Hope College is one of a select number of institutions in the United States chosen by the Nippon Foundation of Tokyo, Japan, to receive a collection of books intended to serve as useful guides for those who want to understand present-day Japan.

Through the program, "100 Books for Understanding Contemporary Japan," the foundation is providing English-language books that consider Japan from the perspective of topics including foreign policy, business and management, society and culture, films and animation, classic and contemporary literature, and history.  The foundation is making the collections available to a total of 300 selected key libraries, universities and other institutions in the U.S., planning to expand the initiative to other nations and regions in future years.

Kelly Jacobsma, who is director of libraries at Hope, praised the set as an important resource that will serve the college's students well.

"These books will be an important addition to the library's collection on Japan, and we are extremely grateful to the Nippon Foundation for its support of our program," she said.  "Although we have a strong selection of materials about Japan, including a significant collection of books in Japanese, we had previously only owned 20 of the books that the foundation is presenting in its gift."

The college's ties to Japan extend to the 19th century.  The six members of the college's Class of 1879 included two students from Japan; Hope had been chartered only 13 years before, in 1866.  Hope has had an exchange relationship with MeijiGakuinUniversity since the 1960s, and has had relationships with FerrisUniversity and TechnosCollege since 1989 and 1992 respectively.  Hope offers a Japanese studies composite major as well as an academic minor in Japanese.

The Nippon Foundation was established in 1962 as a non-profit philanthropic organization, active in both Japan and abroad, and is the largest private foundation in Japan.  In addition to focusing on the maritime and shipping fields to bolster Japan's economic development, the foundation is active in fields including education, social welfare and public health, both within Japan and in more than 100 other nations.

The foundation developed its list of 100 books through the work of a selection committee of 10 experts chosen for their extensive knowledge of the country and representing a variety of backgrounds and points of view, including business, academia, the media, government, culture and non-governmental organizations.  Following the first phase of the project, the foundation will be seeking to have additional significant books translated into English and others that are currently unavailable to be reprinted.