Message from the President
The Kumamoto University Eisei Bunko Research Center as a Facility for Joint Academic Research
Shinji Harada, President
The Eisei Bunko Research Center began in April 2009 as the Faculty of Letters Eisei Bunko Research Center in response to numerous academic requests from throughout Japan and the world for Kumamoto University to provide scholars with access to the massive collection of Eisei Bunko Hosokawa Clan materials entrusted to it.
Since its creation, the center has operated through an endowment provided by the Eisei Bunko Permanent Exhibition Promotion Fund, a fund established by the Kumamoto Prefectural Office and supported by the generous donations of Higo Bank, the Kumamoto Broadcast Culture Promotion Foundation, and patrons throughout Kumamoto. The center has worked hard to extensively catalog the Eisei Bunko collection and publish important items contained therein.
As a result of these efforts, the center published the first volume of the Eisei Bunko Library, medieval Hosokawa Clan Literature, in May 2010, and a total of five volumes of collected documents in the subsequent five year period through 2014. The results of this research have led Eisei Bunko to become increasingly widely known, and 266 of its documents were designated as Important Cultural Properties in June 2013. Finally, in December 2015, the center achieved the objective set when it was established: completion of an approximately 60,000-item "Grand Catalogue" of Eisei Bunko documents.
Kumamoto University curates and manages research of a collection of over 100,000 historical materials from the Edo Period that have been passed down by the Hosokawa Clan, the daimyo family of the Kumamoto Domain, and the Matsui Clan, the Hosokawa clan's chief retainers, among others.
Kumamoto University holds the distinction of being the only regional University to hold such an extensive, well-preserved, and actively-maintained collection of historical materials
As of this academic year, the center has broken away from the Faculty of Letters, secured a larger research endowment, and hired additional staff in order to improve its research capabilities and take its next great leap forward. The new Kumamoto University Eisei Bunko Research Center is poised to take advantage of its rare resources and privileged position by becoming a focal point for research in the humanities and social sciences at the University, and by furthering its contributions to the vitality and growth of the community of Kumamoto.
From here on out, we will strive to promote joint-University and international research efforts into the modern history of Japan, and to share the fruits of this research with Kumamoto itself, furthering this center's contributions to cultural appreciation, historical preservation, and the overall prosperity of this great land.
It is the earnest intention of Kumamoto University as a whole to do everything in its power to support the Eisei Bunko Research Center as part of our efforts to achieve these lofty goals. Therefore, I would like to ask for all members of the university staff and community to put forth their utmost effort in assisting and encouraging this new phase in the center's operation.