Chikako Shigemori Bučar
University of Ljubljana. Chair of Japanese Studies

Objects and Ideas from Japan: Through the Research on East Asian Collections in Slovenia

The Department of Asian Studies at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, under the leadership of Dr. Vampelj Suhadolnik (Chinese Studies and Art History specialist) started with the project “East Asian Collections in Slovenia: Inclusion of Slovenia in the Global Exchanges of Objects and Ideas with East Asia” in July, 2018. The project team is composed of Chinese-, Japanese- and Korean-Studies specialists. In cooperation with national and regional museums and libraries of Slovenia, the project examines East Asian collections and individual materials, in order to reconstruct the intercultural connections between the Slovenian and East Asian territories.

The project has been very successful, and is further supported by the Slovenian Research Agency, thus extending the duration to September 2024, under the new title “Orphaned Objects: Examining East Asian Objects outside Organised Collecting Practices in Slovenia”.

Research on various artefacts and printed materials from Japan showed:

  • that between 1890s and 1910s, there were many Austro-Hungarian navy members of similar higher middle-class background in the Slovenian ethnic region, who experienced Japan and East Asia on their missions;
  • Later, in the Taishō period, world traveller and journalist Alma Karlin stayed in Tokyo for a year and visited many religious and touristic sites. She also had special ethnological interests in Japanese culture.
  • For the travellers with not very abundant financial means, there were certain types of “souvenirs”. Japan was also eager to reproduce such souvenirs for foreign (Western) visitors in the Meiji and Taishō periods.

The theoretical part of our project is to identify the position and role of the collectors in the Slovenian region in relation to similar collections in the surrounding countries. Findings are made public on the webpage “". Old printed books (wakosho) and many pieces of ceramics (satsuma, arita, imari etc.) also await closer analysis.




  • 1890年代〜1910年代にかけて、オーストリア・ハンガリー海軍のメンバーにスロヴェニア地域出身の中産階級の男子が多く、職務で日本や東アジアを直に経験した。
  • 大正時代後半には冒険家のカルリン女史が東京に約一年滞在し、寺社や観光地を多く訪ね、また日本文化について民俗学的興味を示した。
  • あまり裕福ではない訪問者にとって、日本からの「土産物」には一定の種類があった。日本は、特に明治・大正時代、主に西洋からの訪問者に向けての土産物を大量生産することに熱心だった。

本プロジェクトの調査結果は ウエブページ に随時公開中、また、複数のコレクションに見つかった和古書や焼き物の調査も進行中である。