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, 1800 volumes of Joseph K. Yamagiwa Collection was purchased to enhance Japanese materials. As the Asian Library was formed at the University Library in 1979 reorganizing East Asian and South Asian collections, the Japanese Collection began collecting more distinctive subject rather than language materials. Over decades, Japanese studies librarians have built one of the most solid collections in the Midwest alongside the development of 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 83,000 volumes, 150 serial titles, and over 1000 microform items (as of Fall 2012).
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 by University library OPAC with Japanese characters and/or Romanized Japanese, and available via Interlibrary loan.