Monday, April 19, 2010

From the Stacks: Japanese Books and Manuscripts at the Clements Library

Regular contributor Emiko Hastings, Assistant Curator of Books, will be on vacation in Japan for the next two weeks.

While American history (broadly defined) is the main focus of the Clements Library collections, researchers may be surprised to discover materials representing other cultures here as well. Such items might come to the Library as part of larger collections or because of connections to American history that may not be readily apparent. One example of this is the small but significant collection of Japanese materials in the Library. Spanning more than one hundred years of history, these items include a variety of manuscripts, maps, books, and images documenting Japanese culture and historical encounters between Japan and the United States. Some of these items record the experiences of Americans traveling abroad in Japan or Japanese coming to America. Others provide insight into 19th century Japanese knowledge of the United States, both before and after the official opening of trade relations between the two nations in 1853-54.

Japanese Manuscript Collection, 1832-1861.  This collection of 4 Japanese manuscripts from the 19th century provides insight into important cultural encounters between Japan and the West. The manuscripts include an illustrated book of costumes of the world, an account of the famous John Manjiro's travels to America, instructions for receiving the first American envoy to Japan, and a diary kept by a member of the first Japanese embassy to the United States.

Thomas C. Dudley Papers, 1852-1856.  The Thomas C. Dudley papers are comprised of 83 letters written by Dudley to his young sister, Fanny, during the Caribbean cruises of the U.S.S. Powhatan in 1852 and Matthew Calbraith Perry's expedition to Japan, 1853-1854, and a 219 page memoir of his experiences during the United States Navel Expedition to Japan, written in 1855.

Kan Nakamura Journal, 1942-1943. The Kan Nakamura journal is a translation of a journal kept by a young Japanese officer during the Second World War while serving with one of the regiments stationed on Guadalcanal.


Abe, Yoshitô.  Chikyû bankoku zenzu. [1840?] Wood block print. World map based on a French map of 1835; annotated. In Japanese; includes Chinese translations of place names.

[Guide to leading stores in the foreign market, Yokohama]. Pictorial map of part of Yokohama printed as part of an eight-page pamphlet. Text presumably provides information relative to the stores and contains references to Commodore Perry. Includes list of geisha houses authorized to entertain foreigners.

[Street plan map of Yokohama, 1869].  Street plan with nearly all information given in Japanese characters. Locations are numbered and a few places are identified in English. A note with the map states: This map was especially prepared to serve as a guide to foreign establishments in the newly opened port. The American consul appears as no. 97 on the map.


"Landing of Commodore Perry, officers, & men of the Squadron in 1854," after painting
by Heine. Color lithograph by Saxony, N.Y.

[Views of Tokyo, Yokohama, and Uraga area at Commodore Perry’s second visit.]  Names and crests of Japanese lords; procession of American Navy personnel; view of Tokyo Bay with American ships; detail of American steamships. Color woodcut.


Kaigai ibun [Strange information from abroad. New information from America. The experiences of Hatsutarô and twelve other Japanese castaways and what they saw and heard when rescued by a Spanish boat and taken to California and Mexico from 1841 to 1843. Edited by Seifuen Juô. New edition.] [Tôkyô, 1854]  5 vols.

Kaigai shimbun besshû [Collection of materials from foreign newspapers, governmental edition. Translation of the New York Times, nos. 103-303, relating to the Civil War.] [Tôkyô, Rôsôkaku, 1862] With copy 2 of v. 1 is a picture of Joseph Heco, Japanese castaway who became an early US consul to the Japanese and who may have edited this work. There is also, laid in, a letter relating to Heco from Eleanor Temple (copy).

Uryû, Masakazu. Seiyô shinsho. [A new book on the western world, including an outline of geography and the history and customs of American and European countries.] [Tôkyô, Hôshû-dô, 1872] Contents include: Voyages across the Pacific; Hawaiian Islands; San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and the White House; Hongkong; Paris, Marseille, Europe, Biographies of Columbus, Washington and Napoleon; locomotives; telegraphs; steam engines; policemen, museums; libraries; exhibitions; hospitals; Congress; Civil war; Franco-Prussian war; France and Britain at war. 10 vols.

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