Dr Regan Murphy Kao

Head of Special Collections (EAL)

Curator for Japanese Collections

As the Head of the Special Collections at the East Asia Library, I help facilitate the collection, preservation, use of the rare and unique materials in Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages.  As Japanese Studies Librarian, I manage Japanese language materials, both print and digital. I provide specialized research assistance using both print and computer-based bibliographic tools and manage the digital products and services that support the study of Japanese language materials. In addition to providing reference and bibliographic services to faculty, students and other users of the library, I select Japanese language monographs and serials, maintain and expand relations with antiquarian dealers, and serve as liaison with Stanford Japanese Studies faculty, consulting and responding to their teaching and research needs.  I also assist visitors, including scholars, librarians, publishers and vendors from Japan, who visit the East Asia Library. 


  • Ph.D., Study of Religion (Japanese Buddhism), Harvard University
  • B.A., East Asia Studies, Columbia University

Professional activities 

Association for Asian Studies

Council on East Asian Libraries

Council Member, North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources (NCC)

Member, Cooperative Collection Development Working Group, NCC

Selected Publications 

Murphy Kao, Regan E. "A Snapshot Model for Web Archiving: Stanford East Asia Library’s Japanese Web Archive" Current Awareness, No 336 (CA1930), June 20, 2018.

Murphy Kao, Regan E. "Bringing Women into the History of Edo Period Monastic Buddhism: A Study of a Forgotten Reformer" a review of The Princess Nun: Bunchi, Buddhist Reform, and Gender in Early Edo Japan (Harvard University Press, 2014), H-Shukyo, February 8, 2016.

Murphy Kao, Regan E. "From PhD to Librarian," Dissertationreviews.org, October 7, 2015.

“Japanese Souvenir Prints: Early Modern and Modern Representations of Travel Destinations,” presentation delivered at Beyond the Book: A Conference on Unique and Rare Primary Sources for East Asian Studies Collected in North America, Stanford University, July 1, 2015.

“Kokusaiteki akaibu-kan patonashippu no pawa” (The Power of Partnerships in International Archives), presentation delivered (in Japanese) at Kickoff Conference on Building of International Cyber Cooperation between Archives possessing Modern-East-Asian Historical Records, Yamaguchi University, Yamaguchi, Japan, December 9, 2014.

Murphy, Regan E.  "Esoteric Buddhist Theories of Language in Early Kokugaku: the Soshaku of the Man'yo Daishoki," Critical Readings in the Intellectual History of Early Modern Japan, W. J. Boot, ed., Brill, 2012: p521-543.

Takagi Hiroshi.  "Fabricating Antiquity in Modern Nara." Regan E. Murphy and John Breen trans., Jinbun Kagaku Kenkyusho, Kyoto University, Zinbun 2011 No. 43: p51-60.

Murphy, Regan E.  "Sanskrit Studies in Early Modern Japan,"  in Esoteric Buddhism and Tantras in East Asia, Richard Payne, Charlie Orzech, and Henrik Sorensen, ed., Brill 2010.

Murphy, Regan E.  "Esoteric Buddhist Theories of Language in Early Kokugaku: the Soshaku of the Man'yo Daishoki," Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 36.1 (2009): p65-92.

Murphy, Regan E.  Guest Editor, Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, spring 2009 issue in honor of "Helen Hardacre and the Study of Japanese Religion."

Shimazono Susumu.  "State Shinto in the Lives of the People: the Establishment of Emperor Worship, Modern Nationalism, and Shrine Shinto in Late Meiji," Regan E. Muphy trans., Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 36.1 (2009): p93-124.