Since the museum acquired the Richard Lane Collection in 2003, it has become a hotspot for scholars to explore. Comprised of artwork and books, the collection continues to attract researchers who make discoveries. Most recently it was used as a teaching tool. Friday, February 17, the National Institute of Japanese Literature (NIJL) gave a workshop on books from the Lane collection for graduate students from the University of Hawai‘i’s Japanese art history and Japanese literature programs.
Organized by UH, the workshop was part of the NIJL’s “Project to Build an International Collaborative Research Network for Pre-modern Japanese Texts,” an effort aimed at globalizing research of pre-modern Japanese texts, especially for those who may not have any knowledge of the Japanese language.
The seven-hour workshop, held in the museum’s education lecture hall, featured seven NIJL professors and assistant professors who covered different aspects of the Lane Collection. “Even living in Japan, you would have to travel all over the country just to find a few examples of this work,” said associate professor Atsushi Iriguchi about the 17th-century book Ozaka Monogatari. “But you come out to Hawai‘i, the middle of the Pacific, and you can find 20 examples of it all in one place!”
“These kinds of events are beneficial for everybody involved,” says Robert F. Lange Foundation Japanese art research assistant Kiyoe Minami. “Scholars who visit the Lane Collection are always discovering ‘gems.’ For example, one scholar found the oldest known edition of Hachikazuki (an Edo period woodblock-printed book) on this visit. Discoveries like this will lead to academic articles being written about the collection, which will help promote how valuable it is. For the students, it’s a great opportunity to engage with the museum and participate in an academic workshop, which are not as common in Hawai‘i as on the mainland.”
“The cataloging of the Lane Collection is not completed yet,” says Minami. “The collection is so large we’re going to continue to need the help of scholars from around the world to research it.”
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