The Japanese Collection at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign started as one of the language collections in the Far Eastern Library in the 1920's.
In 1969, 1,800 volumes of Joseph K. Yamagiwa Collection were purchased to enhance the Japanese collection. As the Asian Library was formed at the University Library in 1979, the Japanese Collection began focusing on more distinctive subjects rather than language materials. Over decades, Japanese studies librarians have built one of the most solid collections in the Midwest alongside the development of the Japanese studies programs on campus. Its strength lies mostly in the humanities and social sciences with key holdings in literature, history, philosophy, religion, theater, business and economics. Japanese collection holdings are approximately 86,000 volumes, 150 serial titles, and over 1,000 microform items (as of Fall 2014).
The Collection primarily supports faculty and student research and classes taught in the Japanese studies programs at the University of Illinois, but simultaneously, it emphasizes collection of materials in unique subjects. Approximately 2,000 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 currently 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.
The Japanese Collection is one of the area collections that makes up the International and Area Studies Library. Japanese serials and the reference collection are available for in library use in the reading room of the International and Area Studies Library (Room 321 Main Library). The circulating collection is located on the 7th through 9th decks of the Main Stacks. The collection is searchable via the University Library online catalog with Japanese characters and/or Romanized Japanese, and available via Interlibrary loan.