|The Australia-Japan Research Project (AJRP) is a new program at the Australian War Memorial (AWM), funded by the Japanese government from 1996 as part of the Peace, Friendship and Exchange Initiative (1994) of the former Japanese Prime Minister, Murayama Tomiichi. |
After some preparatory work, a team of two to three senior research officers and a manager commenced working on the project from February 1997. To facilitate planning of the database, a symposium was held in late March 1997, drawing on experts from both Australia and Japan. Papers presented at the symposium in 1997 can be found in the Journal of the Australian War Memorial, no. 30 (April 1997), which can be accessed electronically via the AWM homepage.
Where is it?
The project is housed in the Historical Research Section (HRS) at the AWM and its virtual site can be found on the World Wide Web via the AWM homepage.
What has it been doing?
The primary activity of the AJRP has been the establishment of a database of historical materials concerning the Australia-Japan relationship from 1901 to 1957, especially those that focus on the wartime relationship. The database is accessible via the Internet. Information on archival materials is gradually being added to the database as discrete subsets (modules). The modules currently being developed are private records held at the AWM, and captured Japanese documents (AWM 82). The latter collection of documents constitutes the only original Japanese documents requisitioned by ATIS (Allied Translator and Interpreter Section) known to be remaining in the world. The documents can be divided into two categories: ATIS documents, and documents from Japanese soldiers who surrendered to the Australian Forces at Rabaul after the war.
We hope to add details of other historical records to the database in future. The Japan expertise of AJRP staff has ensured that materials which are in the Japanese language, or which addresses aspects of Japan and/or its people, are rigorously identified and catalogued. Details of documents are given mainly in English on the database, with document titles and some Japanese names also provided in Japanese script.
Who has been involved?
AJRP staff have been assisted by members of the HRS, and have consulted extensively with researchers and academics (both in Australia and Japan), archivists, curators and technical staff. The AJRP has commissioned a number of essays on historical sources by leading experts and these are available via the website.
Who are the end-users?
The essays at the AJRP website and those contained in the Journal of the Australian War Memorial are aimed at a wide audience. They provide an overview of source materials and discussion of issues and the relevant historiography which students, specialists and members of the general public will find useful. The database is intended for researchers who wish to access primary source material. Access via the Internet enables anyone throughout the world to obtain details of archival materials which are available at various repositories.