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UM Resources on Japan

The University of Michigan has a wealth of resources to support the study of Japan in its various academic units, libraries, and museums.  This page lists many of these resources and links for more information.  Resources are listed in alphabetical order.  Click on each name to reveal a short description and a link to the unit's website.

Asia Library

The Asia Library supports the research and teaching activities in East Asian Studies in the University community. The collection of the Asia Library, mainly in Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages, is an extension of the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library's research collections for humanities and social sciences. As of December 2004, it boasts 685,725 volumes of book, 43,564 reels of microfilm, 32,243 sheets of microfiche, 2,332 CD-ROMs, 2,467 current serial titles and 79 newspapers (382,376 volumes, 30,701 reels and 24,151 sheets in Chinese; 285,494 volumes, 12,198 reels and 8,092 sheets in Japanese and 17,855 volumes, 665 reels in Korean). The Asia Library also runs a Japanese, Chinese, and Korean language computing center. Consisting of multimedia hardware and software allowing computing in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean, and database searching in these languages, the library also runs training and other workshops related to its use. The library also has an extensive reference room full of dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other works in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.

Asian Art Archives

The Asian Art Archives is a photograph collection located in the basement of Tappan Hall. A resource of over 190,000 photographs, the Archives is open to both faculty and students for study and research. Part of the Asian Art Archives includes the Far Eastern Art Archive comprising some 48,000 photographs of Chinese and Japanese painting, sculpture, architecture, and decorative arts. Study space is provided in Room 20 during normal business hours. Use of the photographs is restricted to the premises.

Asian Languages and Cultures

The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts is the home of the Japanese Language Program as well as courses on Japanese literature and culture.  It offers undergraduate major in Asian Studies, undergraduate minors in Asian Studies and Asian Languages, and PhD program in Japanese literature and culture.

Askwith Media Library

The Askwith Media Library maintains a collection of feature films, documentaries, animated films, and instructional programs in a variety of formats including DVD, VHS, CD-ROM, 16mm film, audio cassettes, audio CDs, and laser discs.  It contains a large number of Japanese films in VHS and laserdisc format from documentaries and instructional works to the films of Kurosawa Akira, Mizoguchi Kenji, and animation. The library is located in the Shapiro Library on the second floor.

Bentley Historical Library

Bentley Historical Library serves as the University's historical archive.  Much of the history of the Center for Japanese Studies, and an important part of the history of Japanese studies in the United States (among many other artifacts), is archived in the form of original documents at the Bentley Historical Library. The archives include photographs, films, videotapes, audiotapes, administrative files, correspondence, course materials, faculty files, financial statements, special activities files, and more covering the period from the late 1940s to the present. A finding aid is available at the library. Because the Bentley deals in original materials, there are special rules for examining and handling their collections.  Bently Historical Library is located on North Campus.

Clements Library

The Clements Library has in its archives several important resources for the study of mid-nineteenth century Japanese history including Ukiyo-e prints, journals, and other personal accounts documenting early Japanese impressions of Euro-American people, life, and cultures. The collection of prints ranges from depictions of Perry and his sailors, to life aboard their black ships, and includes maps of the various treaty ports, ethnographic descriptions of foreign lands, and Europeans and Americans in their home countries. Written documents include: contemporary manuscripts of accounts of Japanese sailors shipwrecked and brought to America in the first half of the nineteenth century; the seven-volume journal of Tamamushi Yasushige, a member of the first official Japanese diplomatic mission to the United States; and a series of original documents relating to the etiquette and protocol for the visit of Townsend Harris to the Shogun at Edo Castle.

Gerald R. Ford Library

The Ford Library, located on North Campus, contains a vast number and variety of documents relating to the Ford presidency and Japan including files on state visits, economic relations, and healing wounds of World War II. President Ford became the first President to visit Japan while in office in 1974, and in 1975, Emperor Hirohito first visited the United States. Economic-relations materials deal with bilateral trade issues, treaty relations, balance of payments, and international economic summits. The holdings also include materials on President Ford’s Official Rescinding of Executive Order 9066 which authorized the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, and documents relating to his pardoning of Iva Touri D’Aquino (Tokyo Rose). The library also holds a collection entitled, “America Since Hoover: Selected Documents from the Presidential Libraries, 1928-80” that contains documents on the 1931 Japanese invasion of Manchuria, the forced internment of Japanese-Americans, and the use of the Atomic Bomb.

Museum of Anthropology

The Museum of Anthropology has an extensive collection of Japanese artifacts from prehistory to modern times. The holdings include traditional footwear (geta, tabi, zori, etc.), ancient potsherds from the Jomon period, various collections of ceramics from kilns throughout Japan, Ainu handicrafts, artwork such as a screen painting, a sword and two sets of armor, Buddhist statuary, tea utensils, and modern textiles. These collections have been donated by U-M faculty such as James Marshall Plummer and Richard Beardsley as well as Sugihara Sosuke of Meiji University, and John A. Pope, former director of the Freer Gallery. Though not open to the public, arrangements can be made to study artifacts with museum faculty and staff. The Museum of Anthropology is located at the Exhibit Museum of Natural History.

Museum of Art

The University of Michigan Museum of Art is home to a substantial collection of Japanese art ranging in age from 200 BCE to the present and illustrating the rich tradition and evolution of the arts in Japan. The museum’s Japanese art gallery, underwritten by the Mazda Motor Corporation, includes a fully functional traditional Japanese Tea House. Other highlights of the collection include famous portraiture, Buddhist sculpture, lacquer-ware, ceramics, painting, and ukiyo-e.  The museum is currently undergoing a major expansion and renovation.

Music Library

Due chiefly to the efforts of Professor Emeritus William Malm during more than three decades of teaching musicology at U-M, the School of Music library’s holdings in the area of traditional Japanese music are the strongest of any institution in North America. Areas of primary concentration are Edo period theatre and chamber music (nagauta, various styles of joruri, shamisen song forms, jiuta sokyoku and sankyoku among others), but all major historical genres are reasonably well represented in LP and CD recordings, published scholarly works and traditional notations (note that books and other materials in Japanese are held in the Asia Library on Central Campus). The collection also contains extensive holdings of Japanese participation in western classical music through the good offices of the Japan Federation of Composers.

Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments

Located in the School of Music, Theater, and Dance on North Campus, the Stearns Collection contains displays more than 2,000 rare and familiar musical instruments from communities across the globe, including Japanese instruments such as taiko drums.  The collection features permanent and occasional displays in the Vesta Mills Gallery and in various exhibition areas throughout the Earl V. Moore Building of the School of Music

Visual Resources Collections

The Visual Resources Collections of the History of Art Department includes an extensive collection of 35mm slides as well as many digitized images available through the UM Digital Library. All UM faculty members and graduate students are welcome to borrow slides for use in classroom presentations. The collection is housed in the lower level of Tappan Hall. Faculty members and graduate students who would like to incorporate visual materials into their lectures are encouraged to come for an orientation to the collection. The slide library contains an extensive collection of Japanese art from early history to the present including painting, sculpture, architecture, and other decorative arts.