Electronic Resources

Resources marked with this symbol are restricted to Columbia affiliates.


  • CLIO
    Columbia's online catalog which contains records for almost all materials, including books, periodicals, microforms, and databases.  Most of Japanese language materials are cataloged both in Japanese language as well as translitelation of Japanese in romanization in the modified Hepburn System employed by the Library of Congress.  It is more effective to search by romanization rather than Japanese, but pay attention to word divisions.
  • WorldCat (OCLC)
    An online catalog of the 24,000 member libraries of OCLC. WorldCat has over 49 million titles, including books, serials, musical scores and recordings, and maps.  It also contains the majority of Waseda University's holdings. This catalog is useful for finding Japanese name readings.
  • Webcat
    A union catalog of 670 academic libraries in Japan, maintained by the National Institute for Informatics (NII). With Webcat, you can search for books and journals held in university library collections throughout Japan.  Webcat contains almost 42 million titles.  Due to a delay in retrospective conversion of card catalogs, this database does not reflect the entirety of members' holdings.
  • Webcat Plus
    A  “second-generation Webcat,” this database uses an “associative search function” that uses keywords to extract other words from the bibliographic records that have a high association with them.  Like Webcat, it also provides Japanese library holding information (useful for ILL).
  • National Diet Library (NDL 国立国会図書館)OPAC
    Search materials (books, journal articles, "Standards & Technical Reports, Materials on the Allied Occupation of Japan), held by the National Diet Library.
  • NDL -New Search
    “NDL Search” is a new search service of NDL from 2012 for multi-types of materials, not only books and journal articles but also digital materials,  from in public libraries, archives, museums, institutes of academic research and NDL in Japan. Please note: Columbia does not participate in ILL for books with NDL.  NDL will, however, provide photocopied articles to Columbia.
  • NDL Kindai Degitaru Raiburarī (近代デジタルライブラりー) (Digital Library from the Meiji Era)
    This new online tool allows users to access full-text versions of over 30,000 Meiji period books in the collection of the National Diet Library.  Books from the Taishō Period are now in progress.
  • Waseda University Scholarly Information Network System (WINE)
    WINE is the Waseda University Library online catalog.  Although it contains 2.9 million records, WINE does not reflect the library's complete holdings. This catalog is useful for finding Japanese name readings.
  • Books.or.jp(本を探す) (Search Engine for Japanese Books)
    Online "Japanese Books in Print" contains Japanese books currently available from commercial publishers and is maintained by the Japan Book Publishers Association.
  • List of special collections in Japan (全国特殊コレクションリスト)

Getting Japanese Books

To obtain a copy of a book you have located on the above catalogs/databases, try the following steps:

  1. Go to CLIO (Columbia Library Information Online) to see if it is available in one of the Columbia libraries. 
  2. If a book is not at Columbia or the Columbia copy is checked out,  try Borrow Direct
  3. If the Borrow Direct libraries do not have an available copy, try ILL to request a copy. 

Note: Columbia is a member of GIF (Global ILL Framework), which allows us to borrow books and get copies of articles from GIF member libraries in Japan.

Early Japanese Books (古典籍)

  • Nihon Kotenseki Sōgō Mokuroku
    A database of pre-Meiji materials maintained by the National Institute of Japanese Literature (Kokubungaku Kenkyu Shiryōkan). This database, “New KOKUSHO SO MOKUROKU” is a union catalogue of early Japanese books. (It also includes Chinese classics and books of the Meiji period). It provides authoritative information about Japanese classical literary works and their authors. It also provide bibliographic information on early Japanese books, and their holding libraries.

Kotenseki Databases


  • Premodern Japanese Texts and Translations
    Edited and individually maintained by Michael Watson, Faculty of International Studies, Meiji Gakuin University, this website contains an exhaustive list of classical Japanese texts, along with related translations (mostly English, some French and German) and studies on the texts.
  • Japanese Literature in Translation Search (日本文学翻訳書誌検 索)                                                                         The database is compiled by the Japan Foundation in collaboration with the Japan P.E.N. Club for Japanese literature, mainly works after the World War II, which are translated into other languages.  Search can be made in Japanese or its Romanization.


Journal Articles

  • Zasshi kiji sakuin shūsei dētabēsu : Meiji kara genzai made sōgō zasshi kara chishi made = The complete database for Japanese magazines and periodicals from the Meiji era to the present.
    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.
  • GeNii/CiNii
    GeNii is NII's academic content portal, providing services related to academic papers, book information, etc.  In addition to providing individual services, GeNii connects the services together. Component parts are: CiNii (Citation information by NII), Webcat Plus, KAKEN, NII-DBR (Academic research database repository). It contains about 3 million full-text articles from 1000 published academic journals as well as bibliographic information on other academic papers.
  • Web OYA-bunko
    WebOya indexes periodicals held by the Ōya Sōichi bunko, a private library in Tokyo with a comprehensive collection of popular journals reflecting popular culture in Japan. Provides basic and advanced Boolean searching, as well as classified searches by personal names, occupation, subject, and keyword. Indexes 400 titles including 110,000 personal name and 7,000 subject headings. Coverage: 1988- present.
  • Kokubungaku Ronbun Mokuroku Database
    Periodical article index to Kokubungaku Nenkan. Provides citations to journal articles and books with subjects related to Japanese literature.


  • Asahi shinbun onrain kiji dētabēsu
    (also known as: Kikuzo 2 Visual, Asahi shinbun articles online database)
    Asahi shinbun newspaper articles from 1879 to the present.
  • Nikkei Telecom 21
    All major Japanese newspapers (central, local, and English newspapers) from the mid 1980s. 
  • Yomiuri shinbun online
    (Also known as Yomidasu Rekishikan)
    Includes Yomiuri shinbun 1874 to the present , along with the English edition: the Daily Yomiuri (Sept. 1989- to the present).
  • Taiwon nichinichi shinpō
    An official newspaper published by the Government-General of Taiwan from 1898 to 1944.
  • Kobe University Library Newspaper Clippings Collection
    The "Newspaper Article Collection", also known as the "newspaper clippings collection," is a collection of newspaper clippings from the end of the Meiji era to Showa 45 (i.e. 1970).  It was created by the Research Institute for Economics and Business Administration, Kobe, Japan.  There are approximately 3200 clippings, collected continuously for over 60 years.  If you count articles, the number of items increases to approximately 500,000 articles.

Institutional Repositories


  • WhoPlus (Nichigai)
    Biographical information (both historical and current) of more than 420,000 Japanese (some non-Japanese).  Allows for cross-searching with WHO and Jinbutsu Jōhō Kontentsu.

Dictionaries & Encyclopedias


  • BlueSky Collection (青空文庫)
    A collection of non-copyright-protected Japanese literary works, available for download in several file formats.
  • Japan Knowledge Plus
    Tōyō bunko (東洋文庫) and Shinpen Nihon Koten Bungaku Zenshū (新編日本古典文学全集) series - research collection on Asian history and culture (v. 1-692) and Japanese classice literature (still in progress) -. Available in full text
    Shinpen Nihon koten bungaku zenshū - eventually entire 51 vols. will be added.
  • E-text Server
    Maintained by the library at RyuKyu University, this server provides links to other Japanese universities with electronic resources.
  • Japanese Text Initiative (Universities of Virginia/Pittsburgh)
    This website contains full-text versions of several works of classical Japanese literature, including the Manyoshu, Genji Monogatari, etc.
  • Mokkan Database
    Maintained by the Nara Cultural Properties Research Institute (Nara Bunkazai kenkyujo), this website is a full-text database of over 30,000 mokkan (wooden tablets) dating to the Nara and Heian periods. The database also provides relevant archaeological informaton, i.e., where and when the item was unearthed.

Image Databases

  • Tohoku University, Kano Bunko
    This database contains about 3,500 images from 200 titles, and reflects the personal collection of Kano Kokichi, a Meiji period academic.
  • Kyoto University Digital Library Rare Materials Exhibition
    An image data of national treasures, important cultural assets, and other digitized materials, maintained by Kyoto University.
  • National Diet Library Digitized Contents
    The National Diet Library's online database of images from rare books and nishiki-e.
  • Tsukuba University
    Tsukuba University's online listing of images from the library rare book collection, along with nishiki-e.
  • Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum
    A nishiki-e database and search engine maintained by the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum at Waseda University.
  • Old Photographs of Bakumatsu Meiji
    A collection of about 5,400 photographs from the Bakumatsu and Meiji periods (1860-1899) maintained by Nagasaki University.
  • Mainichi PhotoBank
    The largest digital image database in Japan, the Mainichi PhotoBank contains over 120,000 photographs from the prewar era, and over 200,000 photographs since 1998.
  • Yomiuri Photo Database
    This photographic database contains Yomiuri Shimbun photographs from the 1950s to the present. Since this is a relatively new electronic resource, look for more material to be added in the future.

Government & Statistics

  • Government Web Server
    A list/diagram of the current ministries of the Japanese government, along with links to their homepages.
  • Kokkai Kaigiroku
    A database and search engine for the records of the National Diet.
  • JACAR (Japan Center for Asian Historical Records)
    JACAR is a database of Japanese government documents relating to Asia. It combines resources held by the National Archives of Japan, the Diplomatic Record Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Library of the National Institute for Defense Studies. It contains over 160,000 searchable items (2,300,000 images total). The search engine utilizes a related keyword search, which allows users to search ALL the items in the same fashion using Japanese or English.
  • Local Governments
    A web page containing links to prefectural and municipal government homepages throughout Japan.
  • Statistics Bureau and Statistics Center
    Statistics compiled by government offices, including population information and the national census.

Libraries & Institutions

Other Links

  • Universities
    A web page that provides links to Japanese universities. Searchable by prefecture and university name.
  • Libraries
    Links to university libraries throughout Japan, (including technical schools and junior colleges), organized by prefecture.
  • Academic Societies
    Links to all academic societies throughout Japan. This web page is maintained by the National Institute for Informatics.
  • Publishers
    An alphabetical list of links to the web pages of all Japanese publishers.
  • Media
    A links page dedicated to newspaper, broadcast, and communication companies.
  • Linguistics Web Sites
    An individually-maintained web page, this site lists links to sites and institutions related to the study of Japanese language.
  • Humanities Web Sites
    An individually maintained web page, this site lists links to sites and institutions related to the study of the humanities in Japan.
  • Philosophical WWW in Japan
    An individually maintained web page that lists links to sites related to the study of philosophy, ethics, and religion as related to Japan.