Japanese Studies

Contact Your Librarian

  • Toshie Marra
  • Photo of Toshie Marra


  • Office Hours: M-F 9-5, by appointment
  • Office Location: #322 C. V. Starr East Asian Library
  • Contact Info:


About this Guide

This subject guide points to library's print and electronic sources for research on Japanese studies, especially in humanities and social sciences

Japanese Collection Overview

The Japanese collection at the C. V. Starr East Asian Library comprises over 404,000 volumes and over 1,200 current periodical titles. It supports the teaching and research needs of the Berkeley campus in all areas of Japanese studies across the social sciences and humanities. The collection is especially strong in Japanese history, art history, Buddhism, literature, anthropology, sociology, and political science. The materials written in Western languages on Japan are located in the Gardner (Main) Stacks of the Doe Library and other subject libraries on campus.

The Library’s specialized holdings include:

Murakami Collection (8,850 volumes): Originally collected by Murakami Hamakichi (b.1885), author of Meiji bungaku shomoku 『明治文学書目』, and intended to serve as a primary source for the study of the Meiji era. Most works date to the Meiji era. Belles letters, including popular fiction and translations of western works, are particularly well represented; other subject areas include political economy, social criticism, history, philosophy, and religion. The Library also has microfiche reproduction of selected materials from this collection, which was published as a part of Meijiki kankōbutsu shūsei 『明治期刊行物集成』. Use Meijiki kankōbutsu shūsei bungaku gengo sōmokuroku 『明治期刊行物集成文学言語総目錄』(Ref. PL726.6A12 M46 1996) for paging individual materials.

Edo Printed Books Collection (ca. 5,000 titles in 16,000 volumes): Many titles from the Mitsui Collection. Accessible through Nihon Kotenseki Sōgō Mokuroku Dētabēsu 日本古典籍総合目録データベース(国文学研究資料館提供) and the printed catalog: Mitsui bunko kyūzō Edo hanpon shomoku: Kariforunia Daigaku Bakurē-kō shozō 『三井文庫旧蔵江戸版本書目: カリフォルニア大学バークレー校所蔵』(Yumani Shobō, 1990).

Japanese Manuscripts Collection (2,877 titles in approximately seven thousand volumes): Ranging in date from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. Subject areas include literature, tea ceremony, memoirs, and history. Originally collected by Mitsui Takatatsu (1845-1922) and Dohi Keizō (1866-1931). Accessible through “Kariforunia Daigaku Bakure-kō kyū Mitsui Bunko shahon mokuroku kō”「カリフォルニア大学バークレー校旧三井文庫写本目録稿」(Chōsa kenkyū hōkoku 5 (Mar. 1984): p. 261-340).

Japanese Historical Maps Collection (2,300 woodblock, copperplate, and manuscript maps): Dating from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries. Originally collected by Mitsui Takakata (1867-1950), the collection contains over two hundred maps of Edo and an impressive number of maps of the Kyoto area. A portion of the collection has been digitized by David Rumsey and Cartography Associates and is available for viewing online at the Japanese Historical Maps website.

Sugoroku Collection (Approximately 150 sugoroku sheets): Some with the original wrappers in which they were marked, collected by Mitsui Takakatsu (1845-1922). Most date to the Meiji era and are secular in content. The collection has been digitized by the Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University and is available for viewing online from here or through David Rumsey's website.

Ho-Chiang Collection of Buddhist Sutras (This collection of woodblock and manuscript sutras contains approximately fifty-seven Japanese scripts.): Dating from the eighth century to the nineteenth, including exapmles of Kasuga-ban. Originally collected by Ho Kuang-chung and his wife, Chiang Chen-yu. The Japanese portion of the collection has been cataloged in “Kariforunia Daigaku Higashi Ajia Toshokan-zō kokyō korekushon mokuroku kō” 「カリフォルニア大学東アジア図書館蔵―古経コレクション目録稿」(Seishin Joshi Daigaku ronsō 94 (Jan. 2000): p. 111-171).

Mitsui Tinies Collection (574 titles, in many more volumes): Nearly all date to the Meiji era; average volume height is approximately twelve centimeters. Subject matter includes belles letters and classics, history, and travel. Accessible through an in-house card file.

Meiji Shōka Collection (110 volumes of songbooks and song sheets, many illustrated): The collection focused on children’s songs and military songs.

New Acquisitions in Japanese Studies

With OskiCat, new acquisitions lists are updated daily. The 15 most recent items in Japanese Studies are listed below while the full list of materials cataloged in the past 60 days can be viewed at the following site.

**Links open in a new window**

Quick Links

Other Guides

Here is a list of course guides available on Japan:


Before You Begin Your Research

Before you begin your research, you might want to check the following points for basics:

Portals to Web Sites and Databases

Here is a short list of useful resources for navigating through web sites and databases--often not searchable with major search engines. The list also includes archives of web sites.

Japanese Language Dictionaries

Here is a short list of basic dictionaries for Japanese language:

Japanese Historical Language Dictionaries

Here is a short list of Japanese historical dictionaries and guides to them:

Biographical Information

Here is a short list of sources for checking biographical information of Japanese persons:

Texts and Translations

Following resources are useful to locate citations for texts and translations:

Following are selected sources that offer online texts:

Statistics and Data

Here is a short list of resources for statistics and other data on Japan:

Connecting from Off Campus

To use library databases from off campus you have to set up the proxy server: this changes your browser settings.

Citation Management Tools

Citation management tools help you manage your research, collect and cite sources, and create bibliographies in a variety of citation styles.  Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, but any are easier than doing it by hand!

  1. Zotero: A free plug-in that works exclusively with the Firefox browser: keeps copies of what you find on the web, permits tagging, notation, full text searching of your library of resources, works with Word, and has a free web backup service.
  2. RefWorks - free for UC Berkeley users. It allows you to create your own database by importing references and using them for footnotes and bibliographies. Use the RefWorks New User Form to sign up.
  3. EndNote: may be purchased from UC Berkeley's Software Central.

It's always good to double check the formatting -- sometimes the software doesn't get it quite right.

Making a Research Trip to Japan

If you are planning a research trip to Japan, you might want to bring with you a letter of introduction to access to Japanese libraries. Please contact Toshie Marra for more information.

You might also find the following research guides useful for preparion of your research trip to Japan:

Library Catalogs

For books and e-books offered by the UC Berkeley Library, consult the Library's Find Books and E-Books page first. In the U.S.-based catalogs such as OskiCat, Japanese language materials can be searched either using original Japanese scripts (ひらがな, カタカナ, 漢字) or the modified Hepburn Romanization (transliteration) system. LC (Library of Congress) and ALA (American Library Association) Romanization Table for Japanese offers detailed explanation of the guidelines that most U.S. libraries follow when romanizing Japanese materials.

In Melvyl, WorldCat, etc., click on the REQUEST or UC-eLinks button for Inter-library loan requests. UC Berkeley faculty, registered graduate students, and staffs can also borrow materials from Stanford University Library through Research Library Cooperative Program (RLCP). For requesting materials from Stanford University Library, please use RLCP Borrowing Request forms.

For books held by libraries in Japan, use the following databases to locate materials:

Japanese Books on Market

Here is a short list of sources for finding materials available on the market for Japanese studies:

Book Reviews and Criticisms

Here is a short list of sources of reviews and criticims from scholarly journals, magazines, and newspapers. Search Tips: For searching book reviews in Japanese, you might want to include the word 書評 in the query; critical reviews are often found in core journals of specific fields (see "Articles" tab for selected lists of journals).

Article Databases

Here is a short list of useful articles databases for Japanese studies. Note that many of these sources only index journal articles -- they don't actually have the full text. Use the gold "UC-eLinks" button to do an automated search to find the full text.

Selected Print Article Indexes

Selected Journals (Western Languages)

Here is a list of major journals in Western languages covering the field of Japanese studies, many of which are availble both online and print:

Selected Journals (Japanese)

Here is a list of selected journals in Japanese studies, including those subscribed by the Library and those freely available on the web. If you wish to browse latest table of contents of other journals, RSS feed is available from 雑誌記事索引採録誌一覧 page provided by the National Diet Library.



Art/Art Histoty


Library & Information Science/Biliographical Studies


Music/Performing Arts


Political Science/Economics/Law

Newspaper Article Databases

Here is a short list of newspaper article databases for Japanese newspapers: 

 Selected Print Sources

Special News Sources

Here is a list of special news resources:



Art/Art History






Political Science/Economics/Law

Library and Union Catalogs

Directory of Overseas Collections of Old and Rare Japanese Books, Other Print Materials, and Manuscripts 在外日本古典籍所蔵機関ディレクトリ: Provides desciptions of the collections, contact information, etc. of the libraries and museums in North America, Europe, and Oceania that hold Japanese rare books produced in pre-modern Japan

Kokubungaku Kenkyū Shiryōkan. Nihon Kotenseki Sōgō Mokuroku Dētabēsu 日本古典籍総合目録データベース: A union catalog of pre-modern Japanse rare books held by Japanese libraries and selected U.S. libraries

Kōnitsuki-ban Ōshū Shozai Nihon Kosho Sōgō Mokuroku (Kokubungaku Kenkyū Shiryōkan) コーニツキー版欧州所在古書総合目録 (国立国文学研究資料館): A union catalog of pre-modern Japanse rare books held by libraries in Europe

Image Databases

Here is a list of links to useful digital projects with images of Japanese illustrated books from the Edo period:

Historical Bibliographies

Here is a list of links to useful resources availble on Internet in historical bibliographies:

Related Subject Guides

Related Course Guides

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