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Japanese Studies

Welcome to the UCLA Library Guide for Japanese Studies. This guide presents both introductory and in-depth information for Japan-related research.

Collection Profile

In 1948, the Japanese studies department was established at UCLA library. As of November 2023, the Japanese collection holds over 245,000 items in various formats. This includes 166,281 print volumes and 68,735 print issues for a total of 235,016 physical resource materials. 

As for titles, the print collection is comprised of 117,927 Japanese language titles (with 80,785 books and 12,903 journals for a total of 93,688 print materials) held between the East Asian Library, Library Special Collections, and SRLF. 

The UCLA Japanese Studies collection emphases hosts a wide variety of both digital and physical materials. The collection ranges from contemporary scholarly sources to premodern rare materials. The collection emphases have developed based on the established programs in areas of Japanese studies such as literature, history, Buddhism, and fine arts. Recent focuses in these areas include contemporary literature, postwar social and cultural histories, and folk performing arts. Reading material for Japanese language is a newly developed area. 

  • Contemporary literature is currently being expanded by the Yanai Initiative. Recently acquired literary works are shelved in the East Asian Library book stacks #35 (signage: “PL842-877.5”) for onsite browsing.
  • Two large donations of the Honda Yasuji (本田安治) Collection and the Ozawa Shōichi (小沢昭一) Collection cover a wide range of materials on folk performing arts from the history of local performing arts to popular urban entertainment such as rakugo
  • The UCLA Library holds the Gordon W. Prange microform collection of periodicals from Occupied Japan, 1945-1949, as the only holding library west of the Mississippi. It holds relevant material for scholars of the Postwar Showa period and broader Japanese historical research.
  • Acquired and curated by Special Collections, the Yoshida Yoshie Papers is an art archive formerly held by an art critic and artist Yoshida (1929-2016), consisting of exhibition catalogs, art books, serials issued by art galleries and art museums, correspondence, and etc. They offer insight into the rich cultural history of Japanese arts.
    • The Eiko Ishioka papers (60s-70s Ishioka Eiko), also held by Special Collections, represents complementary facets of the grassroots political activity and commercial mass culture of the time.
  • The Japanese Extensive Reading Collection serves the teaching and learning of Japanese language. It consists of easy-reading publications sorted into seven reading levels, accommodating for all stages of Japanese language learning.
  • The Toganoo Collection (栂尾文庫) and Kamigata Kabuki Banzuke (上方歌舞伎番付) Collection are two noteworthy collections that contain premodern Japanese prints and manuscripts. The Toganoo Collection is a collection of 14th-19th century manuscripts and publications on Buddhism, and the Kamigata Kabuki Banzuke collection contains programs and posters for advertisement of theatrical performances of kabuki.

The currently subscribed print journals (about 190 titles) are shelved in the current Japanese journal section of the East Asian Library Reading Room. They are periodically removed for binding and transferred to SRLF, an off-site storage. Please familiarize yourself with the UCLA Library Catalog to find them as well as many other journals—gift journals, ceased journals, reprint journals, and journals in microform stored in the SRLF.
The currently subscribed databases (6) consist of digital dictionaries, article indexes, full-text newspapers, and e-books listed below, (see details in the Japanese Studies Database box). In addition, about 500 Japanese ebooks from EBSCO are available.

  1. Japanknowelge (dictionaries and e-books, such as Tōyō bunko 東洋文庫, Shinpen Nihon koten bungaku zenshū 新編日本古典文学全集, Gunsho ruijū 群書類従, Fūzoku gahō 風俗画報, etc. )
  2. Zassaku Plus (index to articles from 1868 to the present)
  3. 20th Century Media Information Database (article index for the Prange Collection)
  4. Digital Dictionary of Buddhism (dictionaries for Buddhism)
  5. Kikuzo (full-text newspaper archive of Asahi shinbun)
  6. Yomidas (full-text newspaper archive of Yomiuri shinbun)

The UCLA Library interlibrary loan service provides UCLA students, faculty, and staff access to resources from other libraries including those from Japan. Search in UC Library Search to find items held by UCLA and other libraries. Search also in Japanese catalogs such as NDLTobunkenRikkyoTodaiCiNii, and Webcat Plus, etc. to find items you need and send an ILL request with a full citation.

Premodern (Pre-Meiji/1868) Japanese Prints and Manuscripts 

Mostly stored in SRLF as non-circulating and some in the Special Collections, they are cataloged in Jun Suzuki and Mihoko Miki’s Kariforunia Daigaku Rosanzerusu-kō shozō Nihon kotenseki mokuroku: Catalog of rare Japanese materials at the University of California, Los Angeles. Please refer to this catalog to find items for your interest, which provides Romanized titles and authors as well as the library assigned call numbers to find them in the OPAC.

  • Noteworthy among them are the Toganoo Collection (栂尾文庫), a collection of manuscripts and early publications from the 14th to the 19th centuries on Buddhism (顕密仏教, both exoteric and esoteric traditions), especially strong in Shingon esoteric sect (真言宗). This collection was previously held by Shoun Toganoo (栂尾祥雲), the second director of the Institute of Esoteric Culture, and first library director and the fifth president of Koyasan University. The entire collection consists of nearly 340 titles in 1,000 volumes of modern (66%) and premodern (34%; 113 titles in 313 volumes) materials including 2 mandala manuscript scrolls. Searchable by “toganoo collection” in the OPAC. Find more about this collection from here
  • Kamigata Kabuki Banzuke (上方歌舞伎番付): Woodblock Print Playbills of the Late 18th and 19th Centuries, a collection of kabuki banzuke—programs and posters for advertisement of theatrical performances of kabuki, Japanese drama with singing and dancing—consists of yakuwari banzuke, lists of the cast, and ezukushi (or later referred to as “ehon banzuke” in Edo, the eastern center of Japan), lists of illustrated scenes, from the theaters of Kamigata, the Ōsaka and Kyōto region (or western center) of Japan. They were published in woodblock prints during the early modern (Edo) period and through the late 19th century. This collection contains total 101 banzuke, each of which is bound in a matching set of yakuwari banzuke and ezukushi except 18 sets bound with two to four different banzuke items. Total 124 kabuki programs constitute this collection. OPAC

Occupation 

The UCLA Library holds the Gordon W. Prange microform collection of periodicals from Occupied Japan, 1945-1949, as the only holding library west of the Mississippi. The Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies administers a research travel grant program to support researchers around the world to access this massive archival resource consisting of 13,800 magazines and 18,000 newspapers for postwar research in the East Asian Library Reading Room. Find more about this collection here.

Cultural History of '60s-'70s 

Acquired and curated by the Special Collections, Yoshida Yoshie Papers, 1963-2005 contains nearly 400 books (titles/volumes) and about 50 journal titles (over 500 issues), all stored in the Special Collections, (see more here). This is an art archive formerly held by an art critic and artist Yoshida (1929-2016), consisting of exhibition catalogs, art books, serials issued by art galleries and art museums, correspondence, and etc. Both this collection and another Special Collections' recent acquisition, Eiko Ishioka papers, of a prolific artist of the '60s and the '70s Ishioka Eiko, represent complementary facets of this period's grass-root political activities and commercial mass culture. 

Contemporary Literature 

The recently acquired literary works are shelved in the East Asian Library book stacks #35 (signage: “PL842-877.5”) for onsite browsing. The Yanai Initiative is currently expanding this area of the collection. You can search for books obtained by Yanai in UC Library Search.

More relevant call numbers for those interested in Japanese literature can be found below.

PL821-866 Showa Period (1926 -1945)

PL844-866 Showa (1945 - 1989)

PL867-878 Heisei (1989 - 2019)

PL878.3-880.9 (Reiwa 2019 - )

For researchers whose topics are more specialized, you may view this PDF for even more topic specifications. 

Folk Performing Arts 

Two large donations of the Honda Yasuji (本田安治) Collection (total 4,500 volumes of monographs and journals) and the Ozawa Shōichi (小沢昭一) Collection (7,300 titles/7,700 volumes of monographs and 600 titles/5,300 issues of journals) both from the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, Waseda University (Japan), cover a wide range of materials on folk performing arts from the history of local performing arts to popular urban entertainment such as rakugo. They are shelved in the SRLF and easily searchable for retrieval by their names or by “Honda, Yasuji, 1906-2001, former owner in the OPAC. (The Ozawa Collection is in progress of processing.)

Tule Lake Collection

The Tule Lake collection contains books circulated in the Tule Lake Japanese Language Library by incarcerated Japanese Americans and Japanese citizens. These books were carried by hand into the Tule Lake internment camp (the largest of the WRA camps) and managed by volunteer librarians. The book are identified by their official library stamp: 「ツーリレーキ日本語圖書館」.

You can learn more about the Tule Lake Japanese Language Library here (Credits to Kim McNelly).

Reading Material for Japanese Language 

A growing print collection of over 1,000 volumes (as of December 2018), the Japanese Extensive Reading Collection serves the teaching and learning of Japanese language. Consisting of a wide range of publications from colorful children's picture books and graded readers for non-native speakers to popular Japanese literature for young adult, manga, and illustrated encyclopedias classified into seven reading levels, the collection accommodates all levels of Japanese-language learners. The books shelved in the East Asian Library Reading Room Course Reserves and Current Journal stacks are for library-use, and all others shelved either in the East Asian Library regular stack #42 under PZ49.2 or SRLF available for check out and interlibrary loans. Find more about this collection here