Uehiro Research Division of Historical Materials Study Introduction

The Uehiro Research Division of Historical Materials Study is an Endowed Research Division established on April 1st, 2012 by the Center for Northeast Asian Studies, Tohoku University with a donation from The Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education. Utilizing the knowledge and skills we have honed regarding historical research, we have developed various projects centered on the preservation of historical materials, participation with local communities, and academic research.

Main Investigation and Research Project

Activities in the Preservation of Historic Materials

We engage in activities to preserve materials such as historical documents. In particular, we preserve all literature materials such as letters and documents from the Edo period that came from old houses in the area, and photographs, newspapers, and magazines that have increased since the 20th century, and analyze their written contents. The results have been publicized in history lectures, research symposiums, and publications of research papers and reports.

Photographing Classical Documents

Historical Materials Seminar

We hold courses in Classical Documents and symposiums for students and members of society who are interested in historical materials. In the Classical Documents course, we train students to acquire the skills to decipher materials from the Edo period written in kuzushiji, and more deeply understand their content and Edo history and culture. At the symposium, staff from the research division and external specialists are invited to convey the importance of historical research in the region. Using historical materials, we aim to share information with many people, and invigorate academic fields in the humanities.

Achievements to date: Classical Documents Course

  • For students: Tohoku University Summer Classical Documents Course, Kawakita Classical Document Study Group.
  • For adults: Northeast Asia Research Center Spring Classical Documents Course, Autumn Classical Document History Course, meeting to read Iwadeyama Classical Documents, Shiroishi Classical Documents Circle, and many like the Katahira Classical Document Society
  • Overseas Kuzushiji Workshop: University of Chicago (USA); Heidelberg University, Free University of Berlin, Goethe University (Germany)
    URL https://lucian.uchicago.edu/blogs/kuzushiji/

Tohoku University Spring Classical Documents Course (2019)

Proactive Use of Historical Materials

We promote activities to carefully preserve historical materials by bringing in expert researchers, students, and the public to historical materials conservation activities and seminars on historical materials. To do so, it is necessary to explain why historical materials are important. The most important aspects when it comes to getting people interested are “revealing the truth of history” and “learning from the lessons of history.” However, instead of just “preserving material because it is old,” we should work with the attitude that “we learn a lot from today’s valuable material.”

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