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Japanese catalogues

This page gives details of the catalogues that cover the British Library’s Japanese language material. They cover different parts of the collections and are in a variety of formats: online catalogues, printed catalogues and card catalogues.

Antiquarian books

There are three printed catalogues that cover the antiquarian Japanese printed material acquired before 1993:

Daiei Toshokan shozōwakansho somokuroku 大英図書館所蔵和漢書総目録 (Catalogue of early Japanese books in the British Library) compiled by Kawase Kazuma 川瀬一馬 and Okazaki Hisaji 岡崎久司 (Tokyo, 1996). 

Includes books and manuscripts produced before 1868.  Text in Japanese with title index and listings by collector and year of publication.

Descriptive catalogue of Japanese books in the British Library printed before 1700, by Kenneth Burslam Gardner (London and Tenri, 1993).  

Arranged by subject with title and name indexes. Includes appendix of named editions.

Catalogue of Japanese Printed Books and Manuscripts in the Library of the British Museum, by Sir Robert Kennaway Douglas (London, 1898, with a supplement in 1904). 

Includes printed books and manuscripts acquired before 1904.  Non-standard romanisation.

Records for antiquarian books acquired since 1994 are added to the online British Library Japanese Catalogue.

Manuscripts

Access to the Japanese manuscript collection is through the List of Oriental Manuscripts (arranged by shelfmark) and the Classified Inventory of Oriental Manuscripts (arranged by language), both of which are kept on the references shelves in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room at the British Library’s St Pancras site.

Daiei Toshokan shozōwakansho somokuroku 大英図書館所蔵和漢書総目録 (Catalogue of early Japanese books in the British Library) compiled by Kawase Kazuma 川瀬一馬 and Okazaki Hisaji 岡崎久司 (Tokyo, 1996) includes manuscripts in the Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections written before 1868. The descriptions of the manuscripts are mixed in with those of printed books, but there is an index of manuscripts. 

Manuscripts acquired before 1904 also appear in Catalogue of Japanese printed books and manuscripts in the Library of the British Museum by Sir Robert Kennaway Douglas (London, 1898, with a supplement in 1904).

A handlist of Japanese manuscripts acquired since 1984 is available online.

Descriptions and images of the British Library’s Nara ehon manuscripts are included in the Digital Database of Nara Ehon around the World hosted by Keio University.

Modern books and periodicals

Between 1904 and 1993 Japanese books and periodicals acquired by the British Museum Library and its successor, the British Library, were catalogued on cards. The card catalogue can be consulted in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room, and comprises author, title and subject sequences.

In 1994 the Japanese card catalogues were closed and work began on the creation of an automated catalogue of books and periodicals. All non-antiquarian printed material acquired since that date is included in the British Library Japanese Catalogue.  A programme of retrospective conversion of the card catalogue is in progress, and records for more than 35,000 books and 2,300 periodicals have been added to the online catalogue.  If a particular title cannot be found in the online catalogue, it is advisable to check the card catalogue as well.

The British Library, together with the Bodleian Library, Cambridge University, the School of Oriental and African Studies and the Universities of Sheffield and Edinburgh, contributes records to the UK Union Catalogue of Japanese Books and Serials. This online catalogue now contains over 200,000 bibliographic records derived from the databases of the National Institute of Informatics (NII) in Tokyo and is updated weekly. The same records can also be found in the  European Union Catalogue of Japanese Books), which includes the Japanese holdings of more than thirty European libraries.

Contacts

Hamish Todd, Lead Curator, Japanese and Korean
Asian and African Studies
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London
NW1 2DB
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7662
Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7641

E-mail: hamish.todd@bl.uk

Yasuyo Ohtsuka, Curator, Japanese Section
Asian and African Studies
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London
NW1 2DB
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7652
Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7641

E-mail: yasuyo.ohtsuka@bl.uk

PDF files

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