photographReport: Japanese Resource Specialists met in Newcastle

Annual Conference of EAJRS 7-10 September 2011

Location: Old Library Building
Time/Date: 7th September 2011 - 10th September 2011

The School of Modern Languages at Newcastle University hosted the Annual Conference of the European Association of Japanese Resource Specialists (EAJRS) 7-10 September 2011. The local organiser was Dr Laura Moretti who is the Secretary of the organisation.

The exciting programme brought together librarians, museum curators and scholars working with Japanese resources. The topics ranged from research papers on how to preserve resources and catalogueging to widening access and the use of manuscripts and prints in research and teaching.

Some highlights included (full Abstracts):

  1. A clinic workshop on cataloguing using the Nacsis-CAT system organized by Izumi Tytler (Bodleian Japanese Library, University of Oxford) with the National Institute of Informatics (Tokyo);
  2. A session on digitization (involving Nagashima Hiroaki 長嶋弘明 of Tokyo University, Akama Ryō 赤間亮 of Ritsumeikan University and Kashimura Masaaki 樫村雅章 of Keio University) followed by a round-table on the same topic led by Antony Boussemart (EFEO) and Hamish Todd (The British Library)
  3. A session on the use of resources with the participation of leading scholars in the field of Japanese Studies in the UK, such as Andrew Gerstle (SOAS), Ellis Tinios (University of Leeds) and Rosina Buckland (National Museum of Scotland) among others.

The keynote speaker for this year was Prof. Hashiguchi Kōnosuke 橋口侯之介, one of the most distinguished bibliographer and antiquarian bookseller in Tokyo whose lecture reflected upon Japanese early-modern books and their bibliographical features.Conference Delegates at the EAJRS

As is the tradition with the EAJRS, the conference took in local culture as well, ranging from a traditional dinner at Blackfriars via a visit to the Oriental Museum of Durham University tothe Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle whose rich collection  of Japanese woodblock prints formed a particular highlight of the conference.

Visiting the Laing Art Gallery

In his summary of the conference, Hamish Todd, the Chair of the Japan Library Group, expressed the thanks to Laura Moretti as the organiser and said: "I feel that this conference was one of the most interesting and significant that we have had.  There was a very full  and varied programme of presentations about projects, collections and technical developments relating to resources for Japanese studies which will be of value to all of us in our work as librarians, curators, academics and information specialists.  However, In addition I believe that the sessions on digitisation and cataloguing of antiquarian material and in particular the roundtable discussion had a wider significance.  By bringing together representatives of key Japanese institutions in the field in one location and asking them to address fundamental questions I believe the conference has made a real contribution to their dialogue with each other and will, let us hope, affect their future thinking and co-operation. 

I am aware how much work you put into organising the conference in what has been an exceptionally busy year for you but I hope you and your colleagues in the School of  Modern Languages agree that all the effort was well worth it.  Everyone I spoke to was very impressed with the friendly atmosphere and excellent facilities provided by Newcastle University and I would ask you to pass on my thanks and congratulations to all involved behind the scenes." 

EAJRS  was established in 1989 and the first conference took place in Budapest in 1990. After that date the annual conference took place in different European countries and to date only once in the United Kingdom (Sainsbury Institute in Norwich in 2008). The primary aims of the association are: (1) the circulation of information on major collections and research centres in Europe, Japan and North America, (2) the diffusion of innovative research conducted on Japan-related resources, (3) the enforcement of international research projects dealing with Japanese resources. More details of the Association’s aims and activities can be found on its website.

Published: 30th September 2011