Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
This page contains digital archives, reference, databases, and portals related to all periods and genres of Japanese literature. Resources provided on this page include:
- Portal sites
- Databases with full text
- Translations with full text
- Digital archives (general, premodern, and modern)
- NIJL and Nichibunken databases
These databases contain information about literature and publications, rather than texts themselves.
Database of Research Thesis in Japanese Literature 日本文学研究論文の総合目録データベース
This database contains citations but not full text, provided by NIJL.
Database of Japanese Literature in Translation
Provided by the Japan Foundation, the Database of Japanese Literature in Translation covers works ranging from premodern to contemporary, and translations from throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. It aims to have current information on translations of Japanese literature into a range of languages, and is not limited to English translations. One can search by both Japanese bibliographic information as well as target language metadata, such as original author, translator, original and translated titles, and publisher. The database can be difficult to search because the default search does not limit the text to single words - it can find "ring" in "spring," for example - and limiting it to "exact match" makes the search case-sensitive. Therefore, careful search formulation is necessary to successfully use this database.
Waseda Bungaku Sōmokuji Database 早稲田文学総目次データベース
A database of all articles published in Waseda Bungaku magazine from its inception to 2002.
These reference resources cover all periods of literature, from pre-modern to contemporary, and provide information about works, genres, periods, and authors.
JLit is a database of information on modern and contemporary literature, prizes, and authors, including literature news as well as timelines and biographical and bibliographic information. It is a good resource to consult for information on current literature and literary events in Japan. In English.
Waseda to Bungaku 早稲田と文学
This webpage covers many aspects of literature throughout the history of Waseda University, including information about literary activities and journals, Tsubouchi Shōyō, and full text of literature columns written for Waseda publications. You can also browse the site by author, search, and follow a list of links.
Akutagawa Prize Winners in English
A comprehensive bibliography of Akutagawa prize winners translated into English.
Reading Japanese Literature in English 作家一覧ー英語で読む日本文学
A bibliography of English translations of Japanese literature, including a comparison of some Japanese/English editions, analysis/comparison of title translations, and images of translations' book covers.
Japanese Premodern Texts and Translations
A lengthy bibliography of translations of premodern texts maintained by Michael Watson of Meiji Gakuin (last updated 2009).
These resources contain original translations of Japanese works into English and other Western languages. They contain actual translations, rather than translation bibliographies.
Short Stories Japan
Short Stories Japan is a site dedicated to Japanese literature in English translation, especially short stories and “light novel” type works. The aim of this site is to introduce English speakers to the vast and largely untapped world of Japanese fiction, while providing a place for the translation community to interact with each other, and work together at developing their abilities.
All Wrongs Reversed
This blog contains a large number of English translations of Japanese works, in addition to information about current literature.
Words Without Borders
This online magazine contains authorized translations into English of works from around the world, sometimes abridged. It includes translations of Japanese literature.
Translations of sections of Japanese novels.
Digital Archives - Pre- and Early Modern Literature
These digital archives provide text and page images of works from the pre-modern and early modern periods to approximately 1867.
Japanese Text Initiative
Plain-text versions of many works of classical Japanese literature, from the University of Virginia.
Denshi-ban Katei Bunko 電子版 霞亭文庫
Katei Bunko provides scanned page images of works from the Katei Bunko collection at Tokyo University, which consists largely of Edo-period light fiction such as gesaku. It provides both search and browse functions.
Fujiwara Teika no Chosaku to Heian-chō Kotenseki no Shosha Kōkan ni Kansuru Sōgō Database 原定家の著作と平安朝古典籍の書写校勘に関する総合データベース
This is a comprehensive database of transcriptions of the writing of Fujiwara Teika and Heian-period works, with the goal of making premodern texts available and usable for the public. It also includes bibliographies of Teika research, a bibli and a chronology of Teika's works.
Genji Monogatari Gazō 『源氏物語』画像
This site provides high-quality scans of a copy of Genji Monogatari held by the Library of Congress, along with a transcription in tyeset Japanese either superimposed on the image or displayed alongside it.
Hachiman Digital Handscrolls
This project provides detailed digital facsimiles of the Hachiman handscrolls, as well as annotations and further information on various aspects of the emaki and their content.
Kotenseki Etsuran Portal Database 古典籍閲覧ポータルデータベース
This database provides page images of yomihon from the Edo period, from Ritsumeikan's Art Research Center. Its interface is difficult to use, but if you click on "縮小画像一覧" you can view all thumbnails from a given book.
Tosa Nikki Sōken 土左日記創見
An Edo-period commentary on the Tosa nikki, digitized and available in either large or small format images from Nara Women's University.
Ise Monogatari no Sekai 伊勢物語の世界
A variety of early modern books on Ise monogatari provided by Nara Women's University. These are scanned page images with a transcription provided in plain text.
Hangi etsuran system 版木閲覧システム
This is a database of woodblocks used to print a variety of Japanese works in the Edo period. Search or view sample images.
Full plain text of the Kaifūsō 懐風藻 collection of kanshi from 751.
Kokugakuin University Library Digital Library 國學院大學図書館デジタルライブラリー
A variety of digital archives containing pre- and early modern literature broadly, including ehon and monogatari.
Library of Congress Genji Monogatari Honkoku Honbun - Himawari-yō Data 米国議会図書館蔵『源氏物語』翻字本文-ひまわり用データ-
This is a full text, plaintext version of LOC's Genji Monogatari prepared as a dataset for the Himawari text keyword searching program. Download the data here, and then download the Himawari software to view and search the text.
One Hundred Poets Digital Collection
A large collection of Hyakunin Isshu books from the Edo period with full-color page images, at University of British Columbia. Originating from the personal collection of Professor Joshua Mostow of the UBC Department of Asian Studies, this project was made possible through generous funding from the Toshiba International Foundation (TIFO) and collaboration between the UBC Department of Asian Studies, Asian Library, Digitization Centre, Rare Books and Special Collections and Technical Services.
Japanese Historical Text Initiative
The Japanese Historical Text Initiative (JHTI) is a rapidly expanding database made up of historical texts dating back more than 1200 years. The original version of every paragraph in every text is cross-tagged with its English translation, making it possible for any researcher to see, on the same screen, both the original and English translation of any word or phrase appearing in any JHTI text. It also includes research aids.
Digital Archives - Modern Literature
These digital archives provide text and page images, as well as search and indices, of works from the Meiji period through contemporary literature. They are necessarily limited by copyright restrictions.
Aozora Bunko 青空文庫
Aozora bunko is a digital library of modern Japanese literature in the public domain, from the Meiji, Taisho, and Showa periods. It provides ruby-glossed copies of works in plain text and HTML format, both searchable and browsable by work title and author name. Each work's entry also contains brief bibliographic information and, in some cases, a summary of related information from Wikipedia.
Bungei Kurabu Meiji-hen 文藝俱樂部 明治篇 (Penn)
Digital archive of Bungei Kurabu magazine from the Meiji period, including many important literary works from major authors of the time.
Uwazura Bunko うわづら文庫
Page image scans of first editions of many modern Japanese literary works.
Nihongo Yōrei Kensaku 日本語用例検索
A simple keyword-in-context KWIC search for Aozora Bunko texts.
Japan P.E.N. Club Digital Library 日本ペンクラブ電子文藝館
A digital collection of works by Japan P.E.N. club members, beginning with founder Shimazaki Toson.
Taiyō 太陽 (Penn)
A general interest magazine from the Meiji and Taishō periods containing many literary works and reviews. Make sure you check "Taiyō 太陽" on the search after logging in.
This is a digital archive of Natsume Soseki-related documents from the Kanagawa Museum of Modern Literature.
Sōseki Bunko Database 漱石文庫データベース (Tōhoku University)
Tōhoku University holds a collection of documents related to Natsume Sōseki. Although there are no digital copies available on this site, it allows searching and browsing of the archive and gives full metadata for each item, which can then be viewed in the university library.
"Meijibon" Kaidai「明治本」解題（ー覧）(Shirayuri Women's University)
Digitized color copies of some Meiji books held by Shirayuri Women's University Library, including kaidai 解題.
Nihon Kindai Bungakukan Shashin Kensaku 日本近代文学館写真検索
A digital archive of photographs of authors, searchable by keyword, provided by the Museum of Modern Japanese Literature.
Zasshi 'Nobite Iku' 雑誌『伸びて行く』
Scans of a children's magazine from the early 20th century, housed by Nara Women's University.
Kokka 国華 magazine finding aid
A finding aid for Kokka magazine at Drexel University. Note that this is a finding aid, and no digitized images of the magazine itself are available.
Sengo Nihon Shōnen Shōjo Zasshi Database 戦後日本少年少女雑誌データベース
A browseable index of works in boys' and girls' manga magazines from the postwar period. Free version is available. No page images or full text.
Sukima Jisho to Text Kensaku すきま辞書とテキスト検索
Several searchable databases related to Miyazawa Kenji's short works and poetry.
Mostly focusing on haiku, these sites and databases contain full text of works of poetry from both premodern and modern periods.
These portals contain guides and lists of links to other sites and databases on the web relating to literature.
Nihon Bungaku 日本文学 Internet Guide
Comprehensive guide to doing literature research on the Internet in Japanese.
A collaboration between Crowd4Uプロジェクト and 翻デジプロジェクト, this "wall" is a randomly-generated visualization of images of books and art from the NDL digital collections. You can limit by year and keywords.
Nihon Kanbun no Sekai 日本漢文の世界
In-depth information about Japanese kanbun writing and various works that use kanbun, including metadata, sample images, and transcriptions.
National Institute of Japanese Literature
The National Institute of Japanese Literature provides a wide variety of databases related to Japanese literature. This is a selection of those databases directly related to literature; others related to history, art history, and general reference are filed in those sections.
Kindai Shoshi - Kindai Gazō Database 近代書誌・近代画像データベース
The Kindai Shoshi - Kindai Gazō Database includes bibliographic information and scanned, high-quality copies of a number of Meiji-period works, including texts, images, and advertisements, all held by the National Institute of Japanese Literature. They are adding new works as time goes on and eventually plan to include all works featured in their reprint book facsimile series.
Koten Senshū Honbun Database 古典選集本文データベース
This database provides a keyword search and transcribed text (with keyword results highlighted in context) of several premodern anthologies, including 二十一代集, 絵入源氏物語, 吾妻鏡, and 歴史物語 (栄花物語、大鏡、今鏡、水鏡、増鏡).
Nihon Koten Digital Gazō Database 日本古典籍デジタル画像データベース
A variety of primarily ehon held by the National Institute of Japanese Literature, available in digitized form. Browsable and searchable.
Taikei Honbun Database 大系本文データベース
This database includes transcribed text from the Nihon koten bungaku taikei and Hanashibon taikei, but requires registration and a password to access the NKBT.
NIJL Collectors' Seal Database 蔵書印データベース
A database of seals stamped in books by collectors. The advanced search function is extremely detailed and allows you to search by size, color, title, author, etc. It provides high-quality digital images of the seals and notes which institution holds the book that was scanned.
International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken)
Wahon 和本 are Japanese-style books of a variety of binding sizes and styles. Here, the list is focused on literature published as wahon through the Edo period and beyond.