Library

17 November 2017

Slip back in time to Edo culture in Japan

Are you a student of Japanese culture and history? Subject Librarian Ayako Hatta introduces us to books held at Monash  describing and illustrating life in 17th century Japan.



 (1) Ichinichi Edojin ; 一日江戸人
The book “Ichinichi Edojin 一日江戸人” is an introduction to the lifestyle in 17th century Edo江戸, Japan. It looks back to a time of over 400 years ago. Edo as it was then known, is now known as the capital city, Tokyo東京.

The Edo period during 1603-1868 was led by the shogun Tokugawa Family and was often known to be a peaceful and happy time within the country that lasted over 260 years. One of the foreign policies that the Tokugawa Family implemented was known as “closed-door policy” (sakoku = 鎖国) that restricts any information coming inside Japan such as Christianity, immigration, trading and communicating with the outside world. A very unique culture such as kabuki (dance-drama = 歌舞伎) with fashion & designs, ukiyo-e (picture of the floating world= 浮世絵) & shunga (erotic art = 春画) had flourished and became very popular during this period.

The population was already reaching up to 1 million people in the late Edo period. This was a larger population compared to London or Paris during the same time. Among the residents in Edo, half of the population was made up of samurai (= 侍) and monks (sō = 僧). The remainder of the population were the town people (chōmin = 町民). Up to sixty percent of the town people originally came from the country side and were skilful craftspeople (shokunin = 職人) or merchants (shōnin = 商人). Only five percent of these people were known as “the real locals” (Edokko = 江戸っ子). 

Edokkogo etoki jiten ; 江戸っ子語絵解き辞典
(2) Edokkogo etoki jiten ; 江戸っ子語絵解き辞典

In Edo the majority of the population were renters and eighty percent of the Edokko people lived in dwellings called (“nagaya = 長屋”). The nagaya dwellings were made up of many small rooms that contained a kitchenette inside and there would also be a shared well and toilet outside. There were public baths located nearby which the Edokko people would use at least twice a day. Generally speaking Japanese people love to take baths and this is especially the case with the Edokko people.

On the front cover of “Ichinichi Edojin” there is a picture of how people would dress and travel in the Edo period. When travelling, walking was the main form of transport. To travel outside of Edo you would need to obtain a “travel ticket” (ōrai kitte = 往来切手) from the master of the area or from a temple, and also a “certificate” (tegata = 手形) from the magistrate’s office. This was a form of identification telling people which family you were born to, and a guarantee of identity. It would also contain other details such as religion, arrangements to be made in the event of death and a statement that the traveller was not Christian. This was because during this period Christianity was prohibited by law.

This has been a brief overview of life in Edo as there are many more examples of the people of Edo`s day to day existence contained within the book.

(3) Sugiura Hinako no Edojuku ; 杉浦日向子の江戸塾



The author of “Ichinichi Edojin”, Hinako Sugiura was one of Japan's notable manga artists and a researcher. She has published many scholarly yet highly accessible resource materials specialising in the Edo period, ideal for anyone interested in learning more about the cultural history of Japan.

For more information about the Edo culture, use the Library Advanced Search and type in “edo period” in the subject field from the Monash University Library homepage.

All books illustrated are located in the Japanese Collection located on the first floor of the Matheson Library in the Asian Collections.

Call numbers:
(1) JAP 952.025 S947.I 2005 
(2) JAP 952.025 S252E 2010
(3)  JAP 952.025 S947S 2006





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13 November 2017

Celebrating the discovery of evolution

Associate Professor Martin Burd, from the Monash School of Biological  Science, has written this article for our blog celebrating the anniversary of the publication of the seminal book,  Origin of Species.



Sexual selection of birds was further
 examined in Darwin's, Descent of Man
This November marks the 158th anniversary of the publication of the first edition of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species. Monash University holds a copy of the first edition volume in its Rare Books Collection, a true treasure from the history of human thought. This book stands with a handful of other great scientific works like Galileo’s Starry Messenger or Newton’s Principia Mathematica as a marker of our collective effort to understand nature.

The Origin of Species famously proposed that the diversity of species we observe in the world has been derived from ancestral species, now extinct, that differed from current forms of life. This idea of the “mutability” of species had been brewing among naturalists in Europe for decades at the time Darwin published his book. He turned the somewhat ill-defined notion of mutability into a science by proposing how it could happen through natural selection, a mechanism that would act automatically as a consequence of simple and observable features of nature. A century and a half of research since publication of the Origin has abundantly confirmed its central claims. The force of natural selection on populations has been observed and measured often, and even the natural formation of new species in historical times has been documented (it doesn’t always take millions of years!). Darwin’s ideas still form a core to evolutionary biology, but, following the blossoming of genetics in the 20th century, and the revolution provided by molecular genetics in this century, we are now aware of a richness and complexity to evolution far beyond what Darwin could have known.

Biologists still read Origin of Species, but the book’s influence has extended well beyond biology and even well beyond science. Its most important consequence has been on our conception of our own place in nature. Although Darwin gave only the slimmest allusion to humankind in the book, the implication that we had an origin like that of other species, proceeding from natural causes as a part of nature, was immediately apparent to readers in 1859, and to readers since. This has not been a comfortable thought for everyone. With our civilisation now facing challenges from climate disruption, it might prove to be a thought we need to embrace all the more.

You can see Darwin’s privileged education and social origins in his command of the language in Origin of Species: it’s a good book, easily read and elegant in a Victorian way. For anyone who wants to be acquainted with the ideas of the past that have shaped our world today, it is worth dipping into, or reading entirely.



Associate Professor Martin Burd completed his PhD at Princeton University. His main area of research focus is cvolutionary ecology. As an Evolutionary Ecologist, Martin investigates life-history evolution, behaviour, and reproduction in a variety of plants and animals. 


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2 November 2017

The latest experiments and procedures demonstrated on video

You can see biological and medical procedures being demonstrated while reading about the experiments, says subject librarian Jennifer Kain.


Lab researchers and students, did you know you can access online visual demonstrations of procedures and protocols?

One database available is the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE). JoVE is a peer-reviewed journal that combines high-quality video demonstrations of experiments with a detailed text protocol, allowing scientists, educators and students to see the intricate details of cutting-edge experiments rather than just reading them in text articles.

The Library currently provides access to the following: 
These journals are peer-reviewed, indexed in PubMed, Web of Science, and collectively present the work of more than 16000 authors, many from world-leading laboratories. 

Click on the links above to review the JoVE contents, or contact your Subject Librarian with any enquiries.  



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23 October 2017

Matheson Library extended hours during exams

Burning the midnight oil as you prepare for exams? Get more study done, with late night opening at Matheson Library. But remember to balance your study time with ample sleep and exercise!


From 23rd October to 16th November, the Matheson Library at Clayton campus offers extended exam study time.

Matheson is open till 2am (Monday-Thursday) while Fridays and weekends operate on normal hours. There is security and a security bus in operation until 2.30am on the days the Library is operating on extended hours.

Caulfield Library is open until midnight Monday-Friday and 10am-9pm on weekends.

Both libraries have been recently refurbished and offer excellent amenities for students as they prepare for exams, such as bookable study rooms for group work or quiet areas for individual study.

Group study areas are also equipped with AV facilities. Find out more here.

Should you need sustenance or caffeine, both Matheson and Caulfield libraries have a cafe within the building. Please check the opening hours for Flipside and Swifts.

More information on the opening hours for all libraries can be found here.

Check out great tips for exam preparation and how to succeed on exam day from expert Library staff.



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Remembering the Reformation

Five hundred years ago, on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted the 95 theses to a church door in Wittenberg. This month we celebrate or remember that event as a starting point of the German Reformation and as a key event in the Reformation across Europe. Stephen Herrin (Rare Books Librarian), writes about this important movement in European history.

The Reformation was a religious movement that profoundly changed the face of Europe and established a religious alternative to the dominant Catholicism that had been in place for centuries. The widespread cultural change brought on by the Reformation affected not only the spirituality and devotional practices of Europe's inhabitants but also reverberated into the fields of politics, music, art and architecture.

The most iconic figure of the Reformation was Martin Luther, a German priest and scholar. Through his studies in theology and history at the University of Wittenberg, he formed ideas that gradually brought his beliefs into conflict with the established Church. One of Luther's key criticisms of the Vatican was the sale of indulgences, a document which could be purchased to ensure the forgiveness of sins. The proceeds, which were used to rebuild St.Peter's Basilica, in Rome prompted Luther to write in Thesis 86: "Why does not the pope, whose wealth is today greater than wealth of the richest Crassus, build this one basilica of St. Peter with his own money rather than with the money of poor believers?" Read the entire 95 theses in English here


The Reformation and Print Culture 

The Reformation's great success was due in part to the new technology of printing. The printed word was not only important to Luther's development as a thinker but to the Reformation as a movement. The development of the printing press allowed for the rapid dissemination of reformers' ideas in the form of pamphlets and printed books.

A central tenet of the Reformation was the individual study of the Bible rather than reliance on the Church for guidance. This was achieved by translating the Bible into the languages spoken by lay people. Once again, printing was a key means of distributing these new vernacular translations of the Bible to a wider audience. 


The Geneva Bible at Monash

Monash's Special Collections includes a 16th-century copy of the Geneva Bible, one of the early translations of the Bible into English. The Geneva Bible was unique in that it contained illustrations, summaries of the books of the Bible, as well as cross-references and explanatory notes. All these features indicate that it was designed to function as a text for individual study. The Geneva Bible at Monash is heavily annotated, signifying that its owner or successive owners considered this Bible to be a personal possession as well as a tool for study.



Reformation items at Monash Rare Books

The Rare Books Collection aims to collect and make available the history of ideas through print. We hold many representations of the writers Luther would have consulted. The holdings are especially strong in primary source material relating to the Reformation in Great Britain, mainly involving the later developments regarding the Restoration and the Popish Plot.

For more information on Reformation related items in Monash's Special Collections, please contact us at rbinfo@monash.edu.




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