documents that were published in support of their conscription.”
New York Times: After Atomic Bombings, These Photographers Worked Under Mushroom Clouds. “The idea of publishing in the United States images from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings was first proposed to the University of Texas at Austin in 2017 by the Anti-Nuclear Photographers’ Movement of Japan, one of the organizations that have worked for decades to collect and preserve such photographs. The group was seeking an American publisher because it worried about rising tensions enveloping North Korea, Japan and the United States at the time, and it wanted to broadcast its antinuclear message to a wider audience. Through an intermediary, it approached the Texas university’s Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, whose collection includes photographs of the Vietnam War by the American photojournalist Eddie Adams….The center’s director, Don Carleton, said that while he initially worried that the Japanese group might use the project to ‘assign war guilt,’ it turned out that the two sides had a simple goal in common: educating the public about the horrors of nuclear war. The association eventually agreed to make its photos available as a digital archive at the university, starting in 2021.” Warning: the pictures are horrifying.
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.”