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Japanese Collection

Date range: 17th-19th centuries

Medium: Printed/Manuscript

Number of items: 230 items

The collection of Japanese books and manuscripts, assembled by the 25th Earl of Crawford in the 1860s and ’70s, was purchased by Enriqueta Rylands for the John Rylands Library in 1901. It is not large by international standards, but it contains a number of manuscripts and printed books of great interest and rarity.

Many of the books derived from the collections of some of the most famous Japanologists of the 19th century, including Pierre Léopold van Alstein, Frederick Victor Dickins and Philipp Franz von Siebold. A few can be traced back to the collection of Isaac Titsingh (1744–1812), who lived in Japan in the 18th century and who is considered by many to be the founder of modern Japanese studies.

The collection includes 22 manuscripts, as well as over 200 printed books. They mostly date from the 18th and 19th centuries and include works on history, biography, poetry, drama, anthropology and topography, with dictionaries, directories of samurai, encyclopedias and maps, in Japanese, Dutch and English. There are four volumes of annotated drawings of plants and insects.

Further information:

Published catalogue, P.F. Kornicki, 'The Japanese Collection in the Bibliotheca Lindesiana', Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, vol. 75, no. 2 (1993), pp. 209-300.


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