Rare Books and Special Collections, and University Archives, at UBC Library are pleased to announce the launch of a newly digitized collection: “Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era”, at http://angel.library.ubc.ca/tokugawa/.

UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections holds one of the world’s largest collections of maps and guidebooks of the Japanese Edo period, also called the Tokugawa period, 1603-1867. The core of the collection was formed after World War II by George H. Beans. Over 300 maps from the collection have been digitized and are searchable and viewable online. The digitization process allows the user to see a whole map as well as offering detailed views of larger or smaller portions of the maps.

The focus of the Beans collection is on privately published and travel-related maps and guides published in Japan. There is world coverage, although the majority of maps are of the whole or parts of Japan . A number of prominent Japanese woodblock artists are represented in the collection.

The digitization of the Japanese Map Collection is a collaborative project between the UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections and the University Archives. In the first phase of the project all the single-sheet maps have been digitized. A second phase will digitize the maps in atlases. Bronwen Sprout, Digital Initiatives Librarian at the University Archives, and Katherine Kalsbeek, Reference and Maps Librarian at Rare Books and Special Collections guided the first phase of the project to completion. Special thanks to Leslie Field, Archives Assistant, who provided expert assistance and guidance with the digitizing work.

The project is funded by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, and has also received support from the Department of Asian Studies. The collection is located at: http://angel.library.ubc.ca/tokugawa/ (click on the “detailed image” link in each record to zoom in on the images). Please send comments or suggestions to: Bronwen Sprout or Katherine Kalsbeek.

For further information about viewing the collection, please contact Ralph Stanton , Rare Books and Special Collections Librarian.

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