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Japanese Collection - Description


The University's Japanese Studies faculty set the direction of the Japanese Collection. In the recent years, the Japanese Studies faculty at Penn has shifted from chronology-based compartmentalization to a thematic approach encompassing several historical periods, resulting in chronological integration. In addition, an interdisciplinary academic environment in which two or more distinct academic subjects are taught in combination has emerged. For example, the teaching of Japanese literature blends with women's studies; Japanese art and architecture dovetails with archaeology; and the study of Buddhism compounds holistically with cultural, philosophical, and sociological issues in terms of Japanese civilization. This interdisciplinary environment is simultaneously comparative, though the range of comparison is limited geographically to Asia: that is, the majority of Japanese Studies courses are taught in comparison with both Korean and Chinese elements. The Japanese Collection reflects the interdisciplinary and comparative nature of the academic and research direction that is prevalent today.


The first priority of the Japanese Collection is to acquire the current core materials of the highest academic quality in supported Penns academic programs with special emphasis on reference works including bibliographies and indexes as well as essential academic journals. These core materials cover the following subject areas: anthropology, archaeology, art and architecture, Buddhism, folklore, diplomatic history, economics, modern Japanese history (1868-present), literature, philosophy and religion, political science, and women's studies. The Japanese Collection also acquires works in Japanese about selected aspects of China in a carefully targeted way. For certain subject areas, a concurrent acquisition of full-fledged criticism of specific works and corresponding fully-introductory materials applies. Recommendations and requests from faculty members and students are given serious consideration. Materials bearing direct relevance to the academic programs and research receive the highest priority in purchasing. Each title must meet the following selection criteria: 1) the title is essential to the curricular mission and needs of the Japanese Studies faculty; and 2) the title contributes to current collection balance in a subject area. At present the Japanese Collection holds more than 65,000 volumes of monographs and subscribes to 179 journals. In addition to the Japanese Collection at the VanPelt Library, a number of branch libraries within the University Library system collect and maintain materials on Japan both in European and Japanese languages, most notable of which are the University Museum Library and the Fisher Fine Arts Library.


The Japanese Collection on the 5th floor of the VanPelt-Dietrich Library Center houses monographs and bound journals in Japanese. The Derk Bodde East Asian Seminar Room collects core reference works and 16 unbound core academic journals in Japanese. The Current Periodicals Section on the first floor of VanPelt maintains unbound Japanese periodicals of a general nature as well as periodicals on Japanese Studies in European languages. The University Museum Library and the Fisher Fine Arts Library hold a number of Japanese monographs in anthropology, archaeology, and art/architecture.