Trivial Objects from Taishō Japan in the Collection of Alma M. Karlin


  • Chikako SHIGEMORI BUČAR University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Slovenia



trivial objects, Alma M. Karlin, Taishō Japan, collecting, souvenir


Alma M. Karlin, a young woman adventurer who made her journey around the world between 1919 and 1927, stayed in Japan for a little more than a year. As a young woman without significant funds, she relied on her own ability to earn a living during her stay in the country. Among the items she brought back from Japan to Slovenia there are many small objects which are not typical “exotic objects from the Far East”. They are rather small and trivial items such as a wall calendar, a streetcar ticket, children’s miniature toys, a part of ceremonial wrappings, and paper bookmarks. This paper focuses on the small and untypical items Karlin brought back from Japan. Karlin’s travelogue and other writings, including her notes on the unused postcards, give us some information about her life in Japan. Together with her travelogue, notes and messages on the objects in her legacy, we can reconstruct some aspects of her everyday life in Japan. Though small and trivial, such items collected by Karlin reveal some important details of her experience in the central part of Tokyo in the Taishō period.


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How to Cite

Shigemori Bučar, C. (2021). Trivial Objects from Taishō Japan in the Collection of Alma M. Karlin. Asian Studies, 9(3), 21–45.