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Library Catalogs and Databases for Japanese Materials

Helpful Information

Library Resources

Language Resources


Steve Witt

International & Area Studies Library
Associate Professor
University Library
Center for Global Studies, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

311 Main Library

Lists of useful references to find books, databases and articles

Find Books

Refer to the catalogs below to find books in Japanese.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Online Library Catalog


Searching WorldCat can often provide better search results when using Kanji or Romaji.  In addition, WorldCat provides holdings information and ILL links to libraries around the world.  In recent years, Waseda University and Keio University in Japan have begun to include records in this database as well.

NDL-OPAC (National Diet Library, Japan; 国立国会図書館OPAC)

You can use the “Use Search Option Only (検索機能のみを利用する)” by logging in as a guest under “Users without Registered User ID (登録利用者IDが無い方)”. Simple search by keyword can also be done from the 簡易検索 (Simple Search) option.

NII Webcat Plus (国立情報学研究所)

This catalog by National Institute of Informatics (NII) is very interactive and gives different options to search materials and create virtual personalized book shelf.

  • Simple Search: Materials can be searched under the criteria of books, works or person.
  • Associative Search: Associative search process takes any given query and finds out documents that are close to the given search condition, based on the degree of overlap of words.

CiNii Books

CiNii is a Scholarly and Academic Information Navigator for searching books and journals held by university libraries in Japan.

Early Japanese Books (日本古典籍総合目録)

This database is from National Institute of Japanese Literature to search early Japanese Books.


The detailed, full list of over 25 fee-based and open access databases for Japanese studies is available HERE.  Below are some of the major databases available through the library or open access.


Asahi Shimbun Cross-Search Alternate Name(s): Kikuzo II Visual

The Asahi Shimbun Cross-Search is an online database of the Asahi Newspaper company, featuring articles, advertisements, and images.  It is the largest newspaper article database in Japan, permitting searches of 15 million articles and advertisements from more than 135 years of the newspaper, from its first edition in 1879 (Meiji 12) to today.

Japan Times Digital Archive, The

The Japan Times Digital Archive features the best, easy-to-use interface available for discovering deep archive content of any Japanese newspaper (English or Japanese). The online search tools allow users to search the Main newspaper, Extra issues, Supplements or All issues by Imperial Period (Meiji, Taishō, Shōwa, Heisei), publications dates, and keywords.


  • The Japan Times to previous year
  • Japan Advertiser (1913-1940)
  • Japan Times and Mail (1918-1940)
  • Japan Times and Advertiser (1940)
  • Japan Times & Advertiser (1941-1942)
  • Japan Times Advertiser (1942)
  • Nippon Times (1943-1956)

Japan Chronicle Online (1900 – 1940)

The English-language Japan Chronicle Weekly (1900–1940) is the newspaper of record for Japan’s engagement with modernity and its emergence, through war, political and social upheaval and seismic social change in East Asia, onto the world stage in the first half of the twentieth century. Historians of East Asia have long seen the Japan Chronicle as a uniquely valuable resource.This collection includes the Kobe Weekly Chronicle (1900-1901) the predecessor of the Japan Chronicle Weekly.

Japan News Week Online – (1938 – 1940)

American Japan News-Week was the last independent, foreign-owned English-language newspaper published in Japan. This exclusive holding runs from the first issue in November 1938 to within 6 months of the newspaper’s closure and the arrest of Wills and Argyll by Japanese ‘Special’ ( Tokko) police in early December 1941, the night before Pearl Harbor, on a charge of espionage.

Maisaku (Mainichi Shinbun Online Database)

The Mainichi Shimbun is the one of 3 major Japanese newspapers and the oldest daily newspaper. Provides the following: Mainichi Shimbun (1872+); Weekly Economist (1989+; images in reduced size edition is available from 1989-1999); and The Mainichi (English) (2008+). Can also browse today’s news and breaking news.

Yomiuri Shinbun via Yomidas Rekishikan

Includes the full text of the Yomiuri Shinbun, from its initial publication in 1874 to date for coverage of the Meiji, Taisho, Showa, Heisei, and Reiwa eras.
The database includes a  full text of the Daily Yomiuri, its English language equivalent, and a biographical dictionary of modern Japanese figures. Articles are keyword indexed to 8/31/1986, and can be searched full-text from 9/1/1986 to present.

Magazine and Journal Articles:

English Language

Bibliography of Asian Studies

This on-line version of the Bibliography of Asian Studies (BAS) contains 787,165 records on all subjects (especially in the humanities and the social sciences) pertaining to East, Southeast, and South Asia published worldwide from 1971 to the present… In addition to entries compiled since 1997, the online BAS includes the full data of all of the printed volumes of the BAS issued from the 1971 up to the 1991 volumes (published in 1997)… Through the 1991 printed volume, the BAS included citations to Western-language periodical articles, monographs, chapters in edited volumes, conference proceedings, anthologies, and Festschriften, etc. Monographs published since 1992, however, have not been added to the database, and users seeking such monographs are urged to consult other general resources and databases such as WorldCat…

Historical Abstracts

Covers the history of the world (excluding the United States and Canada) from 1450 to the present, including world history, military history, women’s history, history of education, and more. Provides indexing of more than 1,700 academic historical journals in over 40 languages back to 1955.
JSTOR provides access to over 12 million journal articles, books, and primary sources in multiple disciplines.  The database contains many journals focused on Japanese and Asian Studies.

Project Muse

Full-text articles from more than 200 scholarly journals in history and the humanities, the social sciences, and the sciences. Disciplines covered include literature and criticism, history, the visual and performing arts, cultural studies, education, political science, gender studies, economics, and many others.

Japanese Language

Zassaku Plus

Index to periodical articles published in Japanese, including those in former Japanese colonies, and including local periodicals not present in many other indexes. Coverage is from 1868 onwards. Merges data from various composite periodical indexes by Kokuritsu Kokkai Toshokan.


Indexes 14,000 periodicals published in Japan after World War II and 6000 volumes of collected works. Periodicals include scholarly titles from the National Diet Library’s Zasshi kiji sakuin, 1975- ; popular magazines indexed in Jānaru indekkesu, 1981- ; 1300 Japanese economic and business magazines, 1981-1995; and 60 overseas business magazines, 1984- . Areas covered include the humanities, social sciences, and science and technology. The Gakkai nenpō ronbunshū file indexes articles in university annuals in the social sciences and humanities, essays in commemorative works, conference papers, and books published by research organizations, 1945-1992; and annuals, research reports and books published by scholarly associations, 1945-1995

CiNii Articles

For searching academic articles published in academic society journals, university research bulletins or articles included in National Diet Library’s Japanese Periodicals Index Database

NDL-OPAC Articles

Search articles and news by selecting the 記事.論文 tab.

Dictionary and Encyclopedia

JapanKnowledge (Online collection of dictionaries and encyclopedia)

JapanKnowledge Lib is an online web archive that boasts the largest corpus of encyclopedia, dictionaries, reference compilations, and periodical resources (approximately 50 different sources) in Japan. The basic search system facilitates cross-referencing throughout all the sources in the collection is quite simple to use, but at the same time includes an original faceted navigation function for users to focus their particular searches in specific reference sources. This allows for greater detailed indexing.

Note: Access available from computers with Illinois IP address. Use library’s proxy authentication for off-campus access. Further information and instructions for use can be found on a LibGuide at http://uiuc.libguides.com/JapanKnowledge


University of Tokyo, Doctoral Dissertation Database (東京大学学位論文データベース)

Primary Source Materials

This module focuses on Western perspectives of Japanese political, cultural and social history of Japan from 1400 to the 20th century via primary sources by writers, diplomats, tourists, businessmen, missionaries and others.
Edward Sylvester Morse Papers were given to the Peabody Museum in 1926 and consist of 99 boxes of personal and professional papers including diaries, correspondence, research files, drawings, lecture notes, publications, scrapbooks and manuscripts. Collection digitized in its entirety. Papers (ca. 1858-1925, 40 cubic feet), document the numerous and valuable contributions made by Morse to the areas of malacology, zoology, ethnology, archaeology and art history. Included are diaries, scrapbooks, correspondence, research files, drawings, manuscripts, publications and teaching materials and drawings.