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East Asian studies

This topic guide provides an introduction to English-language resources for the study of China, Japan, Korea, East Asia, and Asia in general. These include both literature and primary source holdings housed at Green and other Stanford libraries or available electronically.


General searching


A single search engine that enables you to search many databases at a time. This specific search includes most databases that have resources on Asian studies.


An innovative platform for discovery that allows you to explore relationships between concepts drawn from scholarly publications.




You can find most books, including print and e-books, at Stanford in SearchWorks. Search using title, keywords, subject terms, call number, series, or author.


This is a catalog that lets you search the collections of 72,000 libraries in 170 countries and regions. It is the world's largest network of library content and services.


This is a large-scale collaborative repository of digital content from over 60 partner research libraries including content digitized via the Google Books project and Internet Archive digitization initiatives, as well as content digitized locally by libraries. As of January 2012, HathiTrust comprises over 10 million volumes, over 2.7 million of which are public domain. HathiTrust provides a number of discovery and access services, notably, full-text search across the entire repository. 

Journals & articles

Bibliography of Asian Studies

This is a major source for beginning research on topics related to Asian studies. It provides nearly 900,000 citations to Western-language periodical articles, chapters in edited volumes, conference proceedings, anthologies, Festschriften, etc. pertaining to East, Southeast, and South Asia. It covers 1971 to the present, including full data from the print editions from 1971-1991. 

Many databases in such disciplines as history, political science, and sociology have articles with Asian studies perspective, including:

Academic search premier

A multidisciplinary database which provides full-text for over 4,650 scholarly publications. A great place to start your research.

Sociological abstracts

This database provides access to the international literature in sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences.

Historical abstracts with full text

Covers the history of the world (excluding the United States and Canada) from 1450 to the present, including world history, military history, women's history, and history of education. Provides selective indexing of historical articles from more than 1,800 journals in over 40 languages back to 1955 as well as the full text of more than 300 journals and over 130 books.


Provides page images of back issues of the core scholarly journals in the humanities, social sciences, and basic sciences from the earliest issues to within a few years of current publication. Users may browse by journal title or discipline, or may search the full-text or citations/abstracts. New issues of existing titles and new titles are added approximately on a weekly basis.

Project Muse

Features a collection of online scholarly journals that focuses on the humanities, social sciences, and mathematics.


Provides full-text documents from over 5,900 news, business, legal, medical, and reference publications.


A database that provides users with ready access to an extensive body of education-related literature.

MLA International Bibliography

A detailed bibliography of journal articles, books and dissertations covering literature, language and linguistics, folklore, literary theory & criticism, dramatic arts, as well as the historical aspects of printing and publishing.


Provides online access to an extensive collection of full-text articles from journals across a wide range of subject areas, including business, education, literature, political science, and psychology. User interface available in Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, and Turkish.

CMJ - China Multilingual Journals 

A database of Chinese journals produced by the government for overseas consumption, mostly in English with some articles also available in French, German, Spanish and Japanese.  This database includes titles such as Beijing ReviewQiushiChina Pictorial, People's China, China Today, and Chinafrica


LexisNexisAccess World News NewsBankProQuest Newsstand, and Factiva are major sources where you can search and access full-text stories published by English language newspapers/newswire in China, Japan and Korea dating back to 1980s or 1990s. Additionally, Stanford has a significant collection of newspapers housed at Newark and SAL3.

To find a specific newspaper title, go to SearchWorks, enter the title and click the option for "Newspaper" in the left column.

Stanford has access to the following digital newspaper collections:

ProQuest Chinese Historical Newspaper Collection

Contains full text of various English-language Chinese newspapers published from 1832 to 1953. Important titles include The North China Herald, China Weekly Review, and Chinese Recorder

ProQuest Historical Newspapers, South China Morning Post (1903-1995)

This historical newspaper provides genealogists, researchers and scholars with online, easily-searchable first-hand accounts and unparalleled coverge of the politics, society and events of the time.

North China Standard Online

An English-language newspaper published between 1919 - 1922, the North-China Standard (in Chinese, Huabei zheng bao) presented Japan's case for expansion and leadership in Asia to a growing readership in post-WWI China and Japan. Today, the North-China Standard constitutes a valuable 'inside' source for scholars of Japan and China, and of the 'scramble for China' in the 1920s

The Japan Chronicle (1902-1940)

The English-language Japan Chronicle Weekly (1902-1940) is the newspaper of record for Japan's engagement with modernity and its emergence, through war, political and social upheaval and seismic social change in East Asia, onto the world stage in the first half of the 20th century. Historians of East Asia have long seen it as an uniquely valuable, well-informed, controversial but always readable resource.

The Japan Times Archive

Database of digitized issues of the Japan Times, The Japan Advertiser, The Japan Times & Mail, The Japan Times and Advertiser, Japan Times & Advertiser, Japan Times Advertiser, Nippon Times; includes all issues from March 22, 1897 to December 31, 2013.

Japan news-week

American-operated Japan News-Week was the last independent, foreign-owned English-language newspaper published in Japan before World War II. It began publication on November 12, 1938, and continued until the arrest of founder W. R. Wills and managing editor Phyllis Argall by Japanese special police (Tokko) on a charge of espionage in December 1941.

Hongkong news

First published as an English-language weekly in 1939, the Hongkong news resumed publication under its Japanese managing director Toshihiko Eto on December 26, 1941, the day after the Christmas Day surrender of the British Crown Colony, and lasted up to August 17, 1945, the last week before Hongkong's liberation. This full-text searchable run of The Hongkong News as published during the Japanese Occupation offers scholars the voice of Japan from Hongkong, a voice described as "a close, unvarnished, daily view of the recolonizing mind-set of the new masters of East Asia."

Following are links to some of the major English language newspapers in China, Japan and Korea:

South China Morning Post

China Daily

People's Daily

Beijing Review

Xinhua News

The Japan Times

The Asahi Shimbun

The Daily Yomiuri

The Mainichi Daily News

The Korea Herald

The Korea Times 

Dissertations & theses

Dissertations & theses@Stanford

This database provides full-text access to most Stanford dissertations written between 1989-2009. Stanford dissertations (including those written after 2009) are also available from a link in the Searchworks record for individual dissertations.

ProQuest dissertations and theses global

Searchable and browsable database of dissertations and theses from around the world, spanning from 1743 to the present day. It also offers full text for graduate works added since 1997, along with selected full text for works written prior to 1997.


NDLTD is an international organization that, through leadership and innovation, promotes the adoption, creation, use, dissemination and preservation of electronic theses and dissertations. The NDLTD encourages and supports the efforts of institutes of higher education and their communities to develop electronic publishing and digital libraries (including repositories), thus enabling them to share knowledge more effectively in order to unlock the potential benefits worldwide.


This is a major primary source to conduct research on contemporary China. It is a comprehensive database web site focusing on economic statistics of China, arranged by regions and categories. It includes monthly and yearly reports on China's macroeconomic development, statistical databases about China's population and economy at the county and city level, and financial indicators of more than 568 industrial branches. It also includes statistical yearbooks, census data, industrial and marketing surveys, and an atlas of China.

UN Data

Statistical time series for countries from around the world covering a wide range of economic and socio-demographic topics. Descriptions of the international sources and definitions used in compiling the data are included. Includes Indicator databases (Key Global Indicators, Millennium Development Goals, Gender Info, Indicators on Women and Men, The State of the World’s Children 2008, ECE Database), UNESCO UIS Data, ILO Data, Energy Statistics, Greenhouse Gas Inventory, FAO Data, WHO Data, Human Development Report, Industrial Commodity Statistics, ITU Data, Official Country Data, Estimates of Main Aggregates, Demographic Statistics, World Population Prospects, UNHCR Statistical Yearbook, Commodity Trade Statistics, UNWTO Data, with more databases to be added.

OECD iLibrary, Statistics

OECD iLibrary contains all the publications and datasets released by OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), International Energy Agency (IEA), Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), OECD Development Centre, PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), and International Transport Forum (ITF) since 1998.

World Bank Databases

Collection of data and statistics from official statistical systems organized and financed by national governments.

ProQuest Statistical Insight

Provides statistical data from U.S. government publications from 1973, state and private sources from 1980, and international organizations from 1983.


Provides access to statistics ans studies gathered by market researchers, trade organizations, scientific publications, and government sources on over 600 industries.

National Bureau of Statistics of China

Hong Kong Statistics, Census and Statistics Department, Hong Kong Special Administration Region

Statistics and Census Service, Macao SAR Government

National Statistics, R.O.C.

Government Statistics, National Central Library, Taiwan

Statistics Japan

Statistics Korea

Korean Statistical Information Service

Primary sources & databases

Beida Fabao Laws & Regulations English Database

Contains English-language resources on Chinese law, from the Legal Information Center of Peking University.  Includes laws, regulations, rules, judicial interpretations, local regulations, and local rules in more than ninety legal areas.  Also contains English translations of judicial decisions, international treaties, official gazettes, legal news, and other resources.

China and the Modern World

Formerly called China from Empire to Republic, this is a series of digital archive collections sourced from preeminent libraries and archives across the world, including the Second Historical Archives of China and the British Library.  It contains two prominent collections: Missionary, sinology, and literary periodicals and Records of the Maritime Customs Service of China

China, America, and the Pacific

China, America and the Pacific explores the cultural and trading relationships that emerged between America, China and the Pacific region between the 18th and early 20th centuries. Sourced from twelve North American libraries that include the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum and the Massachusetts Historical Society, China, America and the Pacific offers unique insights into the history of North American trade. Coverage includes the Old China Trade, the Pacific Northwest fur trade, the whaling industry and the development of Pacific trading centres such as Hawaii. Manuscripts, rare printed sources, visual images, objects and maps from international libraries and archives document this fascinating history.

China: Trade, Politics and Culture 1793-1980

Based on substantial collections of unique manuscript materials held at the library of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and the British Library in London, this resource provides a wide variety of original source material detailing China’s interaction with the West from Macartney’s first Embassy to China in 1793, through to the Nixon/Heath visits to China in 1972-74.

Chinese Civilization in Time and Space

Web-based GIS system with historical maps, integrated with full-text databases from the Academia Sinica. The fundamental base maps are based on Dr. Tan's "The Historical Atlas of China". "The Historical Atlas of China" provides users with Chinese historical features, covering Chinese history over the past 2000 years, from the ancient time to Qing dynasty. Click on "Enter CCTS System" to access the database. Users must download ArcView 9.1, the latest Java Runtime Environment, and CCTS plug-ins before use

China: Culture and Society

The core of China: Culture and Society is the pamphlets held in the Charles W. Wason Collection on East Asia housed in the Carl A. Kroch Library of Cornell University. Mostly in English and published between c. 1750 and 1929, and amounting to around 1,200 items in 220 bound volumes. The pamphlets have all been digitised in colour and are full-text searchable. Types of material in the collection include: addresses and speeches, annual reports, assessments, catalogues, essays, examinations, guides and manuals, inquiries and studies, journals, lecture notes, letters, magazine articles, minutes of meetings, notes and records.

Chinese Government Ministries

A portal with links to the English-language websites of various government ministries.  Most of these websites contain archives of translated documents including policy statements and white papers.

CMJ - China Multilingual Journals

A database of Chinese journals produced by the government for overseas consumption, mostly in English with some articles also available in French, German, Spanish and Japanese.  This database includes titles such as Beijing ReviewQiushiChina Pictorial, People's China, China Today, and Chinafrica.

Chinese Foreign Policy Database

This online resource contains nearly 1,500 declassified documents on the international relations of the People's Republic of China since 1949. Freely-accessible from the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program, the database includes diplomatic cables, high level correspondence, meeting minutes and other internal documents retrieved from dozens of archives around the world, the vast majority available with English translation.

Early Chinese Periodicals Online

ECPO joins together several important digital collections of the early Chinese press and puts them into a single overarching framework.  Most of the publications are in Chinese but there are a few English titles.

East India Company: India Office Records from the British Library, 1595-1947

Offers access to a unique collection of India Office Records from the British Library, London. Containing royal charters, correspondence, trading diaries, minutes of council meetings and reports of expeditions, among other document types, this resource charts the history of British trade and rule in the Indian subcontinent and beyond from 1600 to 1947.  Contains some material related to East and Southeast Asia.

Foreign Office Files for China [1919-1980]

This collection makes available the complete British Foreign Office files dealing with China, Hong Kong and Taiwan from 1919 to 1980. The highly varied documents include government memoranda, official correspondence, newspaper cuttings, maps, reports, profiles, economic statistics, records of court cases, eye-witness accounts, etc. Published in six sections, access to sections 1919-1929 and 1940-1980 is currently available. Content from 1930-1948 will be accessed as soon as the resource is released.

Foreign Office Files for Japan

Provides full-text searchable access to formerly restricted top level discussions and correspondence from the British Embassy and consulate in Japan. Includes memoranda, reports, minute sheets and correspondence, along with detailed assessments of key events, speeches and topics of special interest. Includes Japan-specific files from the FO 371 and FO 262 series and is supplemented by files from the Western and American Department papers in FO 371.

Meiji Japan

The Edward Sylvester Morse Papers were given to the Peabody Museum in 1926 and consist of 99 boxes of personal and professional papers including diaries, correspondence, research files, drawings, lecture notes, publications, scrapbooks and manuscripts. Collection digitized in its entirety. Papers (ca. 1858-1925, 40 cubic feet), document the numerous and valuable contributions made by Morse to the areas of malacology, zoology, ethnology, archaeology and art history. Included are diaries, scrapbooks, correspondence, research files, drawings, manuscripts, publications and teaching materials and drawings.

Party and Government Documents in English

Party and Government Documents in English (PGDiE) is a unique collection of official documents in English, covering various levels of Chinese government, Communist Party of China (CPC) and National People's Congress (NPC) from authoritative sources from 1921 onwards. It is an invaluable resource for research on the history of Communist Party of China (CPC), the Chinese government, and National People's Congress (NPC).

Translations of the Peking Gazette

A database of previously-published English translations of official edicts and memorials from nineteenth century China's Qing dynasty, spanning from the Macartney Mission in 1793 to the abdication of the last emperor in 1912. 

State Council of the PRC

The official English-language website of the State Council includes an archive of laws, statistics, official communications, white papers, policy statements, and other documents.

In Microformat:

Records of U.S. foreign assistance agencies, 1948-1961. The   Economic Cooperation Administration’s relief mission in post-war China, 1946-1948.

Confidential U.S. State Department central files, China

Records of the U.S. Department of State relating to the internal affairs of China

Records of the United States legation in China, 1843-1945

British intelligence on China in Tibet, 1903-1950

To find more primary sources in Microformat or print, go to SearchWorks, enter your keywords and click the option for "Microformat" or "Book" in the left column.