New Collection: Shobundo Senjafuda Collection

Earlier this year, Special Collections and University Archives acquired a new collection of Japanese votive slips, or fuda, which are now available for viewing and research in the SCUA reading room.

Fuda, also called nōsatsu, are Japanese votive slips printed using a woodblock process. Originally, created in the 11th century by religious pilgrims as devotional items, these slips have become part of a vibrant collecting and exchange culture in Japan and abroad. The religious senjafuda are generally unadorned, consisting of only the pilgrim’s name, and pasted to the walls of temples and shrines. The more detailed and luxurious kokanfuda, featuring many subjects including kabuki characters and mythological creatures, are collected and traded by members of a nōsatsu-kai, or exchange clubs. Individual nōsatsu clubs generally commission artists, carvers, and printers to produce new slips for trading at nōsatsu-kai meetings and events.

Yokohama nōsatsu-kai circa 1950s

The Shobundo senjafuda collection was compiled by Sato Masao, known by the artistic pseudonym Shobundo, during his time as an active member of the Yokohama nōsatsu-kai and a woodblock carver. Shobundo lived and worked in Yokohama, Japan and collected fuda between 1920 and 1990. His collection contains examples of both simple senjafuda and fanciful kokanfuda.

This new collection is a wonderful companion to the University of Oregon Libraries other celebrated collection of nineteenth and early twentieth century fuda gifted to the university by Gertrude Bass Warner. In addition to the fuda themselves, the Shobundo collection also includes sketchbooks, fuda publications, printing and pasting tools, as well as photographs of nōsatsu-kai events and members, which allows researchers to delve more deeply into this artistic practice.

The finding aid for this collection will soon be available on Archives West.

Update 12/28/2017: Finding aid now available at

Gertrude bass Warner link:

–Alex Bisio, Lead Processing Archivist

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