The collection of old japanese books was donated by Japan to the Université de Louvain in the 1920's.
This donation of 3.202 titles in 13.682 volumes was probably the largest donation of japanese books to an european library before the second war. The majority of books dates from Edo period (1600-1868) and the selection included a number of precious editions and manuscripts.
Two men were responsible of the selection of books: Wada Mankichi, head librarian of Tokyo imperial University and Urushiyama Matashirô, eminent bibliographer and specialist of Japanese literature.They made a very classic selection. They wanted it to reflect “Japanese classical civilisation” in the eyes of the western public and they selected books in different categories.
Due to the support of the UCL's Cultural Development Fund, a first selection of old documents from this collection was digitized.