Purpose and Overview of Research

Research Topic A) Study of the Siebold Family Collection and Other Materials Collected in Japan and Taken Overseas in the Nineteenth Century


There are many large collections of Japan-related materials that were collected and taken overseas in the 19th century. The "historical artifacts" in these collections are believed to have underlying qualities that make them "baseline" artifacts. Unfortunately, they cannot be used for research purposes because information on them is lacking. To understand Japanese culture comprehensively and further strengthen research on Japanese culture, it is vital that open access to information on baseline historical materials that are in hard-to-access overseas locations be made publicly available, but a platform for doing so must also be built.

The philosophy underlying this project is to provide a platform by which the domestic and foreign research community can "share" information on historical materials, be they "documents" or "artifacts," as widely as possible with future generations. To make effective use of essential large-scale collections of Japan-related materials overseas, this project conducts long-term organized study of these collections with the goal of developing and deploying methods of open access to the survey data and research findings.

Specifically, the project's priority research topics are the following.


A. Reconstruction-oriented Survey and Research of "Baseline" Artifacts in the Siebold Family and Related Collections


1) 19th century (first half): Collections of Jan Cock Blomhoff, Johannes Frederik van Overmeer Fisscher, and Philipp Franz von Siebold (first trip to Japan)

2) 19th century (second half): Collections of Philipp Franz von Siebold (second trip to Japan) and his descendants (Alexander and Heinrich)


B. Survey and Research of the Use of Overseas Japan-related Materials as "Shared Resources"


1) Books, maps, paintings and other materials housed at the Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde (National Museum of Ethnology) in Leiden

2) General survey and cataloging of Japan-related materials in North America and Europe