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Cutting Edge Prints

The College Women's Association of Japan (CWAJ) was founded on a mantra of fellowship and the sharing of knowledge and creative ideas — much like the Library of Congress. In 1949, shortly after World War II, alumnae clubs from Mount Holyoke College and Wellesley College joined forces to provide travel grants for Japanese students who had scholarships to United States universities but couldn't afford the travel costs due to the country's impoverished economy. Within a year from their initial efforts, the group expanded to include all U.S. college alumnae in Tokyo.

'PJ's Dream' by Yuji Hiratsuka. 2004 'Peony and Canary' by Katsushika Hokusai. 1825

Over the course of the next several decades, Japan's economic conditions improved and the prospect of study abroad continued to attract increasing numbers of young Japanese students. Membership grew too, as an increasing number of foreign businesses established themselves in Japan and eligibility was extended to alumnae from universities through all of Japan and the rest of the world. Orientation courses and scholarships were developed to encourage Japanese students to study abroad and non-Japanese students to study in Japan.

Based in Tokyo, membership has grown to some 600 women from more than 30 countries. The association hosts many educational activities on topics like art, ceramics, cross-cultural discussion, French conversation, music, hiking, Japanese conversation, reading and travel. These programs and their scholarships are funded by donations and the internationally renowned annual CWAJ Print Show, an exhibition and sale of Japanese prints.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the CWAJ Print Show and the donation of the show's prints to the Library's collections, the online exhibition "On the Cutting Edge: Contemporary Japanese Prints" features some 200 works by long-established artists such as Toko Shinoda, Reika Iwami, Fumio Kitaoka, Clifton Karhu, Daniel Kelly and Joel Stewart. The prints, dating primarily from 2003 to 2005, encompass a rich diversity of styles, printmaking techniques and subject matter.

Similarly, the Library's exhibit "The Floating World of Ukiyo-e: Shadows, Dreams and Substance," which made its debut at the Library in 2001, showcases its holdings of Japanese "Ukiyo-e" (translated as pictures of the floating, or sorrowful, world) — a movement that developed in the city of Edo (now Tokyo) during the 17th century.

For a complete list of online exhibitions, make sure to visit the Exhibitions homepage.

A. "PJ's Dream" by Yuji Hiratsuka. 2004. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Information: Not available for reproduction.

B. "Peony and Canary" by Katsushika Hokusai. 1825. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Information: Reproduction Nos.: LC-DIG-jpd-01590 (digital file from original print), LC-USZC4-8531 (color film copy transparency); Call No.: FP 2 - JPD, no. 1445 (B size) [P&P]