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.
Visualizing Cultures was launched at MIT in 2002 to explore the potential of the Web for developing innovative image-driven scholarship and learning. The VC mission is to use new technology and hitherto inaccessible visual materials to reconstruct the past as people of the time visualized the world (or imagined it to be). Topical units to date focus on Japan in the modern world and early-modern China. The thrust of these explorations extends beyond Asia per se, however, to address "culture" in much broader ways—cultures of modernization, war and peace, consumerism, images of "Self" and "Others," and so on.
Digital home of the popular print magazine Rekishijin, published by KK Bestsellers. It is a blog-style site with posts about various historical topics from all periods of Japanese history.
A group of website "guides" ガイド provide information tidbits on various periods of history in blog style, drawn from their reference materials largely focused on historical figures. They also have active and entertaining Twitter accounts.
This page offers bibliographical resources useful to those who are doing research on Japanese colonialism. It incorporates some of the contents of Henry Smith's homepage, especially the information compiled by Ethan Mark on Colonial History, and by Nicole Cohen on Japanese Periodicals in Colonial Korea. It has been significantly easier for historians to conduct research in this field as more materials (both primary and bibliographical sources) have been reprinted, and/or have become available online. This guide is mostly limited to the English and Japanese language materials for now, and targets those studying at American institutions. As an on-going project, it will hopefully expand to include resources in Korean, Chinese and other languages in the future.
This is a completely revised edition of a bibliography of Japanese history up to the end of the Meiji period which Peter Kornicki compiled in 1996 and which was made available to interested parties in a soft cover for a nominal fee. There is no copyright attached to it, and you may print it out or use it in any way you wish.
Digital Archives - General
These are databases that cover a variety of subjects and time periods that facilitate the study of Japanese history. They include finding aids and catalogs, as well as digitized images and documents.
An online catalog and finding aid for the holdings of the National Archives of Japan, including some digitized images of documents. There is also a gallery of digitized images of important national cultural properties.
A variety of databases provided by the National Museum of Japanese History, related to their holdings of documents and books, as well as other historical sources. Some require free registration, while others can only be used on-site.
This page allows researchers working both inside and outside the Historiographical Institute to search multiple databases of primary source materials and catalog data. These databases, which were first constructed in 1984, are a product of ongoing co-operation between researchers attached to the Historiographical Institute, archivists, publishers, computer engineers and many others.
Toji Hyakugo Monjo refers to a collection of medieval Japanese documents originally preserved at Toji, a Buddhist temple in Kyoto. The huge collection comprises nearly 25,000 documents spanning roughly 1,000 years, from the 8th to 18th centuries. The bulk of the collection dates from the 14th and 15th centuries. This archive contains information about and digitized images of the documents, arranged by box and year; it is also searchable.
JACAR (Japan Center for Asian Historical Records) is a database provided by the National Archives of Japan, and includes access to official documents of the Japanese Cabinet, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the Army and Navy. Documents are available for viewing online via the DjVu plugin.
The Digital Archive of Documents on Japanese Foreign Policy is a digital archive administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and contains digitized copies of archival documents related to Japanese foreign policy from 1867 to WWII, and related to peace treaties at the end of the war. Documents are available for viewing online via the DjVu plugin.
The World and Japan database project consists of four databases funded by grants-in-aid from Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology and Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. The databases include "Japanese Politics and International Relations" (日本政治・国際関係データベース), "Chronology of the 20th and 21st Centuries" (データベース２０世紀・２１世紀年表), "Foreign Policy of Asia-Pacific Countries" (アジア・太平洋諸国の対外政策), and "Abbreviations for International Relations" (略語データベース). Many documents are available in English and Chinese as well as Japanese.
The Digital Archive of Japan's 2011 Disasters provides metadata and previews for the holdings of a wide variety of digital archives run by Japanese and overseas institutions, including photographs, news headlines and articles, testimonials, tweets, and websites. It also includes a map function as well as the opportunity for users to create their own themed collections of materials and submit translations of individual items.
This site includes a variety of newsletters and other publications, monthly, irregular, and more frequent, with information on government and foreign policy issues related to the Diet. They include 『調査と情報 - Issue Brief -』, 『レファレンス』, 『外国の立法』, and 『調査資料』.
Although you cannot view these films online, this guide provides extensive information on films viewable at the 311 Documentary Film Archive in Yamagata, including films' official websites and possible other avenues of access.
The Hoji Shinbun digital collection is currently the world’s largest online archive of free-access, full-image newspapers published by overseas Japanese and their descendants. The holdings of each title are browseable by date, and each title is cross-searchable with other titles on the platform. This collection currently contains 14 newspapers published in Hawaii and North America. Some titles are only available with a Stanford login.
The Bancroft Library's documentation of the Japanese American experience during World War II includes over 250,000 pages from an extensive collection of manuscripts and photographs. The materials in the Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Digital Archive are pulled from their voluminous holdings and reveal the multifaceted experience from this complex time in US history.
Archival records of the Imperial Diet can be searched and browsed in this database. Full-text searching is not available; only the table of contents and index can be searched by keyword. However full images of documents can be viewed in the system.
"Japanese Old Photographs of the Bakumatsu-Meiji Periods” at the Nagasaki University Library is the largest collection of old photographs, approximately 7,000, taken all over Japan from the Bakumatsu through to the Meiji period. “Metadata Database of Japanese Old Photographs in Bakumatsu-Meiji Periods” inherited the data from the original “Japanese Old Photographs of the Bakumatsu-Meiji Periods” and presented them in a new design. In addition, the Metadata Database was made in accordance with the Dublin Core (the international standard of metadata) which allows various electronic library systems and digital archives to access the Japanese old photography collection of the Nagasaki University Library.
Many historical photographs of the Meiji and Taisho eras. The photographs used here were taken from the albums and photo books possessed by the National Diet Library. For photographs which are referred to in materials contained in the Digital Library from the Meiji Era (Japanese only) or "Digitized Contents (Rare Books, etc.)" (former Rare Books Image Database) (Japanese only) on the NDL website, links are provided to corresponding sites. In addition, persons related to the photographs contained in the NDL Electronic Exhibition "Portraits of Modern Japanese Historical Figures" are linked to their corresponding pages, and portraits and biographies of the persons can be checked.
The East Asia Image Collection is an open-access archive of digitized photographs, negatives, postcards, and slides of imperial Japan (1868-1945), its Asian empire (1895-1945) and occupied Japan (1947-52). Images unique to this collection include the Warners' unpublished slides and negatives , made from snapshots taken during their years of US State Department service in Asia (1932-1952). Rare materials include prewar picture postcards, high-quality commercial prints, and colonial era picture books.
Early Photography of Japan is a virtual collection of more than 40 souvenir photograph albums and illustrated publications with over 2,000 images from Widener Library, the Fine Arts Library, and Harvard-Yenching Library. These images primarily document the early history of commercial photography in Japan and are representative of what is often called Japanese tourist photography or Yokohama shashin. They reflect the Western image of traditional Japanese culture before the dramatic transformation brought about by modernization during the Meiji period (1868-1912).
The artist Odaka Sennosuke conducted a global survey along with Monbushō researchers in 1931-32 including countries such as southeast Asian nations, India, Afghanistan, and Egypt as well as Europe. This digital archive contains high-quality scans of his photos and additionally locates them on Google Maps.
A wiki-based "database" of full-text transcription from Koji Ruien that also provides links to the original page images.
Shashi Interest Group and Shashi
The Shashi Interest Group was founded to facilitate information sharing about company histories in Japan among researchers, librarians, and other interested parties. Their email archives and wiki can be viewed online; you can also sign up for their mailing list and read their open access journal, Shashi.
The Jitsugyōshi Kenkyū Jōhō Center runs a portal for research into company histories, including historical information on companies, directories, indices, databases, and information related to Shibusawa Eiichi. This is a center run by the Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Group.
This digital version of Shibusawa Eiichi denki shiryō provides either full text or page images of all 68 volumes of the series. The database is keyword searchable (from free-text keywords and the index of volume 1) as well as browsable by volume and author.
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.