What is “U-PARL”?
The Uehiro Project for the Asian Research Library (U-PARL) of the University of Tokyo
Library System is a research project division that was established through an
endowment by the Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education in April 2014.
Since April 2019, U-PARL has been proactively promoting efforts to fulfill its
mission in the following four directions:
(1) Creating a Hub for Cooperative Research in Asian Studies(→ List of projects
(2) Breaking New Ground in the Study of Research Library Functions;
(3) Cultivating Human Resources and Contributing to Society;
(4) Supporting Development of the Asian Research Library.
A Collaborative Effort of Library Science and Asian Studies
U-PARL is the University of Tokyo’s first research project division attached to the
Tokyo University Library System. The University of Tokyo Library System consists of
approximately 30 libraries. The largest of them is the General Library. So far,
unlike the specialized libraries belonging to various academic departments that have
been developing their collections in close connection with the research activities
of the respective department, the General Library, having an extremely extensive
purpose of supporting academic activities throughout the whole range of studies at
the University, has not maintained such close relations with individual researchers.
However, with establishment of the Asian
, the formation of stronger and deeper connections between
the General Library and the University’s educational and research functions becomes
a most pressing task. Thus, one of the initiatives we have been engaged in to
implement that task was the establishment of U-PARL.
Currently, U-PARL staff includes concurrent professors from the Graduate School of
Humanities and Sociology, the Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, the Graduate
Schools for Law and Politics, the Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences,
and the Graduate School of Engineering, project associate professor, project
assistant professor, five project research fellows, two project specialists, and
three assistant clerks (see the STAFF
page for more information). Reflecting the founding principle of the Asian Research
Library, U-PARL brings together researchers from diverse disciplines specializing in
various geographic areas and historical periods. Being dedicated to the whole Asian
continent, the new library will become the first initiative of its kind in Japan
among university libraries other than those attached to specialized research
institutions. The new library will incorporate materials on an extremely wide
variety of geographic regions and historical epochs interlinked by the concept of
“Asia” offering a space where different disciplines will intersect and exchange
ideas. U-PARL has just taken the first step in the realization of this vision.
The central role in creating and maintaining the library rests, ultimately, in the
hands of the library professionals. Even to catalog a single book and make it
available for reference requires a tremendous amount of knowledge and work. U-PARL
will actively participate in establishing and administering the Asian Research
Library together with the librarians with the aim of—through promoting more
effective use of the research resources in its collection—integrating and
implementing the collaborative effort of library science and Asian studies. U-PARL
hopes to create a unique academic hub of a new type that combines the functions of a
library and a research facility in Asian studies.
About the U-PARL Logo :
Searching for the “shape” of Asia—The Mango, magatama
The idea behind our logo is “the fruits of Asia.” The deeply flavored date; the peach
or “fruit of the immortal realm” from Chinese mythology; the pomegranate and melon
coming across the silk road—many images of fruit run through the history of Asian
cultures. Among these, the mango, beloved throughout Asia, and the paisley design,
beloved the world over, come first to our mind.
The paisley design, whose name comes from the Scottish town where it was widely
produced, is generally thought to have developed out of a mango design taken from
Indian cashmere shawls. However, its origin goes even deeper and wider afield, to
the Iranian floral design known as boteh jegheh
even further west with motifs connected to the Cyprus, the Palm, and to the “tree of
life.” Moreover, this shape can be found in common with symbols from the East—the
(curved jewel) and tomoe-mon
(a swirling traditional Japanese design) as
well as the yin-yang
symbol. Truly, this shape has a certain je ne sais quoi
—an indescribable but beguiling mystery
about it. It is this form and this idea together we thought would make a symbol to
match an ever-transforming “Asia”.
At the same time, this shape contains within it our objectives for this project. The
sweetness of the mango—one of the elements of our motif—has been made known
throughout the world, just as the paisley design has become universal. Following in
their tracks, U-PARL hopes to build a library for Asian Studies that connects
knowledge from Asia to the world over.
Leaflet 2020 – 2022