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

Asia and Africa

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

Tales of cats and dogs

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The new exhibition in the British Librar...

The Star Lovers

Friday, August 17, 2018

The 7th day of the 7th lunar month has l...

Classes and costumes in traditional Vietnamese society

Friday, May 25, 2018

In traditional Vietnamese society people were divided into four classes, similar to those found in Chinese and other East Asian Confucian societies. The tứ dân, or four social hierarchical classes, were scholars (sĩ), farmers (nông), craftsmen (công) and merchants (thương)....

From the Page Up: The Peking Gazette and the Histories of Everyday Print in East Asia (2)

Monday, May 21, 2018

Peking Gazette, Printing in East Asia, Woodblock printing, Movable type, Printing in China

More blog posts


Cataloguing Chinese propaganda posters

Funded by the British Inter-University China Centre

Digitising Chinese oracle bones

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

All projects

East Asian collections highlights

Chinese oracle bone

: Between 1600 BC and 1050 BC

Chinese star chart

: c. 700 AD

Library experts

Sara Chiesura

Lead 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