Council on East Asian Libraries Conference, Philadelphia 2010

Committee on Japanese Materials Meeting


Date: Thursday, March 25 2010

Time: 8:30am

Place: Grand Ballroom Salon A/B


Theme: Collections & Services in the Google Age: What Japanese Librarians Should Know


Chair: Haruko Nakamura, Yale University Library


Agenda Item



H. Nakamura welcomed the audience, and announced the names of the new members of the Japanese Librarian community.

Update on Activities Related to Japanese Rare Books: Report of the Subcommittee on Japanese Rare Books Activities and the Tenri Workshop


Toshie Marra,



Sachie Noguchi,

Columbia University

Update on revision of the Descriptive Cataloging Guidelines for Pre-Meiji Japanese Books (T. Marra)

·        the draft of the 2010 revised edition is now available for review and comments are solicited until April 15 2010

·        revision was necessary because the 3rd revised edition of the 和書適用細則was issued in 2009, and the Research Libraries Group's Cataloging Guidelines for Creating Chinese Rare Book Records in Machine-Readable Form was also revised in 2009

·        changes included:

        a revision of the chief source of information, which changed from the title page (1st ed.) to the whole resource (rev ed.)

       prescribed sources of information for each area of description are clearly set out and a note on the title and statement of responsibility is always required

       the edition area is no longer being used

·        a business meeting took place earlier during this CEAL conference to discuss the revisions.


Tenri project update (S. Noguchi)

·        The project included workshops built on knowledge acquired in the previous year(s). Lecturers were mostly from Tenri University. The program content was as follows:

Year 1: basic knowledge of kinsei enpon/hanpon

Year 2: manuscripts

Year 3: various subjects and formats

·        A Tenri University International Symposium was held yearly in conjunction with workshop.

·        The workshop was supported by Japan foundation,

·        The resulting Overseas Japanese Antiquarian materials study group (ojamasg) created the following collaborative projects:

       directory of the collections of Japanese antiquarian materials in members' home institutions

       creation of a list of examples of technical vocabulary


An overview of possible impacts on Japanese Libraries Since the Change of Government


Makoto Okamoto,

Academic Resource Guide


New e-book developments in Japan

·        kindle was released in Japan last year

·        Japanese books are not yet available via kindle, so this has yet to become a  popular medium, however people are aware of the device and feel that e-books are the upcoming trend

·        iphone's popularity has made some publishers take notice

·        Kōdansha, Shūeisha, and other publishers are still not getting into the e-book market


NDL's proposed digitization plans:

·        budget was approved, which includes 140 million dollars to digitize NDL's 900,000 books

·        books published before 1968 can be digitized without permission.

·        books cannot be published on the web, users can only read material within the NDL facilities

·        publishers have concerns about digitization and distribution by NDL

·        current NDL director M. Nagao suggests implementing one of the following systems to handle compensation to publishers:

       NDL will provide digitized books to public libraries

       NDL can supply material to a private organization, which will collect fees and pay royalties to publishers

       each publisher is in charge of distributing and collecting fees


Conclusion – pay attention to the “remarkable players”:

·        Dai Nippon Insatsu (Dai Nippon DNP DNP), which manages TRC Maruzen Junkudo, BOOKOFF, CHI Group

       take note of their forthcoming policies

·        The NDL and the “Council for Promotion and Utilization of Publications in Digital Network Society” デジタル・ネットワーク社会における出版物の利活用の推進に関する懇談会  that consists of the government agencies MEXT 文部科学省, MIC 総務省 and METI 経済産業省

·        U40 (Under 40) Librarians that met at the Japan Library Association last October


Mr. Okamoto's presentation text and slides have been uploaded to slideshare:

Locating Primary Sources and Archival Institutions in Japan


Izumi Koide,

Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation

Why primary sources?

Primary sources are closely related to research. ARL principles include statements in regards to the breadth and quality of collections and emphasis on research.


First steps in primary research:

Look at preceding works (usually already published materials), then at primary sources in order to formulate new ideas for analysis. Pay attention to what gets published, and what then becomes the preceding work for the next researcher.


Primary source materials are found both inside and outside of the library. Some university archives in Japan include institutional archives (materials that document the history of the university and the products of members of the university) and collecting archives (primary source material outside of the institution).


Japanese library archives are difficult to find because of the different ways of writing “archives” in katakana. Other terms also exist, such as bunshokan / monjokan.


The archival section of universities is also hard to find. The name given to the archives reflects its organizational status. Archives may be part of the library or university press. Sometimes institutional archives are hidden on the web.


There are three levels or archival resources:


Level 1: Directories of Repositories

Japan Society of Archives Institutions (

Business Archives Japan

NDL's Cooperative Reference Database

National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (LOC) (

British National Archives (A: The National Archives)


Level 2: Guide to Subjects of Archival Collections


·        claims to provide information on collections

·        600 participant organizations

·        includes information on 13,000 collections or fonds

·        database relies on voluntary contribution, not exhaustive




Level 3: Finding aids (for item / folder level)

National Archives of Japan (JACAR)’s Digital Archive


There are several differences between archives and libraries:

·        archives often have vulnerable materials that require special attention for preservation and public access

·        libraries usually hold material that is bound

·        archival standards are not commonly applied, while libraries rely on AACR2

·        there are union catalogs, ILL networks, and common reference tools available to libraries

·        libraries are better equipped to deal with changing technology than archives, although archives have now begun to catch up

·        old books and rare publications become research materials and primary sources, therefore in time library collections can become archival materials

·        libraries are considered a gateway to primary source material

What makes a “Reference Librarian” in the Internet Age? How should we improve our skills in the internet age? What directions should reference services be shifted in the Internet Age?


Makoto Inoue,

Doshisha University

Example one: Maria Sharapova's Bra Size

An article from the periodical Friday shows a picture of Sharapova's exposed bra size (34B), which the article author describes as being the equivalent to a 88cm B Cup Japanese bra size. There is no mention of a conversion method used, so how could the writer know the correct size? Who makes such a conversion table? If we look at a specific retailer's conversion table we will find that 34B is considered equivalent to B75. However, this information is made by a private company, and there is reason for bias. What kinds of organizations hold reliable information on the size?


Let's look at (Japanese Industrial Standards Committee - JISC)

日本工業標準調査会 (

·        we can quickly find the product with a keyword search

·        this item can be found under the “sizing systems for foundation garments” section

·        according to the conversion table here the B75 size refers to a bust size of 88cm, and an under bust of 75cm



·        search for reliable and authentic information resources

·        ask: Who is familiar with this subject? Who is responsible for this matter? Who needs this type of information?

·        be conscious of the combination of information and viewpoints


Skills and methods to be reviewed:

One should know where to find appropriate resources when there is a tremendous amount of information available. It is also important to be aware of how resources are edited and structured, evaluating authenticity and showing evidence, combining information and integrating it into knowledge.


Example 2: Soseki's connection with Makino Nobuaki

A patron requested information on the exact date that Makino was sent to Italy as the Japanese ambassador in order to corroborate Soseki's statement in a letter to Masaoka Shiki that he intended to become a librarian at the Imperial Library. We can look at reference works such as the Makino Nobuaki Nikki chronology table (nenpyō) and the Kokushi Daijiten; however, these secondary sources may not be as accurate as original documents.


The document giving Makino his ambassadorial assignment is available through National Archives of Japan, and this was dated 1897. A copy of his resume also lists 1897 as the correct date for his posting to Italy.


It's important to emphasize collaboration with patrons when trying to answer their questions.


If we continue to use web resources, doesn't that mean that we will have no reason to continue in-person services?


At Doshisha University there is an increase in patrons coming on site in order to discuss a problem, and this often is done before the Internet search.


Have any conservation programs been held in regards to Japanese rare books, or do you have plans to do this in the future?


T. Marra: So far, the only project has been to compile this directory.

S. Noguchi: At least one session on preservation was included in the Tenri workshop every year.


Meeting adjourned at 10:20am.