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Asia-Pacific in Cross-Cultural Perspective

This research guide includes resources for the students in the course Asia-Pacific in Cross-Cultural Perspective (01:098:345) with Professor Haruko Wakabayashi (Spring 2022).

Asia - U.S. Encounters

The American Expedition, under Commodore Perry Landing in Japan, July 14, 1853.

The arrival of the Westerners captivated the Japanese public and many Japanese artists captured their images. Visit the Chadbourne Collection of Japanese Prints at the Library of Congress, a collection that testifies to Japanese interest in Western dress, manners, and technology, emphasizing foreigners in Japan as well as imagined scenes in places outside Japan.

Visualizing Cultures (M.I.T.) website introduces rich visual materials on Japan, 1850s-1930s.

Rutgers Zimmerli Art Museum  includes print collection by Japanese artists. Go to Asian Art > Prints and check the "image available" box. 

Rutgers Special Collections & University Archives: Foreign Countries and International Relations Subject Guide - Asia lists relevant collections and finding aids. Examples; William Elliot Griffis Collection and Michi Nakao Collection. 

Digital Museum of the History of Japanese in NY documents significant moments in Japanese history in New York since 1860 to present. It was inaugurated in 2021.

Early Diplomacy & Encounters

History of Iwakura Mission from Japan Reference. The section "Related links" includes resources on Iwakura mission in Britain, Scandinavia and other resources.

The Iwakura Mission: Japan’s 1871 Voyage to Discover the Western World is an essay by Izumi Saburo.

Tsuda Umeko & Oyama Sutematsu, Japanese Women in Iwakura Mission, who Received American Education

Rutgers and Japan

Rutgers was one of the first American colleges to host Japanese overseas students. Sending students abroad was a strategy used by Japanese leaders of the Meiji government to modernize the country. Most of these students came for a short stay, but Kusakabe Taro, a young samurai from now Fukui Prefecture, finished his degree with great distinction. Sadly he passed away shortly before graduation. Later, William Elliot Griffis (RC 1865) was invited to teach English and Science in Fukui. Griffis's papers and archives from his time in Japan and the resources documenting the Japanese students who studied at Rutgers constitute the William E. Griffis Collection at Rutgers University Libraries. Some of the digitized photographs of the Japanese students are are available here and included in the New Jersey Digital Highway.

See the section "Japan Through the Western Eyes" in the Area Studies: Japan Database [Rutgers restricted] for additional resources from the  William Elliot Griffis Collection.

Image of Kusakabe Taro. He is buried in the Japanese Section of the Willow Grove Cemetery in New Brunswick, NJ.

Rutgers Meets Japan: Revisiting Early U.S.-Japan Encounters is a site that archives the works of students enrolled in the course Interdisciplinary Honors Seminar in Spring 2020. It includes essays by Japanese overseas students, maps, photos of influential individuals, and much more.

U.S. - Japan Relations

Takamine Jokichi, a Pioneer of American Biotechnology

Takamine Jokichi (1854-19220) a pioneer of American biotechnology, isolated adrenaline hormone more than a century ago. A resident of New York City in later years, he was involved in the establishment of Nippon Club in Manhattan. Read the essay Adrenaline and Cheery Trees by Joan W. Bennet, Professor of Plant Biology at Rutgers University to learn about his accomplishments.

 The Jokichi Takamine Website includes extensive list of document on Dr. Takamine. The links Documentation and Takamanga introduce different aspects and manga of the successful scientist and entrepreneur. Resources listed are in English, French and Japanese languages.

 More information on Takamine (timeline, photos, and annotated bibliography) is available in Jokichi Takamine (1854-1922) and Caroline Hitch Takamine (1866-1954): Biography and Bibliography


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