Japan-related antique materials in Venice

The database uploaded on this page is part of the research outcomes of the Ph.D. project titled Self through the Other. Production, circulation and reception in Europe of written sources on Japan in the "Christian century". The project, completed in 2013 by Dr. Sonia Favi, was promoted by the Department of Asian and North African Studies and was awarded an entrance scholarship by the European Social Fund (ESF). It involved extended bibliographical and textual research on Japanese and Japan-related antique books produced and/or circulated in Italy before the “opening” of Japan in the second half of the Nineteenth century and resulted, among other outcomes, in the book titled Self through the Other. Production, circulation and reception in Italy of sixteenth-century printed sources on Japan. (Venezia: Edizioni Ca’ Foscari, in print).

The database, as part of the project, was specifically aimed at the revaluation of the Japan-related or Japanese documental (historical and literary) materials held by the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana of Venice. These include many valuable and rare documents, whose accessibility is limited by the fact that they don’t belong to a single collection. The database collects all documents of interest in the same electronic archive and includes, for each book, a bibliographic description and a content description. With the exception of some modern reproductions of works of limited accessibility, the books are all dated before 1851 and they fall into three main chronological groups: works dated from the mid-Sixteenth century to the first half of the Seventeenth century and generally related to the Christian missions in Japan; works dated from the second half of the Seventeenth century to the end of the Eighteenth century, mostly connected with the Dutch presence in the island of Dejima; and works from the first half of the Nineteenth century, reflecting a more general renaissance in the interest towards Japan, that would lead to the birth of modern Japanology in the second half of the century.