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“Oryun haengsilto”: A Guide to Confucian Values from Korea’s Choson Dynasty (1392-1910)

(The following is a post by Sonya Lee, Korea reference specialist, Asian Division.) An 1859 edition of the well-known Confucian work, “Oryun haengsilto” 五倫行實圖  (“Illustrated guide to the five relationships”), is one of some 3,500 volumes held in the Korean rare books collection in the Asian Division of the Library of Congress. This work exemplifies […]

Mapping Imperial Japanese History through the B-Collection

(The following is a post by Chelsea Hudson, Junior Fellow, Asian Division, Summer 2018.) The process of inventorying and cataloging the hundreds of thousands of items scattered across Library archives is in itself an exercise in reconstructing history. Each book or journal records the anonymous hands that have censored its text, drawn in its margins, […]

Catholicism in the Philippines during the Spanish Colonial Period 1521-1898

(The following is a post by Hong Ta-Moore, Southeast Asia reference librarian, Asian Division.) Southeast Asia is home to eleven countries, nearly 700 million people, and a rich variety of religious traditions. The Philippines, for example, is one of two Southeast Asian countries with a majority Christian population (the other being East Timor). According to […]

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 […]