C.V. Starr East Asian Library Receives CLIR Hidden Collections Grant for Makino Mamoru Collection

Makino Japanese Postwar Film program: Joōbachi/女王蜂/Queen Bee, directed by Ichikawa Kon, 1978

The collection contains over 80,000 items chronicling the history of Japanese and East Asian film from the earliest moving pictures in Japan from the 1870s through 2006, including the unique and extensive materials of 9,500 Japanese film programs and fliers, 450 volumes of Japanese rare books from the early era of film, Japanese film periodicals both commercially published and self-published by student clubs at university campuses, and film studio archival materials.

The grant will enable the Starr Library to recruit a Japanese cataloger and an archivist to perform original cataloging and archiving of rare books, early film magazines, internal film studio documents, film programs, and ephemera, a significant portion of which are unavailable in the U.S. or Japan.  Online finding aids that include Japanese characters will be published to help scholars around the world access materials independently. 

Few actual Japanese films from prior to 1920 exist for research purposes.  Thus, movie-related print materials such as programs, fliers, company newsletters, and books are an important scholarly element to the research and teaching of early Japanese film. The Makino collection contains 9,500 printed cinema programs, the largest outside of Japan, spanning from the earliest years of Japanese film to the present.  

"For someone who sets off to explore the history of Japanese film, the Makino Collection is the really indispensable guide,” said Paul Anderer, Mack Professor of Humanities at Columbia University.  "The CLIR grant arrives at just the right time, to help us make these materials all the easier to navigate."

Cataloging the rare film book titles and film magazines will also improve access to the research materials related to the proletarian film movement (Prokino), amateur film magazines, and print materials published by cinema clubs in various university campuses. The collection contains the only original copy of an 1880 Japanese book on magic lantern slides and the first Japanese translation in 1891 of the book “Modern Magic” by Louis Hoffman.

“This grant will certainly further our outreach efforts to expand access to the collection in the same vein as our 2011 international symposium ‘The Makino Collection at Columbia’,” said Jim Cheng, Director of the C.V. Starr East Asian Library. “Our goal is to continue to increase awareness of and access to the unique materials from the Makino Collection for scholars around the world.”

The C.V. Starr East Asian Library is one of the major collections for the study of East Asia in the United States, with over 1 million volumes of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tibetan, and Western language materials, as well as some holdings in Mongol and Manchu, over 8,500 periodical titles, 4.5 million e-books, and many archival and special collections. The collection, established in 1902, is particularly strong in Chinese history, literature, and social sciences; Japanese literature, history, and religion, particularly Buddhism; and Korean history. For more information, please visit:https://library.columbia.edu/libraries/eastasian.html

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 13 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff and hosts over 4.7 million visitors each year.  The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.