Last year, Japanese student Ayako Kobayashi was studying Italian Renaissance Art at the University of Edinburgh. She loved European art so much, that she had decided to quit her job to study in the UK. Edinburgh was an ideal place for her to both study art history and enjoy student life and she soon fell in love with the beautiful city.
For one part of her course, she had the chance to have an internship but she worried about her English skills and whether she could fulfil her work responsibilities in a foreign environment. (On returning to Japan, she’s since noticed that she is sometimes viewed as a foreigner in her own country!)
The Central Library offered her the chance to research a particularly prized item in their Special Collections – an old album, filled with Japanese postcards printed almost 100 years ago.
She did not imagine that she would see such an old Japanese thing in Edinburgh. It aroused her curiosity because the album was full of mysteries. For example, it was believed that it belonged to the Henry Dyer Collection, but there nothing to suggest why this assumption had been made. Ayako enlisted the help of many people to help her catalogue the album and find out the true owner.
You can see the results of her research in an exhibition on Capital Collections. Ayako has chosen beautiful postcards so that viewer can enjoy seeing Japan like a traveller 100 years ago.
Ayako would like to thank Dr. Claudia Hopkins, Hil Wiliamson, Brenda Woods, Clare Padgett and Dr. Rosina Buckland and staff of the Art Library who gave her the chance to research the album. She is also grateful to Professor Hiromich Hosoma, Kjeld Duits, Izumi Ito and Professor Kaoru Kojima who advised her about old Japanese postcards. She would also like to extend her thanks to Professor Masami Kita and Robin Hunter who helped her research Henry Dyer and his children.