Researching Japanese Urban Development at the Yale Library

April 7, 2016

An exhibit in Sterling Memorial Library this semester is highlighting the research of four exceptional Yale students, including that of John D’Amico (Pierson College ‘16), who explores how the construction of canals in Japan impacted the development of towns. His project incorporates information from a variety of resources available through the Yale Library, including the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the East Asia Library, and various newspaper databases. 

Haruko Nakamura, the Librarian for Japanese Studies, guided D’Amico as he navigated Yale’s extensive resources and collections. As an East Asian Studies major, D’Amico had interacted with Nakamura on several occasions throughout his time at Yale. When brainstorming ideas for his senior project, he approached Nakamura for suggestions. He was interested in researching the Dotonbori canal and its impact on Osaka, and Nakamura suggested that he study historic maps of the region to better understand how the region transformed from the 17th century to the present. D’Amico’s research project eventually came to focus on one major merchant family, and he used their documents, maps, and other visual resources to trace the development of the Osaka region’s social and political life. 

Coincidentally, one of the books important to D’Amico’s research was actually donated by Othniel Charles Marsh, the focus of another student project highlighted in the Exhibits Corridor. Marsh, a professor of paleontology, had an interest in East Asian culture, and donated a number of resources to the Yale Library. Research at Yale can often provide fascinating, unexpected links to the university’s unique and diverse history. Visit the Sterling Memorial Library Exhibits Corridor to view the Student Research Exhibit, on display through April 30.