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Japanese Studies: Primary Sources

Free Electronic resources for the Study of Japan

Index to Primary Sources

Archival Collections

 This page indexes only a few of the many collections available.

Government Documents

Includes Kanpō, the daily gazette of new laws, regulations, government appointments; white papers issued annually by government ministries; and public opinion polls.  Many of these materials can be found at least partially online.  See also statistics issued by the government for data as well as the Japanese Government Portal Site for e-government for other sources.


Journals published in prewar Japan, newspapers published in Japan and its colonies, collections of business, colonial, government and personal documents, Diet Records, US Consular records and records from the Allied Occupation of Japan.


Both print and online resources, in English and Japanese.

David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Reports from missionaries, early British diplomats to Japan, the East India company papers, diaries and letters from merchants and seamen as well as items in such collections as the Stereographic card collection, 1860-1928, and the postcard collection. It also has the Papers of General Robert L. Eichelberger (1886-1961), who commanded all ground occupation troops in Japan (1945-1948), and materials related to Japanese advertising in the Hartman Center.   There are also smaller collections such as Japanese wartime propaganda publications, and the Masaki Motoi collection linked above.  Holdings can be searched through their finding aids. A print guide to manuscript collections which include material on East Asia provides an overview.

East Asia: A Selected Bibliography of Sources in the Special Collections Library of Duke University. Compiled by Kirsten Fischer. Durham N.C.: The Library, 1993.

Visual Resources

Images are a primary source, but are placed in a separate folder to highlight them.

Japanese Institutional Repositories

Institutional Repositories

The Japanese government has sponsored an institutional repository program of scholarly production using D-Space.  Each university has developed their own site, organizing the material into communities; a range of materials may be included including journals published by different departments, theses and dissertations, research reports, preprints, books, educational materials, and original documents. Browsable by institution and community, searchable within instittuion.  The materials are searchable through google.

Microform Holdings

Titles at Duke

Call Number

Ampo (Tokyo) S178
Asahi shinbun 9/40--12/46 S6257
Atorie - Seikatsu Bijutsu (1924-1943) (avant garde) Lilly S197-198
Azuma shinshi, 1883-87 M7388 pt. 2 rl. 15 -21
Census (Kokusei Chōsa - 1950, 1955, 1960, 1965) S34
Chōsen Sōtokufu shisei nenpō, 1906-1941 S9346
Chōsen Sōtokufu tōkei nenpō, 1907-1942 S9344
Chōsen sōtoku-fu. Chōsa geppō, 1830-1943 S9343
Chūgai Nippō, 1897-1995 S9348
Chūō Bijutsu (1916-1936) (crafts) Lilly S200
Chūō Kōron 1887-1912 N1016
Dōraku sōdan, 1879-81 M7388 pt. 2 rl. 23
Eiri ninjō zasshi , 1880-84 M7388 pt. 2 rl. 37 -40
Fūga shinbun, 1876-77;  Kokkei fūga shinbun 1877-78 M7388 pt. 1 rl. 1
Gordon W. Prange Magazine Collection. Art Subset Lilly
Haruno sōshi, 1881-82 M7388 pt. 2 rl. 14
Hōtan zasshi, 1878-84 M7388 pt. 2 rl. 24 -35
Inoue Kowashi Monjo M4995
Japan & America: Eichelberger Papers M9300
Japan Foreign Office - London Naval Conference N1826
Japan Times, 1897- S134s
Japanese Army & Navy Archives N1831
Kabuki shinpō, 1879-97 M7388 pt. 1 rl. 6-40
Kanpō S5999 (1984-2005)
Kantōkyoku tōkeisho, 1906-1942 S9360
Keijo nippō S9539
Kishō shinbun, 1875 M7388 pt. 2 rl. 41
Kokkei Fūga shinshi 1878-80, Fūga shinshi 1880-82 M7388, rl 2-4
Kyōto bijutsu kyōkai zasshi Lilly S271 rl. 1-13
Libero international (Kobe) S178
Magic Documents - top secret diplomatic communications 1938-1945 N5025
Manshū nenkan, Dairen, 1922-1941 S9359
Meiji shoki bungaku zasshi shūsei M7388
Mitsui-ke shiryō: Historical Materials of the Mitsui Household 1600-1912 M4996
Mizue (1905-1946) (water colors) Lilly S199
Mushiro-bata = The strawmat banner (Narita-shi) S178
Myōmyō zasso, 1878-79 M7388 pt. 2 rl. 22
Naigai shakai mondai chōsa shiryō S9345
Namazu (Osaka) S178
Nihon bijutsu (1898-1916) (nihonga) Lilly S201
Nihon Bijutsu Kyōkai Hōkoku Lilly S203
Robun chinpō, 1877-82 M7388 pt. 1 rl. 5
SCAP - International Military Tribunal N1614
SCAP - Natural Resources Section N3088
SCAP - Non-military Activities of the Occupation M6653
Shaji torishirabe ruisan M7350
Taiwan Nichi nichi shinpō (1896-1944) S9538
Taiwan Sōtokufu tōkeisho = Taiwan Statistical Abstract S9358
Teikoku Gikai Gijiroku (Imperial Diet Proceedings) N4978
Tōkyō shinshi, 1876-83 M7388 pt. 2 rl. 1-13
Tsuki to supponchi  1878-1880 M7388 pt. 2 rl. 36
Underground Newspaper collection S178
US Consulate - Kanagawa M5925
US Consulate - Nagasaki M5926-7
US Consulate - Yokohama M5928
US Dept of State: Internal Affairs of Japan M6468