Koide Izumi Chronicles Heroine of Professional Japanese Librarianship

On July 23, NCC Japan, The North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources published “Specialist Spotlight: Izumi Koide” recognizing the work of Koide-san, who is known for her long tenure as librarian at the International House of Japan and her involvement with librarianship development. In 2008, she contributed an article about pioneering Japanese librarian Fukuda Naomi to the SWET Newsletter (No. 120) about Fukuda. Her research on Fukuda developed into a Ph.D. dissertation completed in 2020. Koide’s dissertation has now been published in book form as Nichibei kōryūshi no naka no Fukuda Naomi (Naomi Fukuda and the History of Japan–U.S. Exchange; Bensei Shuppan, 2022). The University of Tokyo awarded Koide the 2nd UTokyo Jiritsu Award for Early Career Academics in 2021. Summaries of the book in English and Japanese are available at the UTokyo BiblioPlaza site.

A substantial part of the findings of Koide’s research is presented in an English article published in 2013 in the journal of the Institute of Asian Cultural Studies. It chronicles the path of Fukuda’s path to education in professional librarianship, her accumulation of experience in leading libraries, her role a librarian at the International House of Japan Library, and her behind-the-scenes contributions to fostering professional librarianship in Japan in the postwar period (“Catalyst for the Professionalization of Librarianship in Postwar Japan: Naomi Fukuda and the United States Field Seminar of 1959,” Asian Cultural Studies 31 (March 2013).

Koide’s IACS article ends by saying “[Fukuda] was able to work effectively with major U.S. organizations such as the Rockefeller Foundation and the American Library Association, forging a network of contacts and collaborations that would internationalize practice at Japanese libraries. At the same time, Fukuda was also able to work smoothly with her own librarian colleagues in leading them through a phase of radical change that has substantially contributed to the Japanese library as it exists today.”

Koide-san has long been devoted to the same tradition of professional librarianship as Fukuda Naomi, working behind the scenes not only as a professional librarian and archivist but in research to chronicle the history of an often-inconspicuous profession that undergirds the advancement of culture around the world.


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