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

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...

History from Between: Global Circulations of the Past in East Asia and Europe

Monday, January 7, 2019

The East Asian Uses of the European Past project, funded by the Humanities in the European Research Area, in collaboration with the British Library, is proud to announce a one-day conference on 1 April 2019 to discuss the creation of...

The Arrival of the Black Ships

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

2018 marks the 150th anniversary of 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 1600 BC and 1050 BC

Chinese star chart

: c. 700 AD

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