Table of Contents
Research Navi, by the National Diet Library of Japan, provides research guides on a wide range of subjects.
The Kaken database provides information on research projects that have been funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology and Japan Society for the Promotion of Science since 1965.
The Academic Society Home Village, by the National Institute of Informatics (NII), provides links to homepages of academic societies in Japan.
A member of H-Net Humanities & Social Sciences Online, H-Japan is an international, nonpartisan electronic discussion group. It provides scholars, graduate students and professionals a free daily forum to discuss Japanese history, culture, religion, and society, including contemporary political, diplomatic, security, and economic issues.
Provides full text online access to the Cambridge History of Japan.
A topically arranged directory, J Guide: Stanford Guide to Japan Information Resources focuses on resources about Japan in the English language. An ongoing project of the US-Asia Technology Management Center, the School of Engineering at Stanford University, J Guide provides access to information resources in and about Japan.
Book & Article Search
National Diet Library Search covers holdings of the National Diet Library, Japanese public libraries, NDL’s digital archives, and the NDL periodicals index.
WorldCat is a worldwide union catalog created and maintained collectively by more than 9,000 member institutions. With millions of online records built from the bibliographic and ownership information of contributing libraries, it is the largest and most comprehensive database of its kind.
Zasshi Kiji Sakuin Shūsei Database, the National Diet Library’s Japanese Periodicals Index, offers complete coverage for Japanese periodicals from the Meiji era to the present, with links to NACSIS Webcat, WebcatPlus, and the National Diet Library's OPAC.
CiNii Books covers books and journals held by university libraries and other libraries in Japan with some available in full-text.
In addition to retrieving citation information for academic journal articles from Japan, CiNii provides full-text access to over 6,800 journals.
Webcat Plus provides access to the holdings of university libraries in Japan made available by the National Institute for Informatics.
An online version of the journal Taiyō originally published by Hakubunkan from 1895 to 1928. It also provides indexes to Bungei kurabu 文芸倶楽部 and Kōyūkai zasshi 校友会雑誌
Web OYA-bunko provides access to Ōya Sōichi Library's comprehensive collection of popular journals. It indexes 400 titles from 1988 to the present.
Current IRs provides links to institutional repositories at 179 academic institutions in Japan. It is maintained by the National Institute of Informatics.
Provided by the National Institute of Informatics, JAIRO provides full text for over 300,000 journal articles, almost 600,000 department bulletins, 15,000 plus technical reports, almost 75,000 dissertations, 84,558 conference papers, over 21,000 books almost 25,000 research papers, and over 50,000 datasets, among other items.
The Senryōki Zasshi Kiji Jōhō Database (The Database of Newspapers and Magazines Published during the Post-war Occupation Period from 1945 to 1949) provides citation information for magazine and newspaper articles published between 1945 and 1949
Asahi Kikuzo II Visual is one of the largest newspaper databases of Japan containing more than 13 million items. It includes articles and advertisements of the Asahi Shinbun newspaper since its first issue in 1879 (both the Tokyo and Osaka editions). Full-text search is available for all material after 1985. Kikuzo II Visual also provides access to the weekly magazines, AERA and Shukan Asahi, and the Historical Photo Archive, which includes approximately 10-thousand photographic records mostly taken in Asia during the World War II period. It includes a “Who’s Who” database and a contemporary word dictionary with over 8,000 of the latest terms. It has a robust historical keyword searching function, which will pull up relevant articles even if they do not include the specified keyword. The Image Database of Post WWII (1945-1989) contains 88,000 pages of the Asahi Shimbun and allows searching of advertisements.
Yomidasu Rekishikan provides full text access to the Yomiuri shibun 読売新聞 (1874-present) and the Daily Yomiuri (1989-present). It is possible to look up any word in an article simply by highlighting and selecting the dictionary button.
Nikkei Telecom 21 provides full text access to 日本経済新聞 (1876-1961, and 1981/10-present), 日経産業新聞 (1981/10-present), 日経流通新聞 (1985/10-present), 日経金融新聞 (1987/10-2008/1), Nikkei Company Profile (30,000 company profiles), and Nikkei Who's Who (20,000 corporate executive profiles). It also offers English sources, such as Nikkei English News, Nikkei Weekly, and translations of major articles from the above-mentioned Japanese newspapers.
Maisaku provides full-text access to the Mainichi shinbun (1872 (Meiji 5)- present), including the Tokyo and Osaka editions (1876-1942), which are in pdf format until 1988. After 1999, only html is available. Maisaku includes Mainichi Shimbun (1872+); Weekly Economist (1989+; images in reduced size edition is available from 1989-1999); and The Mainichi (English) (2008+). Newspaper findings on public opinions and political party approval ratings are also available at ヨミロンサーチ. As search terms are limited, browsing is recommended.
Largest and longest circulating Japanese-language newspaper published in colonial Korea from 1907 to 1945. Image files, provided in PDF format, are not searchable but can be browsed by date.
The Senryōki Zasshi Kiji Jōhō Database (The Database of Newspapers and Magazines Published during the Post-war Occupation Period from 1945 to 1949) provides citation information for magazine and newspaper articles published between 1945 and 1949.
Made available by Kobe University Library, the Newspaper Clippings Collection covers the period from the end of Meiji through 1969 and contains approximately 500,000 articles.
Digitalized Texts & Rare Materials
Aozora Bunko is a digital library that makes available full-text images of out-of-copyright texts and texts digitalized with the author’s permission.
The Digital Library from the Meiji Era of the National Diet Library makes available full-text digital versions of books and magazines from 1868 onward.
National Archives of Japan Digital Archive provides online catalog database and some digital images from the historical materials preserved by the National Archives of Japan.
The Kyoto Prefectural Library and Archives opened in November 1963 for the purpose of collecting, reserving, and presenting Kyoto related information materials for research. The facility contains 320,000 volumes on Kyoto's history, culture, industry, and lifestyle as well as contemporary literature, and arts and crafts. In addition, the facility also holds old manuscripts, government documents, and photographic materials. Three collections are particularly notable. Tōji hyakugō monjo (東寺百合文書): a national treasure, compiled in I685 by Goto Enjo and others. The collection includes documentations of historically significant events such as an edict of "virtuous government" (永仁の徳政令 Ēnin no tokusei rei ) in 1297. Tōji Kanchi-in denrai monjo tensekirui (東寺観智院伝来文書典籍類): a designated cultural treasure, history documents and records of Toji. Kawashimake monjo (革嶋家文書): a designated cultural treasure, passed down through the Kawashima family over 800 years (from the Kamakura to the Taisho period).
The Meiji government started editing of the Koji Ruien encyclopedia in 1879. Published between the years 1896 to 1914, the Koji Ruien consists of 67,000 pages covering 40,354 topics. It is a useful resource for understanding Japanese culture reflected in pre-Meiji cultural concepts and documents. Digitalizing the work is an on-going project and currently 7,233 pages are available. Perform key word searches of the Koji ruien here.
The Digital Materials Database of the National Institute of Japanese Literature provides brief introductions and links to thirty databases of digital materials, including full texts from Nihon koten bungaku taikei (Iwanami Shoten, 1957-67), Nijuichidaishu, and Koji ruien.
The Japanese Historical Text Initiative at the University of California at Berkeley is a digitized, searchable database of important Japanese historical documents and their English translations. It includes ancient chronicles, ancient gazetteers, ancient religio-civil codes, medieval stories, medieval and early-modern interpretive histories, etc.
The Digital Gallery of Rare Books & Special Collections of Keio University Library makes publicly available in digital form about fifty-five titles of the early works of Fukuzawa Yukichi.
The Chirimen Crepe Books Database by the International Research Center for Japanese Studies includes full-text digital images of crepe-paper books in German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, English and Japanese. From mid-Meiji to early Taisho, the International Research Center for Japanese Studies collected about 200 crepe-paper books, especially picture books. They are printed on Japanese paper and have a silk-like texture. They were first created in the Meiji period as souvenirs for foreigners to bring home to introduce Japanese culture. Many of them have been digitalized. The Japanese Fairy Tale Series, which translated old Japanese tales into foreign languages, was published from Meiji 18-25.
The University of Virginia Library Electronic Text Center and the University of Pittsburgh East Asian Library sponsor the Japanese Text Initiative (JTI), a collaborative effort to make classical Japanese literature available online. The JTI provides authoritative editions in both Japanese and English translations of the masterpieces of classical Japanese literature, from its beginnings in the 8th century through modern novels and poetry. Among the online texts are The Tale of Genji, classics of haiku poetry, and Kabuki plays. The works are searchable by key word.
The Kotenseki sogo database of Japanese and Chinese Classics at Waseda University makes publicly available full-text images, bibliographic information and related material of the classical texts held by the Waseda University Library. In total, 300,000 volumes, two national treasures, and 5 important cultural properties are viewable in vivid color images. Classical texts are defined as (1.) those works published in Japan before the Edo period, (2.) Chinese texts published before the Qing period and Korean texts of the same time period, or (3.) primary sources from the ancient to the modern period. It also includes some Western books that are useful in the study of Dutch Learning.
The ARC Database provides digitalized images of items from the special collections at the Art Research Center at Ritsumeikan University.
Digital Library at Ryukoku University includes full-text digital versions of 895 volumes and 370 titles of rare books.
Dr. Fujiwara Shigeo at the Historical Institute at Tokyo University has created this site, which provides various links for full-text images of Nara Ehon that are made available online by various universities and academic centers.
The National Institute of Japanese Literature’s New Naraehon Database includes high quality, color digital full-text versions of many Nara Ehon.
The Rare Books Database is an ongoing digitalizing project, which currently includes 200 of the 600 rare books held at Kyoto Prefectural Library and Archives.
The Bibliotheque Nationale de France makes available online and in full-text its collection of Nara Ehon.
The Digital Library for Asian Studies provides full-text images of manuscripts held in the collection at Kyoto University.
The Collectors’ Seal Database by the National Institute of Japanese Literature makes available images of the seals imprinted on books and manuscripts to note ownership.
Asia-studies.com provides full-text access to research materials and reports on business, government, economic, and social issues from 55 countries.
JapanKnowledge Plus provides access to basic Japanese reference sources including encyclopedias and dictionaries (e.g., 日本大百科全書, 日本国語大辞典, 國史大辭典, Encyclopedia of Japan, etc.) as well as Toyo Bunko 東洋文庫 and the new edition of the Nihon Koten Bungaku Zenshu 新編日本古典文学全集 series. Click herefor instructional videos.
Bukkyō Tenseki Kensaku by Kōsaiji 広済寺 offers a full text searching of the Taishō Shinshū Daizōkyō (v.1-55, 85 only).
The SAT Daizōkyō Text Database makes available full text of 85 volumes of Taishō Shinshū Daizōkyō, provided by the Department of Indian Philosophy and Buddhist Studies, University of Tokyo.
HathiTrust is a partnership of major research institutions and libraries working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future. A digital preservation repository with a highly functional access platform, it provides long-term preservation and access services. Currently there are over ten million volumes that have been digitized.
Open Library is a catalog that includes records from some of the biggest libraries in the world. It has put online over 20 million records and provides access to 1.7 million scanned versions of books, including 4000 titles from Aozora Bunko.
e読書.jp is a new site, launched in April 2012, which allows you to search for over one million books that are available in digital form in Japan. For any book that has not yet been digitized, you can submit a “digitization request” through this portal. e読書.jp is offered by Renso Shuppan (Association Press) affiliated with the Research Center for Informatics Association at the National Institute of Informatics.
Nihon Kotenseki Sōgō Mokuroku is a union catalog of Japanese old and rare books originally produced before 1868 and includes 『国書総目録』 and 『古典籍総合目録』 among others.
Provided by the Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Kindai Ajia no Naka no Nihon is a union catalog of Japanese publications published in Asia under the Japanese colonial authorities before 1945 and includes some digital images.
Databases including the index to 大日本史料; full-text of 大日本古文書, 大日本古記錄, and 平安遺文, the Online Glossary of Japanese Historical Terms, etc.
Union catalog of Chinese books held by Japanese libraries provided by Kyoto University’s Center for Informatics in East Asian Studies, Institute for Research in Humanities.
- Directory of North American Collections of Old and Rare Japanese Books, Other Print Materials, and Manuscripts
TheDirectory of North American Collections of Old and Rare Japanese Books, Other Print Materials, and Manuscripts provides information on libraries and museums in North America that hold old and rare Japanese materials, including manuscripts, printed books, and single sheet items, such as maps and ukiyoe prints. Each entry consists of the institution's address, name of contact person, collection size, collection description, viewing possibility, reproduction policy, availability of online and print catalogs, and other relevant information.
The Japan Sociological Society’s Bibliography of Japanese Sociology Database contains sociological literature published in Japan or written by Japanese scholars. It includes 110,348 records that have been collected (1) through annual self-reporting surveys of works by members of JSS and associated societies, and (2) from published bibliographies on sociology and related fields.
The Literature Database retrieves books, journals, local government publications, Japanese periodical articles, Japanese newspaper articles and audio-visual materials from the collection at the Information Center for Women’s Education.
The INBUDS database retrieves relevant articles, books and journals on Indian studies and Buddhist studies mainly published in Japan using key word searches.
This Database retrieves bibliographic information for education-related works, including serials and multi-volume sets, held by the Education Library at the National Institute for Education Policy Research of Japan.
The Union Catalogue of Early Japanese Books in Europe provides bibliographic information for works bound in the Japanese style that are held in European countries by university libraries, local libraries, museums, and other institutions.
Doctoral Dissertation Bibliographic Database by Academic Research Database Repository at the National Institute of Informatics provides information on the topic, author, position for doctoral dissertations produced at public and private universities in Japan.
The Kokubungaku Ronbun Mokuroku Database is a digitalized catalog for works on Japanese literature written during the Taisho, Showa and Heisei periods (currently through 2007) based on the serial, Kokubungaku nenkan (『国文学年鑑』).
Aichi University and the Open Research Center developed the Tōa Dōbunshoin-Tōa Dōbunkai Zasshi Kiji Database (「東亜同文書院・東亜同文会雑誌記事データベース」) in 2008. It retrieves bibliographic information for articles in pre-war magazines published by the Toa Dobunsho’in and the Toa Dobunkai that are held by Aichi University. This includes 20 different magazines and more than 30,000 articles.
This online version of the Bibliography of Asian Studies (BAS) references western-language articles and book chapters on all parts of Asia published since 1971.
A list of translations of Japanese works primarily into English published in the journal, Monumenta Nipponica.
A database supported by the Japan Foundation that indexes translations of Japanese literature (primarily post-war) into foreign languages
A database of translations maintained by UNESCO
JapanKnowledge Plus provides access to basic Japanese reference sources including encyclopedias and dictionaries (e.g., 日本大百科全書, 日本国語大辞典, 國史大辭典, Encyclopedia of Japan, etc.) as well as Toyo Bunko 東洋文庫 and the new edition of the Nihon Koten Bungaku Zenshu 新編日本古典文学全集 series. Click here for instructional videos.
Weblio is a Japanese-English, English-Japanese online dictionary site that allows you to search at one time 71 different types of Japanese-English English-Japanese dictionaries and a total of 8,890,000 words (4,160,000 English words and 4,730,000 Japanese words). Kenkyusha’s new English-Japanese and Japanese-English dictionary forms the backbone of this site, which is Japan’s largest English online dictionary. It provides a translation of specific terms, gives plentiful examples and pronunciation assistance, and covers both basic terms and specialized terminology.
Denshi Jisho is an easy-to-use and powerful online Japanese dictionary. Made up of several interlinked dictionaries, kanji can be searched individually, in combination, and by radical. With various input methods, it is possible to search for words, kanji, and example sentences.
SmartKanji.net allows the user to copy whole paragraphs into the search window and then to click to look up each of the kanji in the paragraph.
Kotobank.jp allows the user to search 109 dictionaries and encyclopedias (1,040,000 words) at once. It is built from various dictionaries and databases from such publishers as Asahi Shimbun, Kodansha, Shogakkan, and includes any news related to search word. Kotobank.jp can be installed in a browser bar.
Searches 551 dictionaries, encyclopedias, and glossaries at once.
Supported by the Historiographical Institute at Tokyo Univeristy, this dictionary allows the user to look up kuzushiji くずし字.
This site provides technical dictionaries for various academic fields. Search terminology specific to the study of architecture, medicine, biology, economics, politics, computers, the military, the environment, among many others.
The National Institute for Defense Studies provides a list of official translations for frequently used terms and abbreviations in the defense field.
Provides the origins, history, and etymology of words, including those commonly used today and those that have fallen out of use. It also gives background – word origin and history of associated events and customs – of commonly used English words, katagana words, four-character phrases, proverbs, idioms, new words, and the names of things. It currently holds 2,585 words.
The editing of the Koji Ruien encyclopedia was started by the Meiji government in 1879. Published between the years 1896 to 1914, the Koji Ruien consists of 67,000 pages covering 40,354 topics. It is a useful resource for understanding Japanese culture reflected in pre-Meiji cultural concepts and documents. Digitalizing the work is an on-going project and currently 7,233 pages are available. See also the Nichibun-ken site, which allows key-work searches of the digitalized sections of the Koji Ruien, here.
JAANUS is the online dictionary of Japanese Architectural and Art Historical Terminology that can be searched either by term or browsed alphabetically. It contains approximately 8,000 terms related to traditional Japanese architecture and gardens, painting, sculpture and art-historical iconography from approximately the 1st century CE to the end of the Edo period (1868). Terms from related fields such as lacquer, ceramics, textiles, and metalwork are included when relevant to the study of architecture, painting and sculpture. Definitions are based on a range of specialist sources and scholarly publications.
Online Scientific Terms is a dictionary of standardized scientific terms placed online with permission of copyright holders, the Ministry of Education and various academic societies.
The Encyclopedia of Shinto is an emended English version of the Shinto jiten edited by the Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics (Kobundo 1994) with additional links to video, illustrations, photographs, and sound files.
The Digital Dictionary of Buddhism is a compilation of Buddhist technical terminology texts, temples, schools, persons, etc. that are found in East Asian Buddhist canonical sources. Since much of what East Asian Buddhists have written about is the Buddhism of India, Central Asia, and Tibet, the content of this database/dictionary/encyclopedia/translation glossary is pan-Buddhist in character. Dictionaries and other reference sources are in many East Asian languages (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Pali, Sanskrit and Tibetan).
Based on the Bilingual [Japanese & English] Dictionary of Japanese Garden Terms published in 2001, the Japanese Garden Dictionary is maintained by the Department of Cultural Heritage of the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties.
Photos, Films, Archives
Nagasaki University Library has made available approximately 7,000 photographs from all parts of Japan during the Bakumatsu and Meiji periods in their Metadata Database of Japanese Old Photographs in Bakumatsu-Meiji Periods.
The Database of Images of Historical Figures includes images of historical figures depicted in Japanese old and rare publications provided by the National Institute of Japanese Literature 国文学研究資料館.
Through the Documentary Films Archiving Project, the Center for the Preservation of Documentary Films at Tokyo University provides bibliographic information on the more than 10,000 historical documentary films in their collection.
Provided by Mainishi Shinbunsha, Mainichi Photo Bank is a digital photographic archive that offers access to approximately 330,000 images from the Bakumatsu period onward.
Provided by Asahi Shinbunsha, the Asahi Shinbun Historical Photos Archives makes available 10,000 historical photos of the period between the 1930s and 1945. Login to Kikuzo Visual and then click on歴史写真.
The Images of Okinawa collection combines 150 color slides donated by Ms. Madeline K. Van Epps and 53 black and white photos taken by the US Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands (USCAR). The majority of the images are from 1945-46.
JapanAirRaids.org is a digital archive dedicated to the international dissemination of information about the air raids conducted by the United States Army Air Forces and Navy against Japan.
Managed by UNIJAPAN and the Japan Foundation, JFDB provides information, including film cast, staff members, and contact details for film companies, on Japanese films released between 2002 and 2010.
A non-commercial, non-profit initiative that offers interviews, features, film reviews, and book reviews.
- Directory of North American Collections of Old and Rare Japanese Books, Other Print Materials, and Manuscripts
The Directory of North American Collections of Old and Rare Japanese Books, Other Print Materials, and Manuscripts provides information on libraries and museums in North America that hold old and rare Japanese materials, including manuscripts, printed books, and single sheet items, such as maps and ukiyoe prints. Each entry consists of the institution's address, name of contact person, collection size, collection description, viewing possibility, reproduction policy, availability of online and print catalogs, and other relevant information.
The Gaihozu Digital Archive contains maps of the areas outside the Japanese Territory that were prepared by the Former Japanese Army. The Land Survey Department of the former Japanese army produced maps between the Meiji era and the end of WWII. Those maps of areas outside Japanese territory were called “Gaihozu” and covered such areas as Alaska, U.S. mainland, Australia, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Madagascar. Most of these maps – complied for military necessity – were classified as secret and many were destroyed after the war. The site is maintained by Tohoku University library and the Institute of Geography at the Graduate School of Science at Tohoku University and contains images of maps held at Tohoku University, Kyoto University, Ochanomizu University, the University of Tokyo, Hiroshima University, Komazawa University, and Stanford University.
The Japanese Historical Maps online database retrieves over 1,100 images of maps and books from the collection of early maps of Japan and the world held at UC Berkeley’s East Asian Library.
Includes ''Nihon jinmei jiten'' (1914) by Haga Yaichi (1867-1917) and ''Jige kaden'' (1937-1938) by Mikami Kagefumi and Masamune Atsuo (1881-1958)
ReaD & Researchmap provide detailed information on scholars in Japan.
The Directory of Japanese Studies in the United States and Canada includes information about scholars, librarians, programs and institutions that specialize in the study of Japan. The website displays the information collected from the Survey of Japan Specialists and Japanese Studies Institutions in North America in 2011-2012.
The Database of Magazines on Local History is a list of journals on Japanese local history research and their contact information, provided by Iwata Shoten
Provides access to local historical records of western Japan, mainly Kyushu, preserved and provided by Kyushu University Manuscript Library Historical Records Section.
Kanreki provides equivalent dates in different types of calendars (Japanese calendar, the Gregorian calendar, revised Julian calendar, etc.).
The Gengō Seireki Taishō-hyō is a list of corresponding years in Western and Japanese calendars for the years 1868-2010.
Books.or.jp allows search of currently available books that are published in Japan, provided by the Japan Book Publishers Association, and includes approximately 900,000 items. The data is refreshed daily, excluding the weekends.
Jimbou Book Town provides information about Kanda Book Town, the largest center for secondhand books in Japan.
Nihon no Furuhonya is the largest database of secondhand books in Japan.
2011 Great East Japan Earthquake News
With a grant from The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, the Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies has created the Digital Archive of Japan’s 2011 Disasters, which collects, preserves and makes accessible information from the disasters. *Please note that you need the newest version of Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari.
Hinagiku is a comprehensive portal launched by the National Diet Library of Japan (NDL) to archive and preserve records related to the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, and Fukushima nuclear accident that overwhelmed the region on March 11, 2011. It aims to be a comprehensive entry point for materials recorded, collected, and archived by numerous organizations in Japan and worldwide.
Contributed by Toshinori Egami, Earthquake 201103 for Libraries and Librarians provides a list of useful links related to libraries in earthquake zones in Japan.
Info on the Earthquake in Japan provides a plethora of information on the earthquake hit the northeast region of Japan on Friday, March 11th, 2011 (東北大震災), including links to local newspapers, ways to donate, recovery information, archiving efforts, scientific findings, and official notices. The guide contributed by Sharon Domier of the University of Massachusetts.
Contributed by Kathryn Park, Japan Earthquake, Tsunami & Nuclear Crisis provides a wealth of information on the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis, including images, eyewitness reports, ways to help, the science behind earthquakes and tsunamis.
Contributed by the National Library of Medicine, the Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Radiation Event – March 2011 provides general and specialized information on radiation and health, radiological substances and their countermeasures, tsunamis, earthquakes, coping with disasters and stress, as well as links to US Federal and non-governmental webpages on the Japan disaster.
An ongoing project, the Atomic Age aims to cultivate critical and reflective intervention regarding both nuclear power and weapons through daily news updates on these issues.