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Japan’s Book Donation to the University of Louvain

Japanese Cultural Identity and Modernity in the 1920s

Jan Schmidt (Editor), Willy Vande Walle (Editor), Eline Mennens (Editor),

Category: Asian Studies, History

Language: English

ISBN: 9789462702288

Publication date: October 10, 2022

€29.50 (including 6% VAT)

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Number of pages: 296

Size: 285 x 195 x 20 mm

Number of illustrations: 250

Illustrations and other content description:
Full colour

Funded by: KU Leuven Fund for Fair Open Access

Stock item: 149667

Standard delivery time for print books:

For Belgium: 5 to 8 working days

For EU: 2 to 3 weeks

For other countries: 4 to 5 weeks

Category: Asian Studies, History

Language: English

DOI: 10.11116/9789461663283

ISBN: 9789461663283

Publication date: October 12, 2022

Download Free PDF

Number of pages: 296

Number of illustrations: 250

Illustrations and other content description:
Full colour

Funded by: KU Leuven Fund for Fair Open Access


Companion to the exhibition “Japan’s Book Donation to the University of Louvain”, KU Leuven University Library, 28 October 2022 – 15 January 2023

With more than 3,000 titles in almost 14,000 volumes, the 1920s Japanese book donation to the University of Leuven/Louvain constitutes an invaluable time capsule of Japan’s pre-modern culture in all its diversity and richness. A century on, the time is right to take a new look at its contents, as well as its history and the political, social and cultural context surrounding the donation. To commemorate its centenary, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven) and the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain) have joined forces to set up a special exhibition under the title “Japan’s Book Donation to the University of Louvain. Japanese Cultural Identity and Modernity in the 1920s” (October 2022–January 2023), at the University Library of KU Leuven.

The present book has been compiled for the occasion of the exhibition, to serve as a durable guide to the magnificent book donation and its historical background, and as a reference for further research in the future. In five essays by historians of politics, media, culture, and arts of Japan, it offers a richly illustrated overview of the history of the donation and its wider historical context, providing illuminating insights into the vibrant 1920s in Japan, its politics, society, and popular culture. The reader is further invited to explore a sample of 65 remarkable and rare items from the donation, which were carefully selected for inclusion in the exhibition and are provided here with a detailed description. Moreover, the reader is introduced to 41 representative items, including visually captivating commercial and political posters related to Japan’s modernity in the 1920s, which represent mass culture, progress, and tensions, and highlight both imperial ambitions and a willingness to contribute to international cooperation.

Errata : In the printed book, there is an error in the source citations at the top right from p. 254 to p. 271. This has been corrected in the Open Access ebook that can be accessed and downloaded here.

KU Leuven and UCLouvain’s Co-operation Strengthened by Japan — Luc Sels & Vincent Blondel
Message by the Ambassador of Japan to Belgium — Shimokawa Makita
Introduction — Jan Schmidt, Willy Vande Walle, Eline Mennens
The First World War as the Precondition to the Japanese Donation to the University of Louvain — Jan Schmidt

An Empire of the Mid-Tier: The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the New Mass Public-Focused Diplomacy of the Early Twentieth Century — Lieven Sommen

The Japanese Book Donation to the University of Louvain — Willy Vande Walle
Selected Books from the 1920s Japanese Donation — Willy Vande Walle
Japanese Art in Belgium in the 1920s: Hidden Treasures and Public Celebrations — Freya Terryn
Japan’s Sonic Modernity: Popular Music and Culture in the 1920s — Aurel Baele
Selected Objects from 1920s Japan: Modernity in Popular Culture, Media, Society and Politics as Background to the Donation — Jan Schmidt
Notes About the Editors and Authors Bibliography Acknowledgements Classification List of Selected Books List of Selected Objects List of Background Explanations Alphabetical List of Selected Books Alphabetical List of Selected Objects Colophon

Jan Schmidt

Jan Schmidt is a historian of modern and contemporary Japan at KU Leuven, focusing on political and media history, and Head of the Japanese Studies Research Group.

Willy Vande Walle

Willy Vande Walle is professor emeritus of Japanese Studies at KU Leuven.

Eline Mennens

Eline Mennens, holder of an MA in Japanese Studies (modern history of Japan), was a research assistant in the Japanese Studies Research Group at KU Leuven, specially assigned to the preparation of the exhibition.

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