David Mark Graham (1945-2012) was a Vancouver native and a double UBC alumnus (BA, BArch) with a life-long interest in Asia. At UBC, he was closely involved with projects such as the construction of the Asian Centre, the rejuvenation of the Nitobe Japanese Garden, and a proposal for a travelling exhibition of the university’s Tokugawa map collection.

The David Mark Graham Memorial Fund honours David’s memory through the purchase of print materials for UBC’s Asian Library, focusing on traditional visual and material art and architecture of Northeast Asia, particularly Japan and Korea.

The Asian Library is pleased to present the following two rare Japanese acquisitions recently made possible by the David Mark Graham Memorial Fund and the UBC Rare Books and Special Collections. We acknowledge the continued support from the Asian Studies faculty, especially Drs. J. Mostow and C. Laffin, in providing expertise in Japanese rare books. Many thanks also to the Library’s Acquisitions and Cataloguing units for their technical support and to the Digital Initiatives unit for digitizing the items and making them openly accessible in the Open Collections platform.

異國人物圖 Ikoku jinbutsuzu (Illustrations of the people of the world)

Produced in the mid-18th century, Ikoku jinbutsuzu allows us a fascinating glimpse into Japanese view of the world and its inhabitants in the Edo period (1603-1868). Pictures of people from various parts of the world, from China, to Vietnam, and to Holland, are hand-drawn and painted in vivid colours. The images were largely derived from astronomer and geographer Nishikawa Joken’s Shijūnikoku jinbutsu zusetsu (Illustrated account of the people from 42 countries, 1720), a very influential book at the time. This well-preserved manuscript is a valuable addition to the number of pre-modern Japanese works depicting and discussing the world’s peoples, including the popular Bankoku Sōzu (Map of all nations), in the UBC Library’s Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era collection.

View Ikoku jinbutsuzu at UBC Open Collections here.

奈良絵本断簡 Nara ehon dankan (Illustrated pages from a Nara ehon picture book)

Photo credit: Library Communications

Nara ehon is a type of Japanese manuscript book, containing a short story accompanied by illustrations. Nara ehon books were produced from the late Muromachi period to the early Edo period in the early 1600s, and while many were mass-produced and circulated widely among the general public, some were exquisitely painted and ornately decorated with high-quality materials and intended for high-ranking samurai and daimyō (great feudal lord) families.

Our new acquisition includes ten sheets of illustrations, hand-painted in gold, blue, green, and other bright colours, with borders in gold. According to the scholars who examined the pieces, the high quality of the paper and paint indicates that the illustrations were possibly from a picture album for the high class audience rather than a mass-produced story book.

The Library is pleased to have acquired these beautiful specimens of Nara ehon illustrations. The images are now available digitally in the UBC Open Collections not only for our faculty and students to study but also for any art and picture book enthusiasts all over the world to enjoy viewing and sharing.

View Nara ehon at UBC Open Collections here.

Originating in Southwest China, tea is now one of the most popular drinks in the world. It is served differently from country to country. Visit our latest book display and explore the Asian Library collection on tea, its origin, history and culture.

The display is located at the Asian Centre foyer and will be up until March 7.

Asian Library is pleased to announce that Tomoko Kitayama Yen has joined the Library as the new Japanese Studies Librarian.

Tomoko has almost 15 years of experience working at UBC Library as a Library Assistant in collections and technical services. Her library career started as a Japanese Cataloguer at Asian Library, and she is thrilled to return to the branch in her new role, bringing with her a passion for Japanese collections.

Tomoko has a B.A. in history from UBC and has recently completed the coursework for the Master of Library and Information Studies degree at UBC’s iSchool. She once worked for a Tokyo publishing company and taught Japanese in private language schools in Vancouver. Her career focus has been to make information resources accessible at the backend of the library operation, working on acquisitions, cataloguing and collection maintenance. Tomoko is very excited to move onto a role that allows her to work directly with faculty, students and community at the beautiful Asian Centre.

Tomoko is interested in many areas of studies, such as community-oriented librarianship, knowledge organization and classification of non-mainstream disciplines, digital scholarship, and the history of the book. Above all, Tomoko is eager to be of service to the thriving Japan studies communities on campus and beyond. Her goal is to be a facilitator and collaborator to help UBC scholars, including faculty, students and community users discover and make the most of the world’s information resources. Consider Tomoko as a member of your research and learning team. Please contact her at 604-822-0960 or tomoko.kitayama@ubc.ca to make an appointment to discuss how she can best support you.

The Library will continue to subscribe to vital electronic databases for Korean Studies thanks to a generous e-resources grant from the Korea Foundation.

The $5,000 USD grant will allow for the Library to continue to offer UBC Library users access to the following electronic databases:

DBpia (Korean Database)
This database covers over 2 million full-text articles from more than 2,000 scholarly journals covering subject areas such as Business, Economics, Humanities and Sociology, Linguistics, Education and Religions.

KISS (Koreanstudies Information Service System)
This database provides full text access from over 3,285 journal/thesis titles and access to the Choson Ilbo Archive (newspaper articles since 1920). It covers subject areas such as Korean language and literature, History, Education, Law, Medical and Engineering.

KRpia (Korean Database)
This is a full text database for Korean Studies covering history, literature, dictionaries and traditional medicines.

For more information about these databases, please contact Lucia Park, Korean Language Librarian, at lucia.park@ubc.ca.

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