Special Collections

Some of the Tateuchi East Asia Library's valuable, unique, and rare collections are detailed below. For access information, see Using Tateuchi Library Special Collections.


Mu yu shu (木魚書)
The Chinese collection has 373 volumes of mu yu shu—or "wooden-fish books", written manuscripts of Cantonese mu yu songs (木魚歌)—dating from the Qing Dynasty to the 1960s, with an especially strong collection of dragon-boat songs (longzhou ge, 龍舟歌).

Wu Xianzi Papers
Wu Xianzi (伍憲子, 1881-1959) was a journalist and a follower of Kang Youwei (康有爲, 1858-1927). He was actively involved in major political groups in China and overseas Chinese during the late Qing to the Republican era. UW Libraries acquired this collection from Hong Kong in 1977.

Joseph Rock Collection
Joseph Francis Charles Rock (1884-1962), an Austrian American explorer, travelled to Southwest China from 1920s to 1940s. The University of Washington Libraries acquired more than 300 titles of his personal collection of Chinese Southwest region gazetteers in the 1950s.

Hellmut Wilhelm Collection
Professor Hellmut Wilhelm (衛德明, 1905-1990), was an internationally acclaimed scholar of Chinese history, literature, and thought, who taught at the University of Washington from 1948 to 1971. Wilhelm sold his personal collection of more than 1300 Chinese titles to the UW Libraries in 1957. His books date from the middle of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) to the early Republican era (1912-1949) with subjects covering Chinese history, literature, and religion.

G. William Skinner Map Collection
G. William Skinner (1925-2008) was recognized as the dean of Sinological anthropology in the West, and a major theorist of family systems and of spatial social science. He was a pioneer in applying spatial analysis techniques to the study of agrarian societies, China, Japan, and France in particular. Upon his death in 2008 he left a collection of over 700 maps created by him and his associates at his Spatial Systems Laboratory at the University of California, Davis, as well as over 450 rare maps from other sources. The original maps are now part of the UW Libraries Map Collection, and digital versions of these maps are available at the link above.

Taiwan National Central Library Rare Books Access System (國家圖書館古籍影響檢索系統)
This digitization project, a collaboration between National Central Library and UW Libraries, was completed in December 2012. A total of 382 titles, 3483 volumes, and 236,377 images were scanned and made available at the website of National Central Library in Taiwan (NCL). Records of over 610 of Tateuchi East Asia Library's ancient and rare Chinese books are available in the Rare Book Image Search System.

For more information on our Chinese Special Collections, see here.


Paine Collection
EAL holds an outstanding collection of Japanese art books dating from the 1850's through the early 1930's purchased from the estate of Robert Treat Paine.

Bukan Collection

Bukan (武鑑) is a registry of Japanese feudal lords published during the Tokugawa period [1603-1868]. The UW Tateuchi East Asia Library has almost a hundred titles of Bukan, including both the oldest Bukan Gomonzukushi (御紋尽) and the latest Okuniwake bukan (御国分武鑑). Our collection of Bukan is one of the largest in North America and adding more as we find and acquire more unique volumes in the market.

Edward M. Burke Collection
Collection of materials relating to the pre-war Japanese community in Seattle donated to the library by Edward and Elizabeth Burke.

Henry S. Tatsumi Collection
Books on Japanese language, literature, history, and culture from the personal library of Professor Henry S. Tatsumi who taught Japanese at the university for over thirty years.

Shoyu Club Collection (社団法人 尚友倶楽部コレクション)
Special gift collection by the Shoyu Club on the political history of the Japanese House of Lords. Historical features include documents on the Russo-Japanese War and resources on the modernization of the financial system during the Meiji era. Highlights consist of memoirs by the individual members of the House of Lords and modern laws governing the Constitutional process of Japan.

Yanagisawa Buddhist Art Collection

Collection acquired by Ms. Taka Yanagisawa on Buddhist art.

UW Alumni Japan Collection
Books donated by UW alumni.

For more information on our Japanese Special Collections, see here.


Manhwa: Korean Graphic Novels
UW Libraries have recently received over 15,000 volumes of Korean graphic novels. We are currently processing these materials but you can still search and borrow some titles from this unique collection. Search the online library catalog for keywords 'Korea graphic novels' and narrow down to Korean language. A database of cover images (under development) is also available.

Liberation Space Collection (Korean Literature from 1945-1950)
A collection of Korean e-books from the time period of 1945-1950. Print copies are housed in Tateuchi East Asia Library Special Collections.

James B. Palais Collection
James Palais was a professor of Korean history at the University of Washington for 33 years (1968-2001), and was one of the most important founders of the Korean Studies field in the United States.  The University of Washington Libraries received his personal collection of over 10,000 volumes. The collection is housed in Special Collections in the Suzzallo Library.

James Palais' English Translation of Pangye Surok
Never having been published during his lifetime, UW Prof. Palais' nearly 2,000 page original manuscript English translation of Pangye Surok, the selected works of Yu Hyongwon, was recently discovered during a review of the Palais’ faculty papers in the UW Libraries Special Collection. Digitization of the original manuscripts was made possible by the Friends of the UW Libraries Award.

For more information on our Korean Special Collections, see here.