Kazuko Hioki was selected for the Florence Tan Moeson fellowship at the Asian Division of the Library of Congress. The fellowship provides funding to travel to the Library of Congress and also provides unlimited access to the pre-Meiji collection in the Asian Division which will enable Kazuko to continue her research on the Edo period books in the LC collection.
Her initial research began in 2003 and led to her publication in the Journal of the Institute of Conservation. Edo period (1603-1868) texts were almost exclusively produced by wood-block printing, on Japanese paper, and bound in side-stitched bindings with paper covers. The physical characteristics of an Edo book reflect its development, readership, and content, and it informs us about the society and culture.
The pre-Meiji collection of the Library of Congress holds over 4,800 titles of rare Japanese books from the Edo period, which is one of the most extensive of its kind in the world outside Japan. The collection includes broad subject matters from literature and history to science and rare military texts. The size and diversity of the collection will enable Kazuko to record an invaluable range of the books’ physical traits. In addition, since this collection is in better condition than those heavily handled in Japan, surviving examples of some delicate cover decorations can only be found in the Library of Congress’ pre-Meiji collection.
Congratulations, Kazuko, and enjoy your research!
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