Each June between 2007 and 2009, 19 Japanese studies librarians from European and North American libraries and museums gathered in Tenri City to attend training at the “Tenri Antiquarian Materials Workshop” held in Tenri Central Library. The aims of the workshops were to foster the knowledge and expertise needed for organising and managing Japanese antiquarian materials outside Japan, and by creating databases of information about these widely scattered collections, to improve their accessibility and thereby promote research.
The specialist knowledge needed for this is wide-ranging and there is a great deal to be learned. Such knowledge is not something that can be acquired in a short space of time but increases in breadth and depth through practical experience. The intention was, therefore, that in these workshops expertise should be acquired in incrementally over the course of three years. Knowledge gained in a given year was applied by participants in their regular duties back at their workplace and problems encountered were taken forward to the next year’s workshop so that more practical knowledge and skills could be acquired and cultivated.
In June 2008 during the Second Workshop, two brain-storming sessions led to the formation of the Overseas Japanese Antiquarian Materials Study Group (OJAMASG). The purpose of the Group is to pursue the study of antiquarian materials, to strengthen networking, and to foster close collaboration and consultation among members. We also wish to address ourselves to those librarians in the field who were not able to participate in the workshops and to expand our support network to include them.
The Study Group’s activities are publicised on this website which has been created with the support of the British Library. The first two collaborative projects were the compilation of a directory of the collections of Japanese antiquarian material in members’ home institutions [link to Directory] and the creation of a list of examples of technical terms useful for antiquarian cataloguing [link to Yoreishu] .
This website is also used to publicise and promote training or learning opportunities for those with an interest in Japanese antiquarian materials in Europe and North America.
In conclusion we would like to express our profound gratitude to Tenri University and Tenri Central Library for their great efforts in organising and running the Tenri Antiquarian Materials Workshops and Symposia which provided the impetus to set up this Study Group, to the Japan Foundation and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation for their financial assistance, and to the National Institute of Japanese Literature (NIJL), National Institute of Informatics (NII), European Association of Japanese Resource Specialists (EAJRS), North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources (NCC) for their collaboration, and to all those who have been involved in making the Workshops possible. We sincerely hope that we will be able to rely on their continued support.
Izumi Tytler : Chair, Tenri Workshop Committee