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These portal sites provide a variety of information on historical topics and periods, largely web-based resources rather than print or digital archives.
Mada aru. Shōwa Navi まだある。昭和ナビ
A portal site for all things Showa, including videos, products, special sections, food, and history. It also has reviews of current Showa-related products and restaurants, and Showa-related news.
MIT Visualizing Cultures
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.
Henry Smith's Home Page
Henry Smith at Columbia has created an information-rich page with books, articles, syllabi, course materials, and bibliography resources for Japanese history and Japanese studies.
Portal site for the magazine Rekijin, about all periods of history. Visual and oriented for a popular audience, Japanese content only.
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.
These databases, webpages, and guides are useful reference sources for the study of history of all periods in Japan.
Wareki Nendai-hyō hoka 和暦年代表ほか
This page contains a variety of chronological resources on history, including a full chart of period and Chinese calendar year names from 782 to 2008 as well as chronological lists of shoguns.
Koji Ruien 古事類苑 (Penn)
From the JapanKnowledge+ search page, filter your results to Koji Ruien (under 'historical works') to search this reference work.
Zokuzoku Gunsho Ruijū 続々群書類従
This is a full table of contents, plain text and searchable, with publication dates and editions, for the series Zokuzoku Gunsho ruijū.
Guide to Shōsōin Research
Prof. Bryan Lowe's guide provides a detailed introduction to the Shōsōin archive in Japan and how to do research using the documents contained there, including references to other books and articles.
Bibliographie zur historischen Japanforschung
A German-language bibliography of over 1300 sources related to historical Japanese studies.
Online Glossary of Japanese Historical Terms
Follow the link at the bottom of this page to access a glossary of Japanese historical terms provided by the Historiography Institute at the University of Tokyo. The search is Japanese only.
Dictionary of Sources on Classical Japan
Use the link at the bottom of the page to access the dictionary of sources on classical Japan provided by the Historiography Institute at the University of Tokyo.
A Basic Guide to Resources on Japanese Colonialism
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.
Bibliography of Japanese History to 1912
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.
National Archives of Japan Digital Archive 国立公文書館デジタルアーカイブ
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.
Rekihaku Database (National Museum of Japanese History) れきはくデータベース（国立歴史民族博物館）
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.
Historiographical Institute at the University of Tokyo databases 東京大学資料編纂所
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.
David Rumsey Map Collection
This resource contains a large number of historical maps of Japan, and allows you to overlay them on resources like contemporary maps and Google Earth.
Hito to Kusuri no Ayumi 人と薬のあゆみ
This archive contains a large number of digitized objects and images from the collections of the Medicine Museum (くすりの博物館).
Digital Archives - Pre- and Early Modern
These digital archives are relevant to the study of the pre- and early modern history of Japan.
The Hyakugō Archives WEB 東寺百合文書WEB
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.
Kokugakuin University Library Digital Library 國學院大學図書館デジタルライブラリー
This digital archive contains a variety of history related documents, especially the medieval and Edo periods, including related to law, bushidō, and archival sources.
Gunsho Ruijū 群書類従 (Penn)
Online version of Gunsho Ruijū (plus zoku and zokuzoku) via JapanKnowledge+ platform for Penn affiliates.
Kamakura Ibun 鎌倉遺文 (古文書編) (Penn)
Online edition of Kamakura Ibun via the JapanKnowledge+ platform for Penn Affiliates.
Digital Archives - Modern
These digital archives cover a variety of topics and are relevant for Japanese history from the Meiji to contemporary periods. They include images as well as documents.
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.
Digital Archive of Documents on Japanese Foreign Policy 日本外交文書
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 データベース「世界と日本」
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.
Digital Archive of Japan's 2011 Disasters
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.
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.
National Diet Related Information 国会関連情報
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』.
311 Documentary Film Archive
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.
Hoji Shinbun Digital Collection
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 Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement: A Digital Archive
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.
NDL Imperial Diet Records Database 帝国議会会議録検索システム
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 in Bakumatsu-Meiji Periods (Nagasaki)
"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.
The Meiji and Taisho Eras in Photographs 写真の中の明治・大正
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.
Japanese Old Photographs of the Bakumatsu-Meiji Period - High Quality Image Collection (Nagasaki)
High-quality images of the photographs contained in the "Japanese Old Photographs of the Bakumatsu-Meiji Period" database.
East Asia Image Collection (Layfayette)
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.
Magic Lantern Slides Collection (Hawaii)
University of Hawaii Manoa's collection of magic lantern slides from Japan.
Early Photographs of Japan (Harvard)
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).
Wada Shin Survey Photographs 和田新調査撮影記録
A digital archive of high-quality scans of photographs taken around the world by Wada Shin 和田新.
Odaka Sennosuke Survey Photographs 尾高鮮之助調査撮影記録
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.
International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken)
Nichibunken provides a large number of databases, although some require registration. The following are a selection of those useful for history.
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.
Shibusawa Shashi Database 渋沢社史データベース
This database allows you to search over 1000 company histories, as well as browse.
Jitsugyōshi Kenkyū Jōhō Center 実業史研究情報センター
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.
Digital-ban Shibusawa Eiichi Denki Shiryō デジタル版『渋沢栄一伝記資料』
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.
National Institute of Japanese Literature
The National Institute of Japanese Literature provides a variety of databases. This is a selection related to history.
Archives-gaku Bunken Database アーカイブズ学文献データベース
This is a comprehensive bibliography of research on archival studies, with detailed bibliographic information for each entry and searchable by keyword.
Koji Ruien Database 古事類苑データベース
This database provides the full text of Koji Ruien, plus searchable full-text and excerpts. It also directly connects to Nichibunken's database of scanned page images of the text.
Meiji-ki Shuppan Kōkoku Database 明治期出版広告データベース
This database provides page images of a advertisements from the Meiji period, from the Tokyo nichinichi shinbun and Eiri jiyū shinbun.
Rekishi Jinbutsu Gazō Database 歴史人物画像データベース
This database provides illustrations of a variety of historical figures, from period documents.
Shūzō Rekishi Archives Database 収蔵歴史アーカイブズデータベース
This database provides bibliographic information about historical collections held by archives throughout Japan, Asia, and more, searchable by keyword and browsable by region.
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.