In this modern era, when globalization has become one of our most pressing concerns, many Japanese universities and research institutions are working towards international collaborative research in the field of Japanese literature. Despite diligent work, however, much of these efforts are currently limited to exchang-es of information with a select group of skilled foreign researchers who possess an intimacy with the Japanese language. Just as we Japanese, most of whom are not at all familiar with French, German, or Russian, have come to adore such authors as Balzac, Goethe, and Dostoyevsky, so, too, there must be many foreigners who, despite their inability to read Japanese, nevertheless admire works of Japanese literature through translations. Globalization, if it is to be considered truly global, must produce research which reaches a broader audience embracing those who have no prior knowledge of Japanese. In accordance with this vision of more far-reaching type of international collaboration, therefore, above and beyond our usual commitment to international exchange, we have welcomed into our ranks two very promising young researchers, an assistant professor from Canada and an associate professor from France. With their assistance, we intend, among other projects, to publish in two-year’s time an online journal for the promotion of international research in the related fields of Japanese literature, history, and culture.
On another front, the National Institute of Japanese Literature has, since its first inception, managed to collect a total of more than three-hundred thousand items relating to Japanese literature, many of which are now preserved on mi-crofilm, from all corners of the country. We have furthermore established the necessary facilities with which to preserve these items for up to one or even two centuries hence. Throughout this ongoing process of investigation and collection, we have received a very positive reception from those in possession of these rare materials. Having recognize the insti-tute’s commitment to both preserving as well as effectively using these items, these individuals continue to honor us with donations of invaluable documents. Such donations include the private collections of such past distinguished scholars of Japanese linguistics and literature as Shinkichi Hashimoto (1882-1945), Sen’ichi Hisamatsu (1894-1976), Ky?z? Fukui (1867-1951), Ky?ichi Nishishita (1898-1964), Akihia Hase (1918-1985), Shigeo Got? (1921-2006), Isao K?j? (n.d.), as well as a number of larger collections such as the Denban Collection formerly in possession of the Tayasu Tokugawa family, the Sekitokud? Collection formerly in possession of the Yamaga family, and the Ukai Collection. Our institution, therefore, houses not only microfilm copies of material but also a growing number of original manuscripts. Moreover, we recently received a donation of over one-thousand items, including manuscripts, commentaries, cards, and folding screens, all which pertain to the Ise monogatari (Tales of Ise, 9th-10th century), being the largest collection of its kind in the entire world. This collection, known as the Tesshinsai Collection, was donated to us by Misako Ashizawa, head of the Tesshinsai Collection Tales of Ise Cultural Center. We have already set in motion a collaborative project to catalogue this last collection, and we will be offering a public exhibition of its contents sometime next year.
This year marks the beginning of the third stage in the mid-term objectives and planning phase of national university corporations and inter-university research institute corporations. The National Institute of Japanese Literature, by uti-lizing what achievements we have amassed thus far, and simultaneously concentrating a great deal of its energy on our central project, namely, the Project to Build an International Collaborative Research Network for Pre-modern Japanese Texts, fully intends to fulfill its role as an inter-university research institute.
Photo cooperation: Ekutebian, Ltd.
|National Institute of Japanese Literature|
|National Institutes for the Humanities|