Rare Books in Japan: research pages

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These pages aim to give help and advice on topics relating to Japanese books and other artefacts. Contact me if you have any suggestions or contributions. Click here if you need more detailed or specific help. To visit my commercial site, click here.

Sites marked with a red asterisk [*] are my own. The rest are links to other sites

I have found useful.

If you have suggestions for other online resources, please let me know and I will

add them here.

Japanese Books - General

1. *Identifying First Editions, etc.*

These pages aim to help people who can't read Japanese to determine the date of a Japanese book and whether it is a first edition or a later printing. This is usually a fairly straightforward matter, but it can sometimes be extremely complicated or just impossible. If you have tried everything and still not managed to identify the publication details, contact me and I'll see what I can do.

2. Library of Congress

If you know the author or the romaji (romanised) spelling of the book you are looking for you may well find it here.

3. NACSIS Webcat

This will take you to the main online catalogue for Japanese libraries. However, to make proper use of it you will need to be able to input Japanese characters.

4. Digital Library Database

An array of dazzling bibliographical resources! Again, though, to make much use of them you will need to be able to input Japanese characters and have at least some rudimentary knowledge of Japanese script. If you're interested in pre-Meiji books, though, the Union Catalogue of Early Japanese Books is an absolute must.


5. English SF, Mystery and Horror in Japanese Translation

A fantastic resource! To get the full benefit you need to be able to read Japanese, but the alphabeticised list enables you to find authors easily, and the catalogue entries give you the English title and the date of publication and ISBN of the Japanese translation, even if the rest of the page is gibberish to you!

6. Japanese Secondhand Booksellers Online

This is the main link for Japanese online sellers. You need to be able to input Japanese characters and e-mail the seller in Japanese. Most Japanese sellers will not ship to addresses outside Japan.

7. Amazon Japan

Again, you need to be able to input Japanese characters to use this site. However, you can get help in English from their Customer Service department. They will ship to addresses outside Japan, but other sellers operating under the Amazon banner will not.

8. *Register a Want*

If you need help finding or ordering a book, click on the above link and register your want with me.



Japanese Books - Specific Authors

1. Haruki Murakami

An excellent English-language website, with extensive bibliographical details of Murakami's work, including pictures of the covers of almost all his works in Japanese and details of his works in translation.

2. Yukio Mishima

Another very good website in English, packed with bibliographical and other information.



Ukiyo-e (Woodblock Prints)

1. Hans Olof Johansson

A well-organised, informative site, with useful links to other sites.

2. J. Noel Chiappa

A mine of useful information. Scroll down the page to find the woodblock print links.

3. Ukiyo-e Signatures

Just about as comprehensive as you could wish for.


Buddhist and Shinto Statuary and Temple Art

1. Onmark

An extremely useful and thorough online photo library and dictionary.

2. *My Collection*

Mainly statues from the Edo period. Still only very partial and incomplete, but I hope you will find something of interest there. The second half of the collection focuses on everyday objects in Japan during the Edo and Meiji periods.




Japanese Language

1. Learning to Read and Write Japanese

This site gives the standard readings of the commoner kanji (pictograms) used in modern Japanese, together with some typical compound words formed from those kanji. It also gives a complete list of the two phonetic hiragana and katakana scripts.

2. Kanji Flashcard Freeware

With a database of 6,000 kanji and 44,000 compounds, this should cover all the characters in modern use that one is likely to come across.

3. Online Dictionary

The most comprehensive and easiest to use online dictionary. Especially helpful is the fact that you can input romaji readings for Japanese words. There is also a graphic interface, so you can enter your own Japanese characters by hand (sorry, by mouse!).

4. Translation Links

A useful set of links to various sites that may be able to help, one way or the other, to provide you with a translation of a Japanese text.


Japan in General


This is as good a general introduction as any. The section on culture is good, and the sections on Japanese era names and the Japanese calendar are useful to anyone trying to date books, etc..



If you have suggestions for other online resources, please let me know and I will

add them here.

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