National Library of China to create database of Japan’s historic investigations of China

Source:People.cn Published: 2016/11/17 9:28:54

On Nov. 15, the National Library of China announced plans to establish a database of investigation records that Japanese residents of China compiled in the early 20th century. The publication of the collection of East Asia Tongwen College marks the start of the database, which will grow to include journals and reports.

Founded by Japan in the city of Shanghai, East Asia Tongwen College, which now is Aichi University in Japan, used to allow its students to conduct investigations in China, to provide references for the Japanese government. These investigations guided Japan's policies toward China from 1901 to 1945.

Around 3,000 Japanese students divided into almost 700 groups participated in the investigations, comprehensively recording details of China's politics, economy, social life, culture and customs, offering significant insights into the late Qing Dynasty (1901-1912) and the Republic of China (1912-1949).

Fang Zijin, proprietor of the National Library Press, said that the National Library possesses around 2,000 volumes of investigation archives recorded between 1927 and 1943, while Aichi University has 650 volumes from between 1916 and 1935. The massive collection is currently very inconvenient for those looking to search and utilize the records. The National Library therefore plans to reorganize and photocopy the reference materials.

Han Yongjin, director of the National Library, said that the library will continue to sort and digitalize historical materials related to Japan's investigation of China. Meanwhile, the library will join with other institutions worldwide to facilitate information collection and share database access.

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