This is the "Getting Started" page of the "Japanese Studies Visual Resources" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

Japanese Studies Visual Resources  

Last Updated: Oct 15, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Getting Started Print Page

Visual Index

This section includes guides to both print and online sources for photographs, works of art, and manga.

  1. Japanese Image Websites -- search by format, subject and/or historical period
    Includes architecture, calligraphy, ceramics, folk arts, maps, painting, photographs, posters, prints, scrolls, sculpture.  Freely accessible websites.
  2. Manuscript materials in David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library
    See Duke's collection of reports from missionaries, early British diplomats to Japan, the East India company papers, diaries and letters from merchants and seamen, the Stereographic card collection, 1860-1928, the postcard collection and the Hartman Center advertising collection.  Holdings can be searched through their finding aids
  3. Japanese University Library Digitization Projects
    These are indexed at Ryukyu University.
  4. Japanese Museums
    Japanese Museums, like ones in Europe and the United States, often put images up on their websites.
  5. Manga
  6. Maps
    Historical maps have been digitized by Japanese and North American institutions.


    The East Asia Collection (EAC) at Duke houses an impressive collection of image resources in print format useful for students, teachers, and librarians of Japan. This guide introduces resources that give visual testimony to the history and experience of modern Japan.

    Images include: photographs, photo essays, art work, manga/cartoons and other non-photographic images, hikifuda (advertising handbills), and more. You will find retrospectives recapping periods of modern Japanese history, as well as resources that focus on particular topics, such as women, children, Okinawa, and southeast Asia, and medieval and pre-modern Japan.

    This web guide aims to introduce these materials to a larger audience, including users who have only started studying Japanese or don't know Japanese at all. To aid all users, this guide includes notes on the calendrical systems used in the resources. For information on Japanese calendrical systems, refer to "About this Guide," below.

    This guide has two parts:

    1. Main Guide to Japanese Images Resources: Presents vernacular resources found in the EAC, with details on coverage and special features such as indexing and color reproductions. You'll also find some translations of titles, selected chapter headings, and brief excerpts from the resources. Most of these resources were published by newspapers (Asahi, Mainichi, Yomiuri). In addition to these newspaper image compilations, Perkins Library houses rare periodicals such as Dōmei gurafu (同盟グラフ), and Gahō chūseishi (画報中世史), Gahō kinseishi (画報近世史), and Gahō gendaishi (画報現代史), and one-of-a-kind material from the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, found in David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

    2. Guide to Print Resources for Non-Japanese Readers:  Don't know Japanese? Check out the link, "For Non-Japanese Readers." This section highlights some resources from the Main Guide that will be more accessible to those who cannot read Japanese. While you won't be able to read the text, you may find these resources to be usable in your classes or personal study because their captions include Western calendar years.

    * Image source: Japanese Soldiers Conveying Injured Enlistee, 1943; rom Gahō gendaishi, v.1, p. 129.


      About this Guide

      A note about calendrical systems in Japan:

      Years can be written in Japanese using two different formats:

      1. Japanese imperial era names (nengō年号)

      2. Western calendar years (properly called Gregorian calendar years; e.g., 2005).

      Japanese imperial era names refer to the name of the Emperor followed by the year in kanji (Chinese characters) or Arabic numerals and the kanji for "year" (nen). For example, 2005 is Heisei 17, and can be written in Japanese as 平成17年 or 平成十七年.

      The Western calendar was introduced in Japan in 1873, but not all publications have used it. Click here for a useful Japanese Year converter.

      This guide to Japanese Image Resources at Duke includes notes on which resources use only the Japanese calendar, which use only the Western calendar, and which use both.


      "Kagaku suru kazoku..." cartoon from Osaka Puck, 1941. From Manga ni egakareta Meiji, Taishō, Shōwa, p. 193.

      This Web Guide to Japanese Image Resources at Duke was created by Alison Raab, an MSLS student at the School of Information and Library Science, at UNC Chapel Hill. It was created as a project for JPN 291, Japanese Studies Research Methods, taught at Duke University by Dr. Troost, the Japan/Korea Librarian and Head of International and Area Studies at Perkins Library, Duke.


        Japanese Studies Librarian

        Profile Image
        Kristina Troost
        Contact Info

        Kristina K Troost, PhD
        Bostock 228, 660-5844

        Duke Image Databases

        Duke Image Collections


        CAMIO (Catalog of Art Museum Images Online)

        Saskia Art Slides


          Loading  Loading...