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NCC News: News

Specialist Spotlight: Mitsutaka Nakamura

by Paula Curtis on 2022-03-18T10:39:35-04:00 | Comments

This year we are periodically shining a spotlight on the librarians and information specialists of NCC who are often behind the scenes working to support students, faculty, and staff. Whether you’re in the classroom to learn or teach or are conducting research near or far, these hardworking individuals make Japanese Studies possible.

This week we showcase Mitsutaka Nakamura, the Japanese and Korean Studies Librarian at Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to becoming a librarian, he obtained a BA in political science from Waseda University (1996), a certificate in Film, TV, Video, & New Media from University of California, Los Angeles (2002), and then a Master’s in Library and Information Science from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2019). Between his early studies and his decision to pursue librarianship, Nakamura worked for various film and media companies, including NHK, giving him a unique perspective on the connection between multimedia resources and research needs. Nakamura was previously the bibliographic assistant for Columbia University's C.V. Starr East Asian Library, before he moved to Washington University in 2019.

His previous experience interviewing George Takei led to an Outreach event at Ladue School District in St. Louis to read Takei’s recent graphic novel and discuss its historical and contemporary meanings, including current activities in the Asian Awareness movement. For this event, Nakamura organized a panel cohort of WashU faculty and students to provide relevant information to its community members.

Most recently, Nakamura has launched a Japanese Book Club in cooperation with the Japan Foundation, which supported the Club shortly after its inauguration in summer of 2020. The group just wrapped up an Open Discussion with novelist Mori Eto 森絵都. Nakamura launched this virtual J-Book Club through the WashU East Asian Library for students to pursue their interests in reading Japanese authors in their original language. Meeting monthly, this gathering allows them to explore recent publications throughout the pandemic, maintaining a fun and supportive environment to learn and exchange ideas while each of them cannot meet in person. J-Book Club has invited other steller guests as well, such as, Ono Miyuki 小野美由紀, Wada Ayaka 和田彩花, and Murata Sayaka 村田沙耶香. Nakamura ( can be contacted for any inquiries.


(left) 700 vols of Iwanami Bunko; A dream comes true for all intellectuals in Japan in 20th century.
(right) Russian & German classics followed by a series of “Arabian Nights.”

Besides an upcoming little exhibition of Chiura Obata, a Japanese Artist who survived incarceration during WWII, one of Nakamura’s latest projects is “Unhidden Iwanami Bunko Collections” (tentative title), a body of texts published in the 1960s that consist of almost 700 global classics from philosophy and literature to the social sciences. Unfortunately, none of these titles have been input into the WashU catalog yet. Currently working with a student assistant, Nakamura is exploring potential collaborative and automated solutions to ensure access to these important library materials. As a part of NCC, he has collaborated with our Digital Resource Committee (DRC), using his skills to help scholars everywhere navigate access to databases, digital and multimedia materials, and more.

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