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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Asian Rare Book Collection: Collection Overview

886+ vols. The Asian Collection consists of material dating from the 14th to the 20th centuries.

Japanese Maps at RBML

Shiogama Matsushima no Zu 


Sakuma, Yoken 佐久間容軒

1728 享保13

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Collection Overview


The Asian Collection consists of material dating from the 14th to the 20th centuries. The great majority of items are Japanese books printed between the 17th and 19th centuries, but there is also a small number of Chinese books, as well as three Burmese Kammavaca (Buddhist prayer books); besides books, several maps and scrolls are present.  A large portion of the Asian Collection came from the library of Joseph K. Yamagiwa (1906-1968), a leading scholar and professor of Japanese at the University of Michigan. Professor Yamagiwa's collection, purchased in 1969, contained 1800 volumes, divided between the Asian Library and the Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

The Asian Collection can be accessed through a card catalog in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. There are online catalog records available for many volumes.

Information on this guide

This guide was created to help users find items in Asian Collections housed in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library.  Each tab is organized by subject.  Some of the subject categories have been divided into topics within each tab.  Each box contains information about an item in the collection.  Information included in each box is organized as follows:

Title: Romanized Title | Title in Japanese/Chinese.

Author: Romanized author name | Author name in Japanese/Chinese.  (Person responsible for illustration is expressed by "illus." or ”画” following the person's name.)

Published: Romanized place of publicatio| Place of publication in Japanese/Chinese | Publisher | Year of publication (Gregorian Calendar, Japanese Era/nengo)

Call Number: You will need this number to request a book in the library.

Subject: This is to give you a general idea of theme of the book.

Note: Many items contain a handwritten note by Prof. Yamagiwa on a separate sheet attached to the enclosure; if so, these will be noted here.

Yamagiwa CollectionIndicates that the Item is from Yamagiwa Collection.

Biography of Joseph K. Yamagiwa

Yamagiwa, Joseph Koshimi, (1906-1968)

Joseph K. Yamagiwa, Professor of Japanese at the University of Michigan, was a leading scholar in the field of Japanese language and literature. Professor Yamagiwa authored and edited many works in the field of Japanese language and literature.  He served as head of the Department of Far Eastern Languages and Literature of the University of Michigan as nearly twenty years.  During World War II, Professor Yamagiwa served the Army by holding various positions related to Japanese Language programs.    Majority of his book collection consisted of items on Japanese language, literature, and history. He was especially interested in seventeenth century editions of classical Japanese literature and contemporary editions of eighteenth and nineteenth century literary works.

Subject Guide

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Rare Book and Manuscript Library
346 Library
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Subjects: Rare Books

Finding Aid

This finding aid was created by Makiko Ishizawa.