UBC Library acquires rare Japanese manuscripts and calligraphy works

Research Excellence | Strategy 10: Research Culture
Theme: Collaboration

UBC Library has acquired several rare titles as part of its Japanese Collections, thanks in part to support provided by the David Graham Memorial Fund. Digital copies of two of these titles are now openly accessible to the public through UBC Open Collections.

Getting a glimpse of Edo period social history

Ikoku jinbutsuzu 異國人物圖 (Illustration of people from other countries), a manuscript in scroll format, was acquired by the library at auction in 2019. The illustrations in lkoku jinbutsuzu, drawn in black ink with coloured ink washes, complement a few notable items in UBC Library’s Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era Collection such as Bankoku sōzu and Gaiban yōbō zuga, Ken 1.

“The illustrations [in lkoku jinbutsuzu] allow us a glimpse into the worldview and the view of ‘the Other,’ or foreigners, in the Edo period [1600-1868], the time of national isolation. Scholarly investigations into the provenance and significance of the scrolls in the history of Japanese books will be fascinating, and [this item] will be an invaluable primary source for those scholars with an interest in pre­modern Japanese intellectual and social history,” says Tomoko Kitayama Yen, Japanese Studies Librarian at UBC Asian Library.

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Through Strategy 10: Research Culture, UBC is working to develop the principles and practices that define a collaborative and inclusive research culture and that support mentorship, scholarship, discovery and creativity.