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The Dawn of Showa

(The following is a repost by Zoran Sinobad, reference librarian in the Moving Image Research Center. The post originally appeared on the Now See Hear! Blog.) Shortly after 7 a.m. on November 6, 1928, two mounted policemen in green breeches and black tunics appeared on the stone bridge at the main entrance to the Imperial Palace […]

The Historian as Magpie: Searching for Treasures in the Asian Reading Room

(The following post is an interview conducted by Jonathan Loar and Cameron Penwell, reference specialists in the Asian Division, with Dr. Emer O’Dwyer, associate professor of History and East Asian Studies at Oberlin College). This year, the annual conference of the Association of Asian Studies (AAS) was held in Washington, D.C. from March 22-25. At […]

Japanese Censorship Collection at the Library of Congress

(The following is a post by Eiichi Ito, Japanese Reference Specialist, Asian Division.) The Library of Congress recently launched the Japanese Censorship Collection, an online archive comprising more than one thousand marked-up copies of government-censored monographs and galley proofs from prewar Japan. All the digitized materials in this collection are currently available for viewing onsite, […]

Early European Resources on Vietnam at the Library of Congress

(The following is a post by Tien Doan, Special Assistant to the Chief, Asian Division.) The history of European interaction with Vietnam can be traced back to “The Travels of Marco Polo,” which records, in the late 1280s, the noted Italian explorer’s experiences traveling through the area, that is modern Vietnam. More than one-hundred versions […]

Sanskrit Manuscripts in the South Asian Rare Books Collection

(The following is post by Jonathan Loar, South Asian Reference Librarian, Asian Division) In 1938, the Library of Congress received a three-year grant from the Carnegie Corporation to establish a project for the development of Indic studies, which was the Library’s first initiative to collect South Asian materials systematically. This grant enabled the project’s director, […]

Minakata Kumagusu and the Tale of the Mountain God

(The following is a post by Cameron Penwell, Japanese Reference Librarian, Asian Division) On a shelf in the Japan rare book cage sits a small, unassuming wooden box next to a carefully preserved and tightly rolled scroll. Unfurled, the scroll reveals a hand-written Japanese text alongside fanciful images of anthropomorphic animals that together portray the […]

Discovering the Library’s Older Chinese Collection, Online

(The following is a post by Qi Qiu, Head of Scholarly Services, Asian Division.) With an estimated 1.2 million volumes, the Asian Division of the Library of Congress maintains the largest collection of Chinese-language materials outside of mainland China and Taiwan. The Library was also among the earliest institutions in America to collect Chinese materials. […]

The Delhi Durbar and the Proclamation of Queen Victoria

(The following is a post by Nuzhat Khatoon, South Asian Reference Specialist, Asian Division) In Delhi’s Coronation Park on January 1, 1877, the British monarch Queen Victoria (1837-1901) assumed a new title: Qaisar-i Hind, the Empress of India. Victoria’s proclamation was the central event of the jalsah-i qaisari, a massive imperial assemblage otherwise known in […]

Korean War Propaganda Leaflet Collection at the Library of Congress

(The following is a post by Sonya Lee, Reference Specialist, Korean Collection, Asian Division) The Korean War Propaganda Leaflet Collection in the Asian Division of the Library of Congress provides a unique look into an aspect of that conflict that is often overlooked: psychological warfare. The aim of psychological warfare, or psywar, is to gain […]

The First Asian Books in the Library of Congress

(The following is a post by Hong Ta-Moore, Reference Librarian, Asian Division.) In 1865, America experienced major social and political changes: President Lincoln was assassinated; the American Civil War ended; and the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery in the United States became law. Unrelated to all these changes, Congress authorized, that same year, additional funding […]