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Japanese studies selected online resources

Japanese Studies

Last updated August 2016



CiNii BooksEnglish interface; Japanese interface
Most up-to-date union catalogue. It contains the bibliographic record of most Japanese publications with their holding libraries. Bibliographic records appear in this database immediately after they have been catalogued. Searchable in Japanese. Search can be limited to UK libraries, participating European countries, Asia. Japan etc. If you wish to search the Japanese collection of the Cambridge University Library only, use the 'Advanced search' screen and enter Cambridge's Library ID: FA012976. To limit your search to other specific UK library, use the following IDs (Oxford: FA012965; BL: FA012954; Sheffield: FA012987; SOAS: FA013006. IDs for other participating UK libraries (UK Union Catalogue) are: FA012998; FA017925; FA018382; FA021999; FA023123; FA023203. Please note that not all monographs in SOAS Library can be retrieved in this database.) Unrestricted access.

CiNii ArticlesEnglish interface ; Japanese interface
This is a service that provides information on scholarly articles, with an emphasis on Japanese papers. It allows users to find articles by navigating a large volume of information including periodicals published by Japanese scholarly societies, research bulletins published by Japanese universities, and the National Diet Library periodicals index database.Through joint collaborations, it also provides links to full text documents and other services.

European Union Catalogue of Japanese Books (Vernacular, WWW, Allegro version). Bibliographic records are derived once a month from NACSIS-CAT/CiNii, so its content is not as up-to-date as the above.

National Diet Library (国立国会図書館)
Includes thousands of digitized books, both modern and classical.

iDiscover (union catalogue of the Cambridge libraries)
Includes the Japanese Collections of the Cambridge University Library. Most bibliographic records catalogued after 2004 describe Japanese monographs in original script as well as in transliteration. This means that monographs published in Japanese script can be retrieved more easily by performing searches in Japanese. However, since not all records have been upgraded, for the best search result we recommend performing searches in the correct transliteration (in Romaji) as well. 

Union catalogue of Early Japanese Books in Europe: in English ; in Japanese

Webcat Plus
Bibliographic database service for the public (includes CiNii + N.D.L.+ commercial databases).


accessible via the Cambridge University Library's Electronic Resources site

Cambridge Companion to Modern Japanese Culture
(Available on or off campus. RAVEN password required off campus.)
You will need to search for the title within the 'Cambridge Companion Online' database.

Digitized Early Japanese Books from the Cambridge University Library:
a.) Ritsumeikan University Art Research Center Project (Prof. Akama's project)
This database contains 230 digitised early Japanese books held in the Cambridge University Library. The project is still ongoing. 
The access to the above site is restricted and you will need to contact the Head of the Japanese Department at the Cambridge University Library to request access.

b.) Cambridge Digital Library - Japanese Works
Eighteen important Japanese publications from the Japanese collections in the Cambridge University Library have been digitized and can be viewed here. It includes four Darani 陀羅尼 (dhāraņī) which are among the oldest publications in the world. The digitization project also includes Daibirushana jōbutsukyō sho by Yi Xing 一行 (683-727) and the two volume Saga-bon 嵯峨本 edition (one of the early movable type editions) of Ise Monogatari


Cambridge History of Japan
(Available on or off campus. RAVEN password required off campus.
You will need to search for the title 'Cambridge History of Japan' within the 'Cambridge Histories Online' database.

JapanKnowledge + NK 
(Accessible on or off campus. Click ''Login-Enter'))

Online web archive that boasts the largest corpus of encyclopedia, dictionaries, reference compilations, and periodical resources (approximately 50 different sources) in Japan. The version that we are subscribing to, JapanKnowledge+NK, also includes Nihon Kokugo Dai Jiten (N), the largest Japanese language dictionary, and Kokushi Dai Jiten (K)Koji Ruien (古事類苑) with search function and the whole Koten Bungaku raiburarii  (古典文学ライブラ リー). A few years ago, Nihon jinbutsu bunkei mokuroku (日本人物文献目録) and Nihon kakou denshou jinmei jiten (日本架空伝承人名事典) has also been added. It also includes full text online articles from Shuukan Ekonomisuto (週刊エコノミスト) published on Mondays. Toyo Bunko (The Eastern Library series), The Complete Collection of Japanese Classical Literature, and Gunsho Ruiju series are sorted according to group headings of their original source or category.

Kikuzo II
(Accessible on campus only. Click “Enter (SSL)”. If you want to read today’s articles, add today’s date in both columns.)

Database which enables the user to search and read articles carried by The Asahi Shimbun (and Shukan Asahi and Aera) over the past 130 years. Along with "Historical Photo Archives", articles from the Meiji, the Taisho, and the Showa era have been included to the current database. To read the most recent articles of Asahi Shinbun (+ Shukan Asahi and Aera), select today’s date in the box of 発行日 and select “のみ”. Shukan Asahi is published on Fridays and Aera is on Mondays.

Nikkei Telecom 21 
(Available on and off campus. Click 'Log-in' after ticking the terms and conditions agreement button and then click on 'SETSUZOKU'.)

Comprehensive online business database covering Nihon Keizai Shinbun and related newspapers and other publications. The service includes full text search of Nikkei's four business newspapers, company information search, Who's Who search and Time Nikkei flash news. There is an English menu which provides not only round-the-clock Nikkei news translated from the Nikkei's newspapers but also full contents of the Nikkei Weekly which is an English paper published by Nikkei. Not searchable by keyword from text.

Yomidasu Rekishikan
Only previous day's and older articles from the Yomiuri Shinbun are accessible online via this service. Available on and off campus (with Raven password). On the first screen, choose “Heisei” then in the search screen, choose “一致” instead of “範囲” in the 検索期間(search period) box and then add the date of the previous day (yesterday).



Denshi Jisho
Lets you find words, kanji and example sentences by searching in many ways. The dictionaries are also interlinked so that you can check what the kanji in a word mean individually or what context a word can be used in. You can also look up kanji by their compounds. Gives reference number to Daikanwa Jiten (Morohashi), Remember the Kanji etc. Gives Chinese and Korean readings. Lists kanji by stoke numbers.

Aimed at Japanese people.

Jim Breen's WWWJDICWhen looking up a character it gives readings and many compounds that includes the character each with English translation. Provides links to other dictionaries and resources for each compound. Character etymology, Chinese character genealogy can be found for each character in the compound when clicking on 'Examine'.

Goo (Sanseidō) Online Dictionary
Aimed at Japanese people. Search possible in English-Japanese, Japanese-English or Japanese-Japanese (国語辞典)(or all three simultaniously). When searching for a character it gives many compounds.

Multilingual Japanese dictionary for iPhone and iPad touch devices. It offers dictionary/kanji and example sentences. Full offline use.

Aimed at Japanese people. Has iPhone apps.

English-Japanese, Japanese-English. Useful for quick word search.

PeraPera Japanese pop-up dictionary
Highly recommended Firefox add-on. Put your mouse over any Japanese words on a webpage and it gives you the pronunciation and English definition. NB. At the moment (August 2015) only works with the older version of Firefox. It is not compatible with Firefox 40. If you have Firefox 40, download Rikai-chan instead which is similar to Perapera.

Firefox add-on that helps you read Japanese text online. Similar to PeraPera and works with Firefox 40. Easy to install and use. This plugin is powered by the WWWJDIC, so you will get identical definitions as long as the dictionary file is kept up-to-date. Fairly good with people and place names. Can detect that verbs are conjugated and displays them in simple present tense. For video introduction to Rikai-chan by Susanna Fessler click HERE.

Japanese-English and English-Japanese. Includes Classical Japanese search, Name search, Specialized search. Its Kanji search gives you stroke orders, meanings of each compund with links to Nelson and other dictionaries.

Weblio Jisho
Aimed at Japanese people.



JAIRO (Japanese Institutional Repositories Online)
An electronic archive system which accumulates and stores intellectual products of Japanese academic institutions in electronic form and discloses them free of charge. Includes journal articles, thesis, disssertations, departmental bulletin papers, research papers etc. The metadata can be searched cross-sectionally. In October 2008 it contained 540,000 contents from 84 Japanese institutional repositories.

J-Stage (Japan Scince and Technology Information Aggregator, Electronic)
In Japanese and in English. Contains free leading scholarly online journals and proceedings mainly in science and technology but includes some articles in Humanities and social sciences.

Zasshi kiji sakuin 
Important research tool for finding journal articles. It is a major index to scholarly journals, academic bulletins and magazines published in Japan and held in the NDL. It contains citations of journal articles, and NOT the full text articles themselves. Since it is not a 24 hour service, beware of the time difference! 


FREE E-RESOURCES for research

Aozora Bunko
Aozora Bunko has made 4000 Japanese ebooks available from its public domain archive via the Internet Archive's OPen Library. Titles include famous japanese authors (e.g. Natsume Soseki, Mori Ogai, Akutagawa, Osamu Dazai, Murasaki Shikibu etc.) Searchable in Japanese ot English.

Ajia Rekishi Shiryo Senta (JACAR: Japan Center for Asian Historical Records)
(アジア歴史資料センター)in Japanese ; in English
Digital archive of primary sources. This site provides access to official documents, dating from the Meiji era through 1945, of the Japanese Cabinet, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the Army and Navy. In an effort to share history as it has been documented, JACAR's archives showcase the original records, including full images of the documents, all in digitized form, on an unprecedented scale.Can be browsed & searchable by keywords.

Cambridge Digital Library - Japanese Works
Eighteen important Japanese publications from the Japanese collections in the Cambridge University Library have been digitized and can be viewed here. It includes four Darani 陀羅尼 (dhāraņī) which are among the oldest publications in the world. The digitization project also includes Daibirushana jōbutsukyō sho by Yi Xing 一行 (683-727) and the two volume Saga-bon 嵯峨本 edition (one of the early movable type editions) of Ise Monogatari

Digital Library from the Meiji Era
(近代デジタルライブラリー (National Diet Library)
251,00o volumes from the Meiji and Taisho era are available over the Internet. Excludes Showa Zenki (138,000 volumes).

Early Photography of Japan 
Early Photography of Japan is a virtual collection of more than 40 souvenir photograph albums and illustrated publications with over 2,000 images from Widener Library, the Fine Arts Library, and Harvard-Yenching Library. These images primarily document the early history of commercial photography in Japan and are representative of what is often called Japanese tourist photography or Yokohama shashin. They reflect the Western image of traditional Japanese culture before the dramatic transformation brought about by modernization during the Meiji period (1868-1912).

Japanese Bibliography
Published online by Columbia University. Listed materials are intended as a guide to the Japanese bibliography and reference materials in the C. V. Starr East Asian Library, to which all call numbers refer. Provides an excellent introduction to Japanese reference material in Premodern History, places, people, dictionaries, and on various subjects.

Japanese Classic Literature Genji Net (古典総合研究所)
This Research Institute is based in Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo. It's focus is on creating text database for the Genji Monogatari, developing programs to perform quantitative analysis of the database as well as automatic word analysis and automatic quote analysis.

Japanese Literature in Translation
The database covers Japanese literary works translated into other languages mainly from the end of World War II to the 1990s. It is searchable by author, title, translator, or other keywords. Terms may be input in either Japanese or roman letters.

Keio Associated Repository of Academic Resources (KOARA)
This institutional repository includes University bulletines, dissertations (PhDs and Masters), research papers, grants-in-aid for scientific research report.

Keio University Digital Gallery
of rare books and Special Collections.

Kokubungaku Kenkyu Shiryokan Denshi Shiryokan 
Database of classical Japanese texts produced by The National Institute of Japanese Literature (NJIL). including P. Kornicki Oshu shozai Nihon kosho sogo mokuroku

National Diet Library Digital Library from the Meiji Era
Provides copyright -cleared books and periodicals published in and after 1868 on the Internet.

Nihon Bijutsu Gaho (日本美術画報)
is being digitized into a searchable online resource. This will prove to be a very useful place to go not only for modern art specialists, but also for
pre-modern experts interested in the development of the
Japanese art historical canon, or those looking for images of artworks
now lost, or even just to get an idea of what people were saying about
certain artworks a century ago.


FREE E-RESOURCES for undergraduates

Bibliography of Japanese History up to 1912

Bridge to Japan
Provides useful links to Japanese information resources. The list includes links to computer and software sites related to the Japanese language, Japanese search engines, on-line Japanese bookshops, directories to libraries, companies, organisations in the UK and in Japan, postcode search, telephone directory, language-learning related websites, radio stations, Shinto encyclopaedia and many more.

Cambridge University Language Centre - Japanese

Fessler's Guide to Japanese Research and bibliography methods for undergraduates
Essential website to undergraduate students of Japanese. Provides valuable information on online and print dictionaries and how to use them, on the structure of kanji (translated from Japanese as this information is unavailable in English), all you need to know about calligraph, citation of CJK bibliography etc.

Fessler's guide to Japanese research and bibliography methods for undergraduates on YouTube
The above information is available on YouTube here.

Hiragana megane
When entering a web page, it puts readings of all kanji in hiragana above the characters.

Japan Web Navigator
Created by Japan Information Network. Covers news, government and politics, business/economy, travel, science, education and a whole lot more Information on study in Japan is also found

Japanese Text Initiative
(from the University of Virginia and the University of Pittburgh)
Collection of online texts of classical Japanese literature in Japanese characters. Primary audience is English-speaking scholars and students. Where possible, the Japanese texts will be accompanied by English translations. Includes dictionary.

ZOTERO (Japanese compatible)
Free reference management tool for writing dissertations, thesis.