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Japanese Studies: East Asian Libraries

Free Electronic resources for the Study of Japan

East Asian Libraries


Library Collection

Australian National University Asia Pacific - Menzies Precinct
Berkeley (University of California) The Center for Chinese Studies Library
East Asian Library
Brigham Young Asian Collection
British Library Asian Language Collections
Online Catalog
Chicago East Asian Collection
Claremont Colleges Asian Studies Department
Columbia C.V. Starr East Asian Library
Cornell Asia Collections
Duke East Asian Collection
Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies
Harvard-Yenching Library
Documentation Center on Contemporary Japan
Hawaii (Manoa) Asia Collection
Illinois Asian Library
Indiana East Asian Collection
Iowa East Asian Collection
Irvine (University of California) Asian Studies
Kansas East Asian Library
Library of Congress Asian Reading Room
Maryland East Asia Collection
Massachusetts East Asian Collection
Melbourne (Australia) East Asian Collection
Michigan Asia Library
Minnesota East Asian Library
National Library of Australia Asian Materials
North Carolina (Chapel Hill) East Asian Collections
Ohio State East Asian Studies Center
Oregon Asian Collection
Pennsylvania East Asian Collection
Pittsburgh East Asian Library
Princeton East Asian Library and the Gest Collection
San Diego (University of California) International Relations and Pacific Studies Library
Santa Barbara (University of California) Information Resources for East Asian Studies
SOAS - School of Oriental and Asian Studies, University of London Library
Stanford Hoover Institution's East Asian Collection
Sydney (Australia) East Asian Collection
Toronto Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library
UBC (University of British Columbia) Asian Library
UCLA Richard C. Rudolph East Asian Library
USC (University of Southern California) East Asian Library
Virginia Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures
Washington East Asia Library
Washington (Law) East Asian Law Department
Washington University at St. Louis East Asian Library
Wisconsin East Asian Collection
Yale East Asia Library

More than 100,000

Collections of Notable Strength

The major Japanese language collections are broad in scope, with special areas of depth, and the mid-sized collections have materials not held elsewhere, often collected around faculty interests and connections.



Berkeley Literature, history, labor economics. Special collections: Mitsui [2,500 early Japanese woodblock printed maps; 7,000 Japanese manuscripts; the Doi Gakken collection (Chinese poetry and prose by Japanese authors published since 1868) the Soshin and Motoori collections (xylographic editions of Tokugawa and early Meiji) and the kihon section (pre-WWII publications)], Murakami (Meiji books) and Ho-Chiang (Buddhist scriptures). Japanese Government document depository.
British Columbia History, literature, Japanese statistics and economy, Buddhist studies. Special collections: Japanese government publications, George H. Beans Collection of Japanese Maps, history of Japanese immigrants in Canada
Chicago Literature, history, art, religion, sinology, Okinawa (Ryūkyū's), social sciences, Japanese-American studies, gender studies, serials, statistics, company histories.
Columbia Literature, history, philosophy and religion, especially Buddhism, fine and performing arts, business and economics. 600 woodblock printed books; 300 scrolls, letters and manuscripts by twentieth-century authors; separate Law Library.
Cornell Proletarian literature, society; Griffis collection 18-19 century; Popular culture--especially film, food and manga
Harvard-Yenching History, literature and Japan's modern and postwar political, social, and economic development. Japanese Sinology. Maruzen Meiji microfilm, separate law library. 14,000 rare books, 480 scrolls including 400 Buddhist scrolls collected by Bruno Petzold.
Hawaii Literature, languages, Buddhism, art, history, women, cultural studies. Special Collections: Sakamaki/Hawley (Ryūkyū-Okinawa Resources), Nan'yō, Kajiyama Toshiyuki (Japan-Korea relations, Japanese emigration), Takazawa Koji (postwar socialists' movement), Satsuma, Hokkaido.
Library of Congress Comprehensive; exchange agreement w/ Diet library; S. Manchurian RR, Buddhism, microfilm of Foreign Office, Army and Navy ministries 1868-1945; prewar Japanese-American newspapers.
Michigan Folk drama, local history, literature, Diet, prewar
Ohio State Company histories, history of agriculture, science & technology; linguistics, language teaching, literature (esp. Meiji), poetry, Okinawa culture, Saitama, psychology journals, manga
Pittsburgh Japanese theater, medical history, modern Japanese art history
Princeton History (especially premodern and Meiji) & literature, sinology.
Stanford Social sciences, left-wing, right-wing; Korea 1894 1901; 18-19th century ehon (travel guides)
Toronto Humanities, social and political sciences, modern Japanese literature
UCLA Buddhism, art, history, literature (esp. pre-modern literary criticism), modern intellectual history, women, cultural studies. Special collections: Toganoo --Esoteric Buddhism (books and manuscripts), Julian Wright- illustrated books, Jansen - Edo/Meiji history, old maps, history of medicine, and Japanese in the U.S. (archives).
Washington Art, political economy, literature@atomic bomb, women, left-wing, Butow papers, separate law library.
Yale Literature, language and linguistics, Buddhism, history of art, history (institutional development and local); contemporary society, economics.

Less than 100,000

Other Collections with Notable Foci



Arizona Linguistics
Arizona State Art History, Buddhism, history, language and literature, political science
Colorado Literature, language, history
Duke Labor history, popular culture (manga, advertising, women's magazines), women's studies, minorities in Japan, Taiwan and Korea under colonial rule, modern Japanese art history, Meiji Buddhism
Georgetown Language/linguistics and literature; Special Collections: correspondence and reports from Jesuit missions in the Far East 1675-1682.
Illinois Modern drama, minzoku shūgi, nationalism, ethnicity
Indiana Edo and early Meiji culture, history and literature; educational history
Iowa Film
Kansas Modern literature; history, pre-WW2 left-wing politics, women, women writers, minority groups, Edo painting; traditional performing arts (noh and kabuki), Japanese food culture, Buddhist art (statues), comics, popular culture.
Maryland WWII and occupation. Special Collections: Prange
Minnesota Environmental policy, Manyōshu; strongest in history and literature
Oregon Art history, Buddhism, religion, Taisho-Showa history, classical and modern literature, social sciences, language teaching
Pennsylvania Premodern (esp. Medieval) Buddhism & Literature; contemporary women writers, 20th century literature
Texas Modern history and literature, business, economics and politics
Postwar economics, contemporary fiction, international relations; company histories
UCSB Political science, economic and social conditions, religion
Virginia Buddhism, contemporary political science
Washington - St. Louis Art history, history, literature, philosophy, religion
Wisconsin Buddhism

Library Information

Guides to Using North American and European Collections
Provides a basic description of the Institution, its programs in East Asian Studies and its collections, as well as contact information and information on using the collection.

Center for Research Libraries (CRL)
Located in Chicago, it has functioned as a library's library, and has long runs of some core materials:  Diet proceedings, committee reports 1912-26, Annual reports of Japanese companies (Eigyō hōkokusho shūsei, 1899-1945), Diet records (1912-26, 1947-72), Meiji educational statistics, Meiji-Taishō-Shōwa prefectural statistics, labor movements (1920-34), periodicals in science & technology. Has complete runs of the Japan Times and the Asahi shinbun. Not all collections are accessible through their online catalog, but there is a special guide to East Asian Materials. Materials may be borrowed for as long as needed; Duke is a member. Non-members can borrow a limited number of items per year.

Council on East Asian Libraries  (CEAL)
The organization for East Asian librarians in North America affiliated with the Association for Asian Studies. The website includes information on CEAL membership, the annual meeting, CEAL publications, eastlib (the East Asian librarians' listserv) and CEAL committees. Provides directory of members, a statistical database for holdings and expenditures for East Asian libraries.

North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources (NCC)
Founded in 1992, the NCC coordinates, develops and locates funding for projects in cooperative Japanese collection development; its goals are to improve access to Japanese information, further training and education in Japanese librarianship, articulate the needs of librarians, scholars, and others in relation to information sources; and to expand the work of advising and collaborating with funding agencies in developing relevant and valuable programs. It's membership includes faculty and librarians interested in Japanese information.

National Institute of Informatics (NII)
Formerly known as NACSIS, the National Institute of Informatics is an inter-university research institute established in April 2000. NII conducts research of informatics as well as the development of infrastructures and services of advanced academic information distribution.  Provides 44 databases for overseas users in a variety of disciplines, mostly in Japanese with some English. 

Interlibrary Loan: GIF (Global ILL Framework)
International interlibrary loan with Japan is now routine for many libraries; please contact your Japanese Studies librarian, if you need materials from Japan.  If you are not at a major collection, please contact the North American Coordinating Council for Japanese Library Resources (NCC) for information on how your library can participate. 

Library Travel Grants

Many large libraries provide funding to use their collections, often as part of outreach associated with their Title VI center. Knowledge of a collection's strengths is useful in selecting a library to visit; some libraries have divided collection responsibilities with sister institutions and an understanding of these cooperative agreements will minimize your chances of a wasted trip. Contacting the Japanese Studies librarian before you go is the best way to ensure a productive trip. 

Libraries which have often provided travel grants to use their collections

Chicago, Center for East Asian Studies

Harvard, Harvard-Yenching Library 

Kansas, East Asian Library

Library of Congress: Mellon Fellowships
In addition to the requirements of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency and possession of a doctoral degree, the awards are for scholars who are proposing or working on a second major research project with a focus on foreign-language material.

Maryland, Prange Collection Research Awards

Michigan, Center for Japanese Studies

Pittsburgh, East Asian Library 

Princeton, Friends of the Princeton University Library Visiting Fellowships

Stanford,  The East Asian Library

Washington,  East Asia Library

Independent Sources of Support

Northeast Asia Council, AAS

Japan Foundation 

Cooperative Collection Development

Local Histories

Division of responsibility for local histories was initiated by funding received from the Japan United States Friendship Commission.  After that funding ceased in the early 1990s, some libraries have expanded their collecting of these core materials.  Nonetheless, the division remains reflected in the historical collections.

East Coast: Columbia, Harvard, Princeton, Yale
Harvard: Hokkaido to Kanagawa;including Tokyo (14 prefectures)
Columbia: Central Honshū: Niigata to Aichi plus Kyoto (10 prefectures)
Yale: Southwestern Honshū: Mie to Yamaguchi (11 prefectures)
Princeton: Shikoku, Kyūshū, Okinawa (12 prefectures)
The prefectures are arranged in the East-West order used in Japanese atlases and dictionaries.

Mid-West Universities: Chicago and University of Michigan
Chicago collected on Western Japan, especially Osaka and the Kinki/Kansai region, while Michigan collected on Eastern Japan. Both libraries have expanded their collecting focus, although Chicago has a special fund to support materials relating to Osaka. Ohio State has a strong collection on Okinawa and on its sister prefecture, Saitama.

West Coast: Berkeley and Stanford
Traditionally, Stanford covered the northeastern half of Japan and Berkeley the southern half. The agreement covered histories of prefectures, sub-prefectures, cities and other sub-units.

The University of Hawaii has a strong collections on Satsuma and the Ryūkyūs

Contemporary Topics

Japanese postwar international financial and political relations
Japan's role in international trade and monetary relations, Japan's return to the international arena, its relations with the United States, and its continuing desire for a significant global role. The accent is on not only external relations but also on the domestic sources of its policies. (Columbia)

Contemporary Japanese politics
Focusing on those that are directly related to Japan's economic policy and development. Emphasis is placed on publications of the various political parties. (Harvard)

Japanese interest groups
These include groups promoting the interests of business, telecommunications, labor, foreign trade, international friendship, industry and agriculture. These groups exert a strong influence in Japanese politics, security and economics. Princeton will continue to acquire materials on and by these interest groups and their relations with government ministries such as MITI and the private sector. (Princeton)

Sociological publications
Publications that describe, analyze, and offer insights into the complexities of changing Japanese society. Subjects of special interest are: changing life patterns, life styles and aspirations, internationalization of social life, marriage and family, expanding women's role in the work place and society; non-economic aspects of work such as work habits, work ethics, and motivation on the job; changing attitudes toward leisure and retirement, and the role of government and the private sector in people's lives.


The California system has a system-wide agreement on Japanese newspapers:
  • UC Berkeley: Nihon keizai shinbun (and earlier titles) microfilm 1876-1944; shukusatsuban 1949-1995
  • UC Davis:Sankei shinbun microform 1958-2000
  • UCLA: Mainichi shinbun microform 1872-present
  • UC Santa Barbara: Yomiuri shinbun microfilm 1874-1969/6; shukusatsuban 1969/7-present
  • Stanford: Asahi shinbun (microform) 1888-1926, 1945-50; shukusatsuban) 1926-44, 1951-present

CRL has complete runs of the Japan Times and the Asahi shinbun.

The Union List of Japanese Serials and Newspapers has newspapers holdings for many libraries (and indicates years with missing issues), but the online version does not distinguish between formats.