We have rich collections of material in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Manchu and Mongolian including manuscripts, printed books, periodicals, sound recordings, maps, newspapers and archives.

Collection guides

Readers at desks in the Asian and African Reading Room

Asian & African Studies Reading Room

  • Find information on the shelves
  • Access online databases and electronic books and journals
  • Order collection items to the Reading Room via our catalogues

If you need help, just ask our Information Specialists at the Reference Enquiry desk or contact the Asian & African Studies Reference Team.

We offer free Discovery and 1-2-1 Sessions to help you make the best use of the Library's collections.

You’ll need a Reader Pass

Mon: 10.00 – 17.00
Tue – Sat: 09.30 – 17.00
Sun & English Public Holidays: closed

Opening hours for all Reading Rooms

Blog posts

Jesuit Mission Press ‘Feiqe monogatari’ now online

Friday, May 3, 2019

One of the most important items in the B...

A Jesuit Atlas of Asia in Eighteenth-Century China

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Today's post is by guest blogger Xue Zhang, PhD candidate, Department of East Asian Studies, Princeton University. Xue Zhang is working on Qing China’s geographical knowledge of Xinjiang in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with a special interest in cartography....

Happy Chinese New Year! Year of the Pig 2019

Friday, February 1, 2019

Horoscope for the year of the pig, from ...

Researching the Asian and African Collections at the British Library

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Asian and African department at the British Library began 2019 with one of the most important annual events in our calendar: a training day for students beginning their doctoral dissertations. Approximately fifty students from across the UK were introduced...

More blog posts


Lotus Sutra Manuscripts Digitisation project

We're conserving and digitising nearly 800 Lotus Sutra manuscripts in Chinese language

Digitising Chinese oracle bones

We worked with partners in China to digitise more than 480 Chinese 'oracle bones'

All projects

Related events


Writing: Making Your Mark


Discover the extraordinary story behind one of humankind’s greatest achievements: through more than 100 objects spanning 5,000 years and seven continents

Members' Event

Members' Week: Tai Chi on the Piazza

Exclusively for British Library Members


Manga Symposium

What is Manga? Exploring Japanese manga and visual narratives.


Japanese Calligraphy Masterclass


Discover the creative and spiritual art of Japanese calligraphy

View all events

East Asian collections highlights

Chinese oracle bone

Between 1300 BC and 1050 BC

Library experts

Sara Chiesura

Lead Curator, Chinese Collections

Mélodie Doumy

Curator, Chinese Collections

Emma Harrison

Curator, Chinese Collections

Han-Lin Hsieh

Curator, Chinese collections

Yasuyo Ohtsuka

Curator, Japanese Collections

Hamish Todd

Head of East Asian Collections