Shozo Sakakibara (1859–1940) enlisted in the Japanese Army in 1879 as an engineering officer. He fought in the 1894–95 Sino–Japanese War and also the Russo–Japanese War, when he participated in the siege of Port Arthur in 1904–05. He attained the rank of lieutenant-general. He was a keen reader and built up a substantial library, including books in a number of European languages.
The Library purchased the Sakakibara Collection in 1964 from Keisho Hakura, a friend of General Sakakibara.
The Sakakibara Collection comprises about 2600 volumes, mostly in Japanese and mostly published during his lifetime. It is strong in military works, including manuals of Japanese Army training schools and books on the history and ethos of the Japanese Army. There are many biographies of the Japanese Royal Family and leading figures in Japan and Western countries, Chinese and Japanese classics, works on Shintoism, shrines, Western philosophies and ethics, and local histories and travel guides. Other items include a report on police practices in Europe (1908) and a textbook on Japanese language (1938), written by Moshi Inagaki, a lecturer at the University of Melbourne. Of special interest is an album containing 26 photographic prints of Port Arthur and the surrounding region taken in 1905, shortly after the fall of the city. They show the effects of the bombardments that lasted for five months and resulted in enormous casualties on both sides.
There are also several old and rare Japanese language titles. They include the oldest printed Japanese book held by the Library, Heike monogatari hyoban hiden sho (1650). It is a 24-volume early edition about the famous work of Japanese warrior fiction, Heike monogatari (Tale of the House of Taira). Another early edition is Uji shui monogatari (1659), an anonymous collection of secular and Buddhist stories, illustrated with lively black and white drawings.
In addition to Japanese publications, the collection contains maps and a number of books in English, French and Russian. The French books include several almanacs, such as the ;Almanach du Drapeau (1905–09), a number of military manuals, and some general works on science and French history. They were mostly published in the period 1870–1910. The English publications comprise a few literary works, some pamphlets issued during World War I, and Part 3 of the Official History of the Russo–Japanese War (1909). There are also some French and English dictionaries and grammars.
Uji shui monogatari (1659)
Almanach du Drapeau (1905–09)
The Sakakibara Collection has been kept together as a formed collection within the Asian Collections.