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Japanese Studies: Archival Collections in the United States and Japan

Free Electronic resources for the Study of Japan

United States

  1. Duke University's David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library has several collections with material focusing on Japan including  reports from missionaries and early British diplomats to Japan, East India Company papers, and diaries and letters from merchants and seamen, as well as items in such collections as the stereographic card collection, the Hartman advertising collection and the postcard collection.  The finding aid for these collections can be searched at  In addition,of particular note are:
    1. The Masaki Motoi Collection of Japanese Student Movement Materials, 1959-2003, bulk 1960-1979. The collection consists of Japanese books, periodicals and other printed materials relating to the Japanese student movement of the 1960s and later. The materials derive from the first confrontations of 1960 provoked by the Anpo treaty, through the protest movement's years of crisis and decay in the 1970s. It also includes books, journals and a video which are cataloged separately and housed in the East Asian Collection and Lilly.
    2. Robert L. Eichelberger Papers, 1728-1998 (bulk 1942-1949). The Eichelberger Papers span the period 1728 to 1998, with the bulk of the collection dating between 1942 and 1949. The papers contain diaries, correspondence, military papers, writings and speeches, pictures, scrapbooks, printed material, clippings, memorabilia, and audiovisual material chiefly relating to Eichelberger's military career. Prominently highlighted is his participation as a member of the American Expeditionary Forces in Siberia (1918-1920); the military campaigns he led in New Guinea and the Philippines during World War II (1942-1945); and the post-war period when he commanded all ground occupation troops in Japan (1945-1948).
    3. Mary McMillan Papers, 1936-1997 and undated (bulk 1952-1991). The papers illuminate the personal life and professional work of McMillan, a United Methodist missionary and teacher at the Hiroshima Jo Gakuin College in Hiroshima, Japan. In addition to her work as a teacher, the collection documents McMillan's service to the Kyodan, a unifying organization for Christian missionaries in Japan, and to the hibakusha, the survivors of the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as her peace activism.
    4. Picture File, 1600s-1979 and undated, bulk 1814-1950.
  2. The University of Hawaii has several special collections, including collections focusing on Hokkaido, Satsuma, and the Ryukyus.  In addition, there are:
    1. Kajiyama Collection. 梶山文庫
      The Kajiyama Collection consists of the personal library of the late novelist Toshiyuki Kajiyama, containing over 7,000 titles in the following major categories: Works on Korea, Japanese emigration documents covering North and South America, Hawai'i and Southeast Asia, materials documenting Japanese colonization activities in Manchuria, Taiwan and Southeast Asia/Pacific, historical, political and economic books on Japan from the Edo to post-World War II period, and Mr. Kajiyama's own works with his source materials.
    2. Takazawa Collection. 高沢文庫
      The Takazawa Collection is an extensive collection of resource materials on postwar Japanese social movements that was donated to the University of Hawaii by Kōji Takazawa in in 1993. The collection contains 1,800 books and over 9,000 issues of magazines, 1,200 serial titles, and the majority of which are not available in any other library. It also contains pamphlets, manuscripts, clipping files, trial documents, handbills, letters, audiovisual materials, folders of miscellaneous materials, and artifacts.
  3. The University of Maryland's Prange Collection
    The Gordon W. Prange Collection is the most comprehensive collection in the world of print publications issued in Japan during the immediate post-World War II years, 1945-1949. The Collection comprises virtually everything published on all subjects during this period - books, pamphlets, newspapers, periodicals, news agency photographs, posters, maps and related archival materials.  The contents of the Prange Collection once constituted the files of the Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD), an operating unit of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers. (SCAP) Press, Pictorial and Broadcast Division. Between 1945 and 1949, the CCD was responsible for reviewing all Japanese publications to identify violations of the Code for the Japanese Press.
  4. Yale University special collections
    Yale holds archival/manuscript materials and rare books in both Sterling and the Beinecke.  This guide highlights the collections and provides links to finding aids.  The materials include manuscripts, calligraphy, books, maps and art objects, dating from the 8th to the twentieth century. While some of the materials were acquired by Asakawa Kan'ichi and Kuroita Katsumi, there are also more recently acquired materials on film, ikebana and LGBTQ issues.
  5. Columbia University -- Special collections in the CV Starr Library
    In addition to 584 woodblock printed books donated in 1928, the Starr Library has particularly strong collections in literature as a result of Donald Keene's close ties to the library and to the literary world in Japan.  More recently they have acquired the Barbara Curtis Adachi Bunraku collection and The Makino Mamoru Collection on the History of East Asian Film.


Kyosei Shakai Kenkyu Senta at Saitama University (埼玉大学共生社会研究センター)
This center holds primary materials on NGLs, NPOs, labor problems, consumer movements, citizens and residents' movements and environmental movements.  In addition to taking over the privately run Jumin Toshokan's materials, the center has acquired collections from other sources.  The amterials include complete runs of many "minikomi" organizational publications, plus trial records various kinds of social movement-backed lawsuits and original materials from some large scale reserach projects on labor issues.  The Center is committed to open access.