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These catalogs and databases provide bibliographic information about books, as well as, in some cases, summaries and tables of contents, author information, and Japanese library holdings. They are especially useful for subject and author searches, and finding out which libraries hold books in Japan.
Several of these catalogs contain information on how to read titles and names. The National Institute of Japanese Literature OPAC gives the reading of the name of the book or journal, article title (if applicable), and author's name in katakana. CiNii Books provides a reading of the title as well as author's name. Webcat Plus (and Webcat Plus Minus) provides a reading of the title, and if author information is available on a separate page, a reading of the author name. The Tokyo University OPAC provides a reading of only the author's name. Note that while it did in the past, the new National Diet Library OPAC no longer provides any information on how to read titles or author names.
Non-Library Catalogs and Online Bookstores
This site provides a domestic catalog of all Japanese books in print, updated daily, based on information from publishers, and calls itself a "general catalog of Japanese print materials." It contains over 94,000 entries.
Amazon Japan offers a wide array of books, often at a discount. They have free domestic shipping above a certain amount spent, charge a base fee of approximately $30 plus per-item fees for US shipping, and accept credit cards. Not all Amazon Marketplace sellers will do international shipping.
Nihon no furuhon'ya 日本の古本屋
Kosho is a database of individual book sellers, for used books. You can find a wide variety of print materials in addition to books here. Many sellers will only deal domestically in Japan and do not accept credit cards; see individual sellers' information for details. Basic keyword search only with no advanced search functions. You must register to purchase on this site.
Super Genji スーパー源氏
Super Genji is a database for used book sellers to advertise and sell books. Contact individual sellers to make sure they will ship internationally. More advanced search functions than Kosho.or.jp. You must register to purchase on this site.
E-Dokusho provides links to a wide variety of bookstores where you can purchase books that you search for in their database. Beta version.
IMAGINE Book Search
IMAGINE searches multiple databases at once for books, both old and new. Its default search includes Kosho.or.jp, Junkudo, the Kindai Digital Library, and WebCat Plus, among others, but you can limit or expand your search to other databases as well.
Library and Union Catalogs
Webcat Plus is a database of Japanese books that provides a great deal of information on both books and authors. It provides both the title and author name reading for each work, as well as content summaries for some works, keywords, and related works (often irrelevant, however). For newer books, it often contains a photo of the book cover and some information from book databases. Author pages include information from Wikipedia, photographs, brief biographical information, related people and organizations (according to Wikipedia), and a full list of the author's works contained in Webcat Plus.
WebCat Plus Minus
Webcat Plus Minus is the "pro" version of Webcat Plus, which provides a more bare-bones search and result interface that will feel familiar to users of the old NACSIS Webcat.
CiNii Books searches across Japanese university OPACs, providing a list of links to libraries that hold specific books, as well as links to Webcat and the National Diet Library catalog. For some books, it provides tables of contents and lists of contribtors, and also gives readings in katakana for book titles and author names. CiNii Books will convert romaji to kana, and has both English and Japanese interfaces. You can also subscribe to an RSS feed to alert you to new resources matching keywords of your choice.
National Diet Library OPAC
The NDL OPAC provides a catalog of the National Diet Library's holdings, which can be used for search without registration. Use the searchbar on the main OPAC homepage for simple search, or click through to advanced search. You can narrow your search to only books, articles, materials related to the Occupation, and research reports in the main search; in advanced search, you can also refine to books, electronic resources, maps, historical materials, dissertations, and more.
National Institute of Japanese Literature OPAC
This catalog searches the holdings of the National Institute of Japanese Literature, providing information on whether the book is accessible to the public, as well as title and author name readings. It covers many older works.
WorldCat is the union catalog of all OCLC participating institutions, mostly universities in the United States and Canada but also including the NDL and Waseda University. It is a good resource not only for finding books available through inter-library loan in North America, but also romanization for titles, authors, and publishers.
WorldCat - OCLC FirstSearch Catalog
FirstSearch is the advanced search interface for WorldCat's database. It is a Penn subscription resource.
日本古典籍総目録データベース (Union Catalog of Early Japanese Books)
The Union Catalog of Early Japanese Books searches several catalogs, including the Kotenseki sōmokuroku, the Kokusho sōmokuroku, and the Kokubungaku kenkyū shiryōkan maikurofirumu. It provides title and author name readings, identifies the type of work, some keywords, and links to an author page if it is available. Author pages contain more detailed information on authors as well as a list of the author's works.
Tokyo Metropolitan Library OPAC
The Tokyo Metropolitan Library OPAC allows you to search within contents of books, and it has a clean and easy to use interface. You can search the contents of books using the 内容・目次 field. The library is open to the public, so you also may consult books there that you find in the catalog.
WebCat Plus Searching Tips
Webcat Plus is a database of Japanese books that provides a great deal of information on both books and authors. It provides both the title and author name reading for each work, as well as content summaries for some works, keywords, and related works (often irrelevant, however). For newer books, it often contains a photo of the book cover and some information from book databases.
Author pages include information from Wikipedia, photographs, brief biographical information, related people and organizations (according to Wikipedia), and a full list of the author's works contained in Webcat Plus.
It's recommended to use the 一致検索 interface for searching rather than the search on the home page of Webcat Plus; it also allows for advanced searching. The 作品検索 feature allows you to search within books for chapter and work titles, instead of by book title alone.
Getting the Most of Union Catalog of Early Japanese Books (日本古典籍総目録データベース)
A guide from Tokiko Bazell at Hawaii on how to most effectively use the Union Catalog of Early Japanese Books at NIJL.