Website Features UCSF Library's Japanese Woodblock Print Collection

By Lisa Mix The UCSF Library and Center for Knowledge Management has launched a new website featuring the Japanese Woodblock Print Collection. The prints provide a window into traditional Japanese attitudes toward illness, the human body, women, religion, and the West. The UCSF Japanese Woodblock Print Collection has drawn interest from scholars of Asian medicine, the history of medicine, and Japanese art, as well as current health care practitioners. Consisting of about 400 prints, it is the largest collection of woodblock prints related to health in the United States and an important component of the Library's East Asian Collection.
The prints offer a visual account of Japanese medical knowledge in the late Edo and Meiji periods. The majority of the prints date from the mid- to late-nineteenth century, when Japan was opening to the West after almost 250 years of self-imposed isolation. Visitors to the website may search for prints by keyword or artist, view prints by theme, and read essays about five themes in the collection: Contagious Disease, Drug Advertisements, Foreigners, Religion and Health, and Women's Health. Funding for the digitization of the UCSF Japanese Woodblock Print Collection was provided by the California Digital Library (CDL). Images of the prints can also be accessed through the CDL's websites Calisphere and the Online Archive of California. Lisa Mix is the manager of Archives & Special Collections at the UCSF Library and Center for Knowledge Management.