Indeed, a library is an intellectual symbol of every university. One brilliant example is the libraries in Japan known as the temples of intelligence that have great attributes and are usually featured in media around the world. A well-known place for book enthusiasts in Japan is Nakajima Library, which embodies the nature and tradition of Akita Prefecture by its wonderful composite structured building. In Japan’s late Meiji period, a literati visited the busy city of Akita and tagged the geisha as “an Akita Beauty” which became well-known in Japan. Although the world of geisha disappeared when the Heisei period began, its beauty never faded in Akita City.

Found in the suburbs of Akita City is the most beautiful library in Japan, the Nakajima Library that is lying at Akita International University. The library is named after the AIU’s first president, Mineo Nakajima, who instituted the library with his own distinctive style which made the place open for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This was the result of Nakajima persuading the prefecture by stating “Why can’t a library, which is the heart of a university, be open 24 hours a day like a convenience store?” This phrase had a great impact as this library is also known as the “library that doesn’t sleep” which differentiates it from other places.

Just like other structures, Nakajima Library also underwent a renovation. Akita prefectural assembly and other organizations requested to cut the cost for this building. Under this condition, architect Mitsuri Senda was appointed to design the library as he also believes that people should have a fun and attractive learning environment similar to a playing area. Not to be outdone, the Nakajima Library made use of Akita’s abundance of cedar woods that come up with an amazing two-storey wooden theme structure and reduced its cost from ¥1.3 billion to ¥1.1 billion. Shinya Kato, library director, stated that they were able to change the dire situation into an opportunity.

Upon entering Nakajima Library, a magnificent concept of the Japanese umbrella known as wagasa can be seen from the wooden roof, buttress, down to the center pole, and can give people a traditional sense and peacefulness. The semi-circular design and impressive tier arrangement of the bookshelves resemble the Roman Colosseum where the idea of “Book Colosseum” came from. Started in 2008, the library became a great success for the university, as it received various architectural prizes, TV appearances, and maintained a whopping 100% employment rate among graduates.

A famous author, Jorge Luis Borges, once said, “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” Same as paradise, it is a dwelling place of perfect happiness where affection for books can be found. This place gives the chance to acquire intelligence and an opportunity to gain understanding while experiencing wonderful learning surroundings. It offers such beauty and huge resources that clearly made it the most beautiful library in Japan.