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National Diet Library Newsletter

No. 199, April 2015

International Symposium: Past and Present of Japanese-French Exchanges - from the Collection of National Diet Library and Bibliothèque nationale de France

This article is based on the articles in Japanese in NDL Monthly Bulletin No. 647 (February 2015).
Some linked pages in this article are displayed in French.

On December 11, 2014, the National Diet Library (NDL) held an international symposium supported by the French Embassy in Tokyo "Past and Present of Japanese-French Exchanges - from the Collection of National Diet Library and Bibliothèque nationale de France (National Library of France or BnF)" in the Tokyo Main Library, inviting from the BnF the specialist in Japanese materials Ms. Véronique BÉRANGER.

This was an event commemorating the opening of the joint digital exhibition featuring Japan-France relations under the framework of a cooperation agreement between the NDL and the BnF concluded in March 2013. It was a great pleasure to hold such a symposium at the end of the 90th anniversary of Japan-France cultural exchange and cooperation which began with the establishment of the Maison franco-japonaise, which has played the main role in developing the cultural and academic friendship between the two countries.

Remarks by Mr. Noritada OTAKI, Librarian of the NDL, and by Mr. Paul-Bertrand BARETS, Minister Counsellor, French Embassy in Tokyo, opened the symposium which then proceeded according to the program below;

<<Table: Program>>

Presentation 1:
The Creation of French Image in Japan - from the Digital Exhibition "Modern Japan and France - adoration, encounter and interaction" by Mr. Yukihide WATANABE, Library Counsellor of the Reader Services and Collections Department, NDL

Presentation 2:
The Aspect of Acceptance of Japanese Culture in France - from the French-Japan Digital Portal Project at the Bibliothèque nationale de France by Ms. Véronique BÉRANGER, Conservator of Japanese collections, Service of Oriental collections, Department of Manuscripts, Division of Collections, BnF

Short Speech
Japan's Modernization and French Influence by Prof. Nobutaka MIURA, Chuo University

Panel Discussion including a Q&A session:
Various Aspects of Japanese-French Exchanges - Focus on Modern System, Industrial Technology, Art and Culture coordinated by Prof. Miura, with panelists: Ms. Béranger; Prof. Christophe MARQUET, Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales (National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations or INALCO); Emer. Prof. Akira NISHIBORI, Yokohama National University; and Mr. Watanabe

At the beginning, Mr. Watanabe and Ms. Béranger introduced the joint digital exhibition of both sides, "Modern Japan and France - adoration, encounter and interaction" (NDL) and "France-Japan, an encounter, 1850-1914" (BnF) (see the column). Ms. Béranger, who participated as a scientific coordinator in the project in the BnF, emphasized that it provided an occasion for proceeding with cataloguing and digitizing the good number of materials related to Japan in the BnF, although many still remain to be organized.

<<Ms. Béranger>>

After the above presentations and a short speech by Prof. Miura about French influence on the modernization of Japan, a panel discussion was conducted by the four panelists (Ms. Béranger, Prof. Marquet, Emer. Prof. Nishibori and Mr. Watanabe) with facilitation by Prof. Miura. In the discussion, each panelist briefly talked about the Japan-France relations from various aspects such as technology transfer from France to Japan in the Meiji period and research activities in France for Japanese rare and old materials. In the consecutive Q&A session, panelists answered questions from the audience.

<<From the left: Prof. Miura, Emer. Prof. Nishibori, Prof. Marquet, Ms. Béranger and Mr. Watanabe>>

On the same day, in the foyer of the venue, the "Small Exhibition of materials related to the history of Japan-France cultural relations - from the collection of the NDL and Institut français du Japon-Kansai/Kyoto" was held with 28 precious items including works signed and dedicated by illustrious French writers including Émile Zola and Paul Claudel. This exhibition gave audience a good opportunity to appreciate physical materials together with the digitized images.

<<Small Exhibition>>

<<Exhibited material signed by Paul Claudel from the collection of Institut français du Japon–Kansai/Kyoto>>

We would like to express deep gratitude to the French Embassy in Japan/Institut français du Japon, the Maison franco-japonaise, the Bureau français de la Maison franco-japonaise, the BnF and all of the people involved, and sincerely hope that the joint digital exhibition will contribute to the further expanding and deepening of the Japan-France cultural exchanges in the future.

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"Modern Japan and France -adoration, encounter and interaction" (NDL)

The NDL started the project in June 2013 by selecting items related to the topic. It was a challenge, because a digital exhibition of the NDL is usually planed based on its unique collection.
It consists of two parts and four chapters focusing on politics & law, industry, literature and arts with nearly 200 items. The topics beyond the four areas such as Japan-France relations in the Edo period and military modernization are covered in the "Prelude." You will also enjoy articles featuring adoration of the French lifestyle and subculture. The NDL sought professional advice from Prof. Miura on structures and selection of items.
Reference, Chronology and Index of persons will help you look for materials on the Japan-France relations. In particular, the Index of persons covers all of the nearly 500 people who appeared in the exhibition. The digital exhibition is available in Japanese, French and English.

<<a top page of the "Modern Japan and France - adoration, encounter and interaction" of the NDL>>

"France-Japan, an encounter, 1850-1914" (BnF)

The BnF has built a large scale oriental collection since the 18th century and has been a major hub for oriental studies. For example, l'Ecole des langues orientales, one of the precursors of the INALCO, was established within its premises in 1795. This was where Léon de Rosny, the founder of Japanese studies in France, launched into his lecture on the Japanese language in 1863. The "France-Japan, an encounter, 1850-1914" aims for a portal site to its magnificent collection related to Japan including manuscripts, publications, old pictures, block prints, etc for a long period from The Travels of Marco Polo to The Book of Tea by OKAKURA Tenshin. Japanese version is also partly available.

<<a top page of the "France-Japan, an encounter, 1850-1914" of the BnF>>

Materials from the symposium are available on the NDL website (in Japanese).

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