At a glance

East Asia Library

Japanese collections

Collection history

The Japanese collection was launched with an intensive acquisition program in Japan during the early postwar years starting in 1945. Between 1945 and 1947, almost 300 boxes of Japanese materials were shipped to Stanford, including some 10,000 books and magazines, as well as newspapers, official documents, etc. The original focus of the collection centered on the study of international relations, revolution, and the causes and effects of war. The collection is particularly strong in materials on pre-war Japan and its colonial regions in China, Korea, Taiwan, and Manchuria.

With an emphasis on the late 19th and 20th centuries, the collection provides a picture of Japan’s modern transformation, including biographies of prominent personnel, diplomatic studies and records, materials on labor movement and the constitution, military and governmental records. It also holds an extensive archive of prewar left-and right-wing journals and newspapers published in Japanese outside of Japan, mostly in Asia. While maintaining its strengths in international relations, modern military and naval science, Japanese colonial efforts, Japanese constitution, political economy, and modern social conditions and movements, current areas of expansion include pre-modern society, religion and literary arts.

Collection description

The Japanese Language Collection's strength lies in the humanities and the social sciences with substantial holdings across various fields. As of December 15, 2013, the Collection consisted of well over 200,000 volumes, approximately 1,700 serials titles, 950 microform titles, and 1,900 reference books. Japanese Studies at Stanford is further supported by a collection of secondary materials in Western languages, which are held in Green Library.

The East Asia Library houses approximately 550 volumes of Edo-period Japanese woodblock printed picture books as well as a large collection of rare print materials from the immediate post-war period.  Although Stanford's Japanese collection is primarily found in the East Asia Library, scholars also are encouraged to take advantage of the impressive collection of early twentieth century Japanese maps of greater East Asia housed at the Branner Earth Sciences Library, the archival materials held at the Hoover Library, and the Japanese language materials held by the Art and Music Libraries at Stanford.

The Japanese language collection at the East Asia aims to support the teaching, learning and research of the faculty and students in the East Asia studies programs at Stanford University, but the resources are available to scholars throughout the nation and Europe through Interlibrary Loan service. 

Reference contact and recommending library purchases

For reference help with the Japanese collection or to suggest Japanese-language titles for purchase, please contact:

Japanese Studies Librarian
Buddhist Studies Librarian
Religious Studies Librarian (interim)
(650) 725-3437