Development of the Database

The purpose of the database is to provide information and images of the 14,643 records in the Marega Collection stored in the Vatican Library.

The database was developed through the activities of the Marega Project, implemented under an agreement between the National Institutes for the Humanities in Japan and the Vatican Library. The basic data draws on information generated through various activities, including a general survey of the documents, restoration work, photography, general descriptions of each preservation bag, catalog descriptions, and structural analysis. These activities have centered on two joint research projects on overseas materials related to Japan conducted by the National Institutes for the Humanities, titled “Comprehensive Research on Historical Materials Collected by Fr. Mario Marega Held by Vatican Library” (principal investigator: Kazuo Ōtomo, AY 2013–2015) and “Research, Conservation, and Utilization of the Marega Collection Preserved in the Vatican Library” (principal investigator: Kazuo Ōtomo & Naohiro Ōta, AY 2016–2021). These projects were implemented in collaboration with the Salesian University, Ōita Prefecture Board of Education (Ancient Sages Historical Archives), Usuki City, and the Italian School of East Asian Studies and in conjunction with other joint research, including joint research projects by the Historiographical Institute of The University of Tokyo: “Historiographical Research on Documents Concerning the Persecution of the Christians of Bungo, Kyushu, and their Original Sources” (principal investigator: Yōko Matsui, AY 2014–2015) and “Comprehensive Research on Historical Materials Collected by Fr. Mario Marega Held by Vatican Library” (principal investigator: Yōko Matsui, AY 2016–2018); Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A) (Overseas Scientific Research): “Overseas Academic Survey Research Related to Turning the Vatican Library’s Bungo Christian Materials into an International Information Resource” (principal investigator: Kazuo Ōtomo, AY 2016–2020); Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B): “Kirishitan and the Cross-Cultural Communication in the Early Modern Japan” (principal investigator: Yukihiro Ōhashi, AY 2017–2020); Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C): “Administration for Non-State-Owned Archives in Japan, Italy, and the Vatican in the Twentieth Century” (principal investigator: Ryō Yugami, AY 2017–2020); and the Toyota Foundation Research Grant Program: “The Approach to Dissemination of New Preservation Technologies for Disaster Damaged Archives” (principal investigator: Mutsumi Aoki, 2016–2017).

Precautions on Using the Materials

  • This database was created based on an agreement between the National Institutes for the Humanities and the Vatican Library.
  • The Vatican Library is the owner of all rights to these digital images, and any secondary use of images requires prior application and approval from the Vatican Library.
  • The copyrights and other rights to the catalog data belong to the Vatican Library and the National Institutes for the Humanities.
  • Note: For applications to the Vatican Library:

Database Information

1. Database Index Settings

  • The information in the database is basically indexed as follows: Fonds name, Reference code, Function levels, Survey levels, Title and content, Date (Japanese calendar) , Date (Gregorian calendar) , Writer/sender, Address, Form and size, Physical characteristics, Language, Linkage information, Repository name, Document number, Marega number, Other finding aids, Image, Link to overview of collection

2. Organization of Information and Methods of Retrieval

  • As the collection contains several sets of materials from different sources, the first step in organizing the material information was to identify the source of each material and subsequently, arrange and structure the documents in relation to the function of the source. The “Function levels/資料群階層” item indicates the structural location of each document, and four sub-fonds ([01] Office of Religious Affairs, [02] Miscellaneous Materials, [03] Marega, and [04] Others) were configured, to which all documents were assigned.
  • As the documents in the Vatican Library had been to a certain degree retained in the state in which they were preserved by Marega, we established the “Survey levels/調査階層” item to share the states of sets A1–A26, thereby enabling the introduction of a hierarchical approach.
    Therefore, users can approach the database in two different ways: by an organizational/functional method or based on the state of the documents at the time of the survey. Additionally, users can make use of simple and detailed search functions.
  • The information descriptions provided in the database are written at the fonds, preservation bag, and item level. It should also be noted that the fonds and preservation bag descriptions are based on the descriptions in “Archival Sources from the Marega Collection in the Vatican Library: Outlines and Selected Documents” (edited by Kazuo Ōtomo & Mino Yukinori, March 2022), which was created as a guidebook for the collection. For an overview of the organizational/functional composition of the database, see Kazuo Ōtomo, “Overall Structure of the Marega Collection in the Vatican Library” in The Marega Collection in the Vatican Library: A Comprehensive Study (2022).

3. Document Descriptions in the Database

(1) Overall Standards

  • As a general rule, Kanji designated for common use is used in the Japanese writing.
  • Arabic numerals are used, except in cases wherein the original description appearing in the document is cited or should be respected.
  • In each description, explanatory notes are given in parentheses.
  • When quoting original descriptions of the materials, double quotation marks are used.
  • When part of a quote is omitted, ellipsis (…) is used to represent the omitted part.
  • Where the original description is illegible due to damage or other reasons, the missing section is indicated by a white rectangle. If the letters or words of the missing section can be inferred, they are included and enclosed in square brackets.

(2) Document Numbers

  • Numbering is based on the state of preservation in the Vatican at the time of the document survey, with the parent number assigned to each set from A1 to A26, and sub-file and sub-sub-file numbers assigned to smaller units to identify individual documents. Additionally, “Marega” was added at the beginning of the codes to avoid confusion with other collections (e.g., Marega A2.1.2). Note that several thousands of the documents were assigned numbers by Marega himself, as a way of managing his collection; hence, these documents are also assigned a “Marega No.” as a separate item.

(3) Title and Content

  • As a general rule, the titles are taken from the document titles or the writing on the edge of the book/material. Supplementary information is included in parentheses. Where there was no original title, a title is inferred from the content of the document and given in parentheses.
  • Some of original descriptions of the documents are quoted to indicate their content.

(4) Date (Japanese/Gregorian calendar)

  • For dates, the descriptions in the documents have been respected; but, as a basic rule, numbers are represented in Arabic numerals.
  • Where estimated from the content of the document, the date is written in parentheses.
  • The Gregorian calendar is used for Western dates.
  • For undated or unclearly dated documents, any available information is noted, including the month, day, or year of the Japanese zodiac (“year of the Rat,” etc.).

(5) Creator and Details of Receipt

  • The names of the writers/senders and the addressee are as they appear in the original document, and as a general rule, honorific titles are retained.
  • Proofs of identify and intent—stylized signatures, seals, thumb prints, blood seals, and the like—are given in parentheses as follows: (Stylized signature), (Seal), (Thumb print), and (Blood seal), etc.
  • If there are many people, names and proofs are omitted and recorded as “2 others,” etc.

(6) Form

  • The forms of the documents from the early modern period are designated as (letters/correspondence), tatechō (horizontally oriented pieces of paper folded in half vertically and bound together), yokochō (vertically oriented pieces of paper folded in half horizontally and bound together), tsuzuri (bound documents), etc.; for the modern period, labels such as “newspaper,” “postcard,” and “memo” are assigned. Notations such as hōshi (wrapping paper), bags, strings, and envelopes are also used.
  • The size is given in cm (length x width).

(7) Linkage Information

  • A description of the linkages between the various materials is also provided. For example, for Hōshi (A1., the document that the hōshi wrapping paper covers is specified as “Hōshi of Document A1.” For Asahimo A7.0.1 (twine string), the use of the string was specified as “Tying A7.” Linkages among the various materials in the collection are also noted to the extent possible.

(8) Reproduction/Image Filenames

  • As part of the Project, digital images of all the Marega documents were created. Image filenames are designed to incorporate various information. For example, Marega.A7.2_0036_fa_n. The document number for this item is “Marega.A7.”; “0036” indicates the position of this image in the order of photography frames for the set of materials designated as A7.2; “fa” indicates that the form of the material is jō; “1v” that comes before “.jpg” indicates the number of pages/sheets in the document and whether the image is of the front side or the back side; “v” is used for the front side, and “r” is used for the back. These digital image filenames were basically assigned in accordance with the assignment criteria of the Vatican Library. For details of the codes, see Mutsumu Aoki, Naohiro Ōta, and Kazuo Ōtomo, “Survey and Preservation of the Marega Collection and Development of an Information Resources” in The Marega Collection in the Vatican Library: A Comprehensive Study (2022).

(9) Links to Summary of Collection

  • Links to descriptions at the fonds and preservation bag levels are provided.