Trivial Objects from Taishō Japan in the Collection of Alma M. Karlin
Keywords:trivial objects, Alma M. Karlin, Taishō Japan, collecting, souvenir
Alma M. Karlin, a young woman adventurer who made her journey around the world between 1919 and 1927, stayed in Japan for a little more than a year. As a young woman without significant funds, she relied on her own ability to earn a living during her stay in the country. Among the items she brought back from Japan to Slovenia there are many small objects which are not typical “exotic objects from the Far East”. They are rather small and trivial items such as a wall calendar, a streetcar ticket, children’s miniature toys, a part of ceremonial wrappings, and paper bookmarks. This paper focuses on the small and untypical items Karlin brought back from Japan. Karlin’s travelogue and other writings, including her notes on the unused postcards, give us some information about her life in Japan. Together with her travelogue, notes and messages on the objects in her legacy, we can reconstruct some aspects of her everyday life in Japan. Though small and trivial, such items collected by Karlin reveal some important details of her experience in the central part of Tokyo in the Taishō period.
Alsop, Joseph. 1982. The Rare Art Traditions: A History of Collecting and Its Linked Phenomena. New York: Harper 8c Row.
Aristides, N. 1988. “Calm and Uncollected.” American Scholar 57 (3): 327–36.
Belk, Russell. 2006. “Collectors and Collecting.” In Handbook of Material Culture, edited by Christopher Tilly et al., 534–45. London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi: SAGE Publications.
Berdajs, Tina. 2019. “Researching the Origins of an Ink Stone from the Collection of Alma M. Karlin.” Asian Studies 7 (2): 269–83. https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2019.7.2.269-283.
Digital Dai-ji-sen Plus. 2019a. キューピー (Kewpie). Accessed January 31, 2021. https://japanknowledge-com.nukweb.nuk.uni-lj.si/lib/en/display/?lid=5091000733440.
——. 2019b. キユーピー (Kewpie). Accessed January 31, 2021. https://japanknowledge-com.nukweb.nuk.uni-lj.si/lib/en/display/?lid=5091000733450.
Hendry, Joy. 1993. Wrapping Culture: Politeness, Presentation and Power in Japan and Other Societies. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Karlin, Alma. 1969. Samotno potovanje. Ljubljana: Mladinska knjiga.
——. 1997. Popotne skice. Kmečki glas: Ljubljana.
——. 2006. Samotno potovanje v daljne dežele: tragedija ženske. Celje: Mohorjeva družba.
Ōgi no Shiba, Minamoto Yorimasa shūen no chi 扇の芝・源頼政終焉の地 (The Lawn in a Fan Form, The place Yorimasa ended his Life). Accessed February 1, 2021. https://www.yoritomo-japan.com/nara-kyoto/byodoin/byodoin-ouginosiba.html.
Pearce, Susan M. 1994. “The Urge to Collect.” In Interpreting Objects and Collections, edited by Susan M. Pearce, 157–59. London, New York: Routledge.
Potts, Rolf. 2018. Souvenir. New York, London: Bloomsbury.
Satō, Kenji. 2002. “Postcards in Japan: A Historical Sociology of a Forgotten Culture.” In International Journal of Japanese Sociology 11: 35–55.
Shigemori, Chikako. 2016. “Surovenia kyōwakoku hokan no ehagaki korekushon スロヴェニア共和国保管の絵葉書コレクション (Picture Postcard Collections in the Republic of Slovenia).” In Nihon teikoku no hyōshō :seisei, kioku, keishō 日本帝国の表象 生成・記憶・継承 (Representation of the Japanese Empire: Formation, Memories and Inheritance), edited by Mijeoung Park, and Rei Hasegava, 219–44. Tokyo: Enishi Shobô.
––––. 2019. “Alma M. Karlin’s Visits to Temples and Shrines in Japan.” Poligrafi: revija za religiologijo, mitologijo in filozofijo 24 (93/94): 3–48.
——. 2020a. “Alma Karlin in Korea: Observation of the Land and its People by an Adventurer from Slovenia.” In Koreans and Central Europeans, vol. 3, Informal Contacts up to 1950, edited by Andreas Schirmer, 207–22. Vienna: Praesens Verlag.
——. 2020b. “Spominki in spomini na bojevnike – primer kozuke.” Ars & humanitas: revija za umetnost in humanistiko 14 (2): 87–101.
Shogakukan Random House Japanese-English Dictionary. 2020. “Kewpie.” Accessed January 31, 2021. https://japanknowledge-com.nukweb.nuk.uni-lj.si/lib/en/display/?lid=40010RH094212000.
Soto Zen/Buttokuzan. KOSHOJI. Kōshōji, Sōtōshū 興正寺、曹洞宗. Accessed February 1, 2021. https://www.uji-koushouji.jp/sightseeing.html.
Stanonik, Janez. 1983. “Alma Maximiliana Karlin.” In Australian Papers, edited by Mirko Jurak, 41–48. Ljubljana: Faculty of Arts.
Trnovec, Barbara. 2011. Kolumbova hči: življenje in delo Alme M. Karlin. Celje: Pokrajinski muzej Celje.
——. 2020. “Kaj vse bom na poti odkrila, kaj prinesla s seboj!: potovanje in zbirka Alme M. Karlin (What I Will Discover along the Way, What I Will Bring with Me!: Journey and the Collection of Alma M. Karlin).” Ars & Humanitas 14 (2): 61–71.
Trnovec, Barbara et al. 2019. Azija me je povsem uročila: katalog občasne razstave ob 130. obletnici rojstva Alme M. Karlin in 100. obletnici njenega odhoda na pot okrog sveta (Asia Utterly Bewitched Me: Catalogue of the Temporary Exhibition Marking the 130th Anniversary of Alma M. Karlin’s Birth and the Centenary of her Departure on her Journey around the World). Celje: Pokrajinski muzej; Ljubljana: Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete.
Utagawa, Kuniteru 歌川国輝. n.d. “Ishokujū no uchi kashoku osana etoki no zu「衣喰住之内家職幼絵解之図」(Illustrations of Clothing, Food and Homes for Children: House-Building Workers).” In Dai-go ueki-ya, sakan 「第五 植木屋・左官」(No. 5: Gardners and Plasterers). National Institutes for the Humanities. Accessed January 31, 2021. https://ja.ukiyo-e.org/image/metro/086-006-23.
Veselič, Maja. 2021. “Collecting Heads: Taiwanese Indigenous People, the Japanese Colonial Photographs and the Postcard Collection of Alma M. Karlin.” Forthcoming.
Yamaji, Katsuhiko 山路勝彦. 2009/2010. “日英博覧会と「人間動物園」Nichi-ei hakurankai to ‘ningen dōbutsuen’ (The Japan-British Exhibition and the Idea of ‘Human zoos’).” Journal of the School of Sociology 108: 1–27. Kwansei Gakuin University Repository. http://hdl.handle.net/10236/3255.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2021 Chikako SHIGEMORI BUČAR
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors are confirming that they are the authors of the submitting article, which will be published (print and online) in journal Asian Studies by Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani (University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Aškerčeva 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia). Author’s name will be evident in the article in journal. All decisions regarding layout and distribution of the work are in hands of the publisher.
- Authors guarantee that the work is their own original creation and does not infringe any statutory or common-law copyright or any proprietary right of any third party. In case of claims by third parties, authors commit their self to defend the interests of the publisher, and shall cover any potential costs.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.