Reconstruction of the Holdings of the former Japan Institute Berlin (1926 – 1945)

Project Outline

The Japan Institute Berlin (active 1926 – 1945, finally dissolved in 1966) was the first institute of its kind dedicated to promote a thorough understanding of Japan not only among academic specialists, but also among the general public. The institute’s library consisting of manuscripts, valuable books and journals in Japanese as well as Western publications on Japan became a major tool to achieve this goal. In World War II the institute’s holdings were scattered and major parts are deemed to be lost.

The Department of Japanese History of Ruhr University Bochum is host to the complete library holdings of the former Japan Institute that survived World War II. According to a preliminary survey this amounts to approximately 4.300 items, a large part of the original collection.

A generous grant of Toshiba International Foundation (TIFU) has enabled us to start the present project. The project will focus on thoroughly cataloging these holdings. Thereby for the first time a reliable register of the remaining items of the original holdings will be achieved. In a parallel step research will be undertaken in archives known to preserve documents of the Japan Institute’s activities in an attempt to fill the lacunae regarding the institute’s holdings. The information of all these sources will be merged in a database. Thereby qualitative and quantitative data on the holdings of the Japan Institute, formerly one of the foremost European places for studies on Japan will be available for future research on the nature of the promotion of knowledge about Japan in the first half of the 20th century.

The project is managed by Stefan Köck.