Okinawan “treasures” put on the Internet

Okinawan “treasures” put on the Internet

Okinawa Prefectural Library has established a “Digital library for valuable works.”

July 3, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

In order to make “treasures” of Okinawa more widely known to the public, the Okinawa Prefectural Library has digitalized 610 valuable works from the past such as ancient maps, documents and pictorial diagrams, all of which the library owns, and has started to put them on the Internet. Those works are collected together in a section called the “Digital library for valuable works.”
The library has digitalized these maps and documents with the aim of having them utilized for the study of local history and to help in the compilation and research of the histories of the municipalities of Okinawa, and also to prevent the source materials from becoming worn.
The library is hoping that many people will use the digitalized material, saying, “Anyone can access these valuable works related to Okinawa and utilize them anytime they like, from anywhere. We would like many people to become aware of the charm and depth of Okinawan culture.”
The digital library can be viewed on Okinawa Prefectural Library website.

Staff of the Okinawa Prefectural Library are working on digitalizing valuable documents.

Because the digital library can also be viewed using an iPad, the documents, which used to be available only to visitors to the library, can now easily be viewed and utilized.
The library is scheduled to add further 500 documents to the digital library before the end of the year. The library is also working on adding commentaries to the documents in the order that they are put up.

Among the digitalized materials there are valuable works such as an anthology written in 1649 by Nanpobunshi, a monk of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism, who was active from the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1573-1603) through to the Edo period (1603-1867), and Setsudouenyusou, written by Teijunsoku in 1714.

The library has already added commentaries to 40 documents such as the “Shuri ancient map,” “Ryukyu Dyeing” and other materials belonging to the Higashionna Kanjun Zenshu, or Collected Works of Higashionna Kanjun.
Kanjun Higashionna studied Rekidai Hoan (Precious Documents of Successive Generations), an official compilation of diplomatic documents of the royal government of the Ryukyu Kingdom. His studies of the Rekidai Hoan are included in his collected works.
Ryoko Miyagi, the head of Materials Management Division of the library, said, “Reading those commentaries will help people to learn how to appreciate the works, thereby stimulating greater interest.” The library plans to further improve its commentaries on the works.

For the official website for “Digital library for valuable works,” access

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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