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Japan/Okinawa Studies: Joint Events 2013: Welcome by University Librarian

The University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) and the National Museum of Japanese History (Rekihaku) held a series of joint events, Parades and Processions of Edo Japan, from February 6-11, 2013.

Wecome Remarks by the Interim University Librarian

geary welcoming Gregg Geary welcomed all the guests to the events.

ALOHA!  I am Gregg Geary, Interim University Librarian, and it is my distinct pleasure to welcome each of you to the Picturing the Ryukyus Exhibit. The University of Hawaii at Manoa Library is one of the proud sponsors of this exhibit and I am pleased that you could attend today’s event.

I don’t know about you but I love a parade! As a musician, I have been involved in parades and processions for various occasions for years. From ancient times people around the globe have chosen to line up in columns to commemorate life’s events in solemn or festive processions depending on the occasion. Despite the differences of race or clan, parades represent one of those mystic chords that bind people across time and space. The scrolls exhibit on display, and the panel discussion today, will help you understand more about a very special type of procession that played an important role in the life of the people of Okinawa and Japan. This history is brought to life through beautiful, handmade scrolls that capture the pomp and pageantry of parades long before photographs, video cameras, and phone apps could record these events. Despite the ravages of time these scrolls have kept the procession passing in review and thanks to the careful preservation efforts of archivists and librarians who maintain these treasures we can rest assured that, no matter the weather, it will not “rain on our parade” here today!

The original idea of this joint event was conceived a year ago thanks to the National Museum of Japanese History, or Rekihaku, asking us to borrow our 1671 scroll for their exhibit last Fall.  I thank Dr. Ohkubo and other members of the Rekihaku for their work on this endeavor. This initial idea developed into a chain of wonderful events that, thanks to the support from the local, national, and international community, resulted in the exhibit you will experience today.

I am always gratified when scholars and researchers use our collections for that is our Library’s mission. We do not hold these treasures to keep them secret. We want them shared and accessible to as many people as possible in as many ways as possible.  In fact, next month I am having a meeting with small gathering  of deans and faculty members to brainstorm ways to expand on this concept in a program at I am calling “Connecting Collections to Curriculum.” The vision of this project is the do some of what we are doing here today, to bring attention to our rare and unique holdings and stimulate interest in further scholarship and research. We want our collections to drive the research process by igniting students’ imagination and curiosity. So as you view these precious and beautiful scrolls I want you to think about the role they played in the culture of the Ryukyu people and ask yourself; what can we learn from these scrolls about the costumes, politics, and life of the people they represent? What further knowledge can be created from our deeper understanding of these marvelous creations?

I thank all the wonderful sponsors listed in your program and flyer who have made this event possible. I also want to recognize Tokiko Bazzel for her tireless efforts and imagination that helped drive this event forward. Mahalo!