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Library and Information Science Paper (ID LIS072001)

Collection of Japanese Materials for Yale University Library and the Library of Congress by Asakawa Kan'ichi
No.72, p.1-35
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Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the process used by Kan’ichi Asakawa (1873–1948)to collect Japanese materials for Yale University Library (YUL)and the Library of Congress (LC), as well as the characteristics and significance of these collections.

Method: First, various documents about Asakawa, including existing studies, letters, and the librar-ian’s annual reports of both libraries, were analyzed. Second, the author examined the actual collec-tions of both libraries, and investigated the style of binding and the written works transcribed under Asakawa’s specific supervision. Third, recently published bibliographies of the Japanese collection catalogs of both libraries were analyzed and the characteristics of each collection were compared.

Results: All of the Japanese materials in the USA had been previously donated, but Asakawa’s ac-tive approach resulted in the first properly organized Japanese collection. A survey of the actual materials indicates, especially from the style of binding, that Asakawa carefully considered the nature and usefulness of each item. At YUL, titles classified under history, legislative system, and law account for 60% of the total, and mostly comprised original documentation on the institutional development of Japan. In the LC, Buddhism accounts for 50% of all titles, reflecting the value Asakawa placed on these materials as being indispensable for understanding the history of Japan. The materials that are found in both YUL and the LC are the original texts of primary resources that must have been considered to contribute to Japanese studies in the USA. The results of the study show that the YUL and LC collections together provide the original texts of primary source materials, which reflect not only Asakawa’s collection principles, but also his aspirations for both libraries to build historically valuable collections.

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