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 a range of free Reader sessions and 1-2-1 consultations 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

Radicals and Rebels: The published works of Issachar Jacox Roberts

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

In this blogpost, we return to an item d...

An eighth century Judaeo-Persian letter from Dandan-Uiliq

Friday, June 19, 2020

A recent post on the Kaifeng Torah Scroll, a seventeenth century Torah scroll from Kaifeng, Henan province, featured the British Library’s Judaeo-Persian letter Or.8212/166 dating from the end of the eighth century as one of the earliest records of the...

Zuan-cho – Japanese design albums in the late Meiji Period

Friday, May 22, 2020

The Japanese Collection of the British L...

The Kaifeng Torah Scroll: A British Library Treasure

Monday, May 18, 2020

Theories abound on the date that Jews arrived in China. Some point to the period following Moses’ birth, others to the dispersion of the Ten Lost Tribes by the Assyrians in 720 BCE, and others to the Diaspora following the...

More blog posts

Projects

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

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