Visit Hornbake Library and explore three exhibit cases inside the Maryland Room which showcase the publishing career of Japanese publisher Takejiro Hasegawa.
Hasegawa used national exhibitions and world’s fairs to promote his publications. He began his career during the Meiji period beginning in 1868 when Japan rapidly industrialized & adopted Western ideas & practices. He ran a thriving business importing products from the West including books. By 1884, he decided to become a publisher, focusing on educational books written by Westerners living in Japan.
Hasegawa published a series of Japanese folktales in English, French, German and other European languages and in the Western manner reading from left to right with attractive illustrations. Initially he published these folktales to help Japanese learn Western languages and was later motivated to sell books in Western markets. Hasegawa used national exhibitions and world’s fairs to promote his publications. Included in the exhibition are images from the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago where Japan spent lavishly to showcase itself with a Japanese temple, tea garden, and exhibits. One of every six Americans visited the Chicago exposition to see the 65,000 exhibits spread across 633 acres of fairgrounds.
Several of Hasegawa’s publications are on view in the exhibit cases and you can read the full text of the fairy tale Momotaro displayed on the adjacent iPad. The world’s fair publications are from the University Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives collections and Hasegawa’s fairy tale books are on loan from John Schalow, former UMD Libraries Special Collections cataloguer who curated this exhibit.