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Japanese language collections

The British Library’s Japanese language material relating to the humanities and social sciences ranges from the oldest datable example of Japanese printing to the most recent books, periodicals and newspapers. 

The printed books total approximately 75,000 volumes. The antiquarian collections comprise 3,800 printed works and 500 manuscripts. There is a large collection of more than 6,000 serials and official publications, of which around 1,200 are currently acquired, and 20 newspaper titles.

Current collecting

The current acquisitions policy for Japanese language material aims to maintain a broad coverage of the humanities and social sciences. Printed material acquired since 1994 is included in a separate British Library Japanese catalogue.

British Library Japanese language collections

Our principal collections of Japanese language material consist of 

Our Japanese catalogues are explained in detail here, and a history of the collection is available here.

Japanese language material on natural sciences, technology and medicine are to be found in the collections of Science, Technology and Medicine and Document Supply Services.

Newspapers in Japanese can be viewed in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room at St Pancras, and details are included in the online British Library Japanese Catalogue. English language newspapers from Japan are held by British Library Newspapers. The British Library reading rooms provide access to Asahi Kikuzo, an electronic version of the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun (1879 to the present).

In addition to the important collection of early printed and manuscript maps held in the Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections, there are also substantial holdings of Japanese maps in the Map Library.

The British Library Sound Archive holds a collection of Japanese language sound recordings.

Electronic resources

The British Library holds electronic journals and other e-resources related to Japan.

We provide on-site access to JapanKnowledge, a portal to Japanese encyclopaedias, dictionaries and databases including Encyclopedia Nipponica and the Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan.

Contact

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