Wasan Materials Housed in Japan

Studies on surviving Wasan materials have progressed since the Meiji era. Wasan was widely studied all over Japan before the Meiji era, but as the focus of study shifted to the Western mathematics since then, Wasan has come to be treated as a target of historical study. Wasan materials were collected by researchers, and many of them are now owned by the Japan Academy and Tohoku University. The Wasan materials owned by the Japan Academy mainly consist of those collected by the Wasan history study project started by Kikuchi Dairoku (1855-1917). The Wasan tosho mokuroku (Wasan book catalog) edited by Okamoto Norifumi, which includes about 7,500 materials, was published by the then Imperial Academy in the seventh year of the Showa era (1932). It includes not only books but also other items such as letters, machines, instruments, and photos. Later, the Academy received Wasan materials, etc., as donations, and it published an augmented edition of the catalog under the title of Nihon gakushiin shozo Wasan shiryo mokuroku (Wasan material catalog owned by the Japan Academy) in the fourteenth year of the Heisei era (2002). The catalog includes about 9,800 materials.

Tohoku University Library also owns more than 12,000 Wasan materials. Tohoku University in the prewar period actively carried out Wasan history research, and it also owns materials, etc., collected by Kano Kokichi (1865-1942) and Okamoto Norifumi (1847-1931), in addition to those collected by the leading figures in Wasan history research, Hayashi Tsuruichi (1873-1935) and Fujiwara Matsusaburo (1881-1946) as the core of its collection. In the 31st year of the Showa Era (1956), 1,260 Wasan materials collected by Ogura Kin'nosuke (1885-1962), a disciple of Hayashi Tsuruichi, came to be in the possession of the Waseda University Library.

In addition, the Wasan materials owned by Wasan scholars in Edo are now owned by university libraries, public libraries, etc., across the country. The Kokusho somokuroku (Union catalog of national books), which is a comprehensive catalog of old Japanese books owned across the country, has the classification term the "Wasan", which includes about 9,000 items. We can now search the "Union catalogue of early Japanese books" at the National Institute of Japanese Literature for these materials.

Many of the above Wasan materials have been digitized and opened to the public (refer to "Links"). Some Wasan materials have been reproduced through photography, etc., (fukkoku versions) and through printing in type (honkoku versions). The following section "Wasan Materials Housed by the National Diet Library" describes such materials.

Top of page