Reverence and Pleasure: Highlights of the Shōbundo Nōsatsu Collection

An Exhibit in Knight Library, Fall 2018 and Winter 2019

A condensed version of this original exhibit is on display now. The full exhibit was on display spring and summer 2018.

The University of Oregon Libraries holds the only known collection of Japanese shrine and temple votive slips (nōsatsu or senjafuda) in North America. Building on an existing strength, the collection has recently expanded with the donation of an additional 11 boxes of nōsatsu materials: the Shōbundo Collection is titled after the nōsatsu name of the donor’s father, as well as the name of his print shop. This spring-summer 2018 exhibit in Knight Library highlights the recently donated materials.

During the latter part of the Tokugawa Period (1603-1867), a craze for pasting and exchanging votive slips swept through Edo (now Tokyo). In addition to their original use in religious observance, the votive slips became objects of popular fascination, collected and traded at exchange clubs (nōsatsu-kai). With the Meiji Restoration in 1868 and the move to modernize Japan along Western models, the exchange clubs fell out of fashion and largely disappeared. In the 1890s, however, some people began to look back to the Edo period with feelings of nostalgia and a sense of loss and longing for the past. With that came a revival of the nōsatsu traditions of pasting and exchanging slips. This revival remained popular through the Meiji and Taishō eras (1868–1925).


Credits and acknowledgements
Sponsored by UO Libraries and the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies.

Curated by Akiko Walley (Maude I. Kerns Associate Professor of Japanese Art), Kevin McDowell (Japanese Studies Librarian), Kumiko McDowell (Japanese Cataloger/Metadata Technician), and Zoe Lalonde (Graduate Student in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture).

Exhibit design and production by Mandi Garcia (Graphic Designer and Exhibits Coordinator), Jason Stone (Strategic Communications and Writing Specialist), Special Collections & University Archives staff, and Digital Scholarship Services staff.

Original materials courtesy of Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries.


This event is free and open to the public. Accommodations for people with disabilities will be provided if requested in advance by calling 541-346-3056, or email