The Japanese Collection at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign started as one of the language collections in the Far Eastern Library in 1920's. At the outset of genuine language collection, 1800 volumes of Joseph K. Yamagiwa Collection was purchased in 1969 to enhance Japanese materials. As Asian Library was organized with reforming East Asian and South Asian collection in 1979, Japanese collection became collecting more distinctive subjects rather than language materials. Over decades, Japanese studies librarians have built up one of solid collections in the mid-west according to the development of Japanese studies programs on campus. Its strength lies mostly in the humanities and the social sciences with important holdings in literature, history, philosophy, religion, theater, business and economics. Japanese collection holdings are approximately 70,000 volumes, 150 serials titles, and 500 microform items (as of spring 2009).
The collection primarily supports the research and courses of the faculty and students in the Japanese studies programs at University of Illinois, but simultaneously, it gives emphasis to collect materials in unique subjects. Approximately 2000 volumes of books and journals on Jewish Studies in Japan were donated by emeritus professor Masanori Miyazawa of Doshisha Joshi University, Japan in 2004. This collection is presently the only one of its kind both in Japan and in North America. Other materials that we focus on are early modern newspapers, materials related Japanese colonialism and pre-modern history and literature.
Japanese collection is located in the Asian Library, 3 rd floor in the Main Library. It is searchable by University library OPAC with Japanese characters and/or Romanized Japanese, and available via Interlibrary loan.