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.
These are sites with information about premodern books, or kotenseki 古典籍.
Berkeley Kotenseki Workshop Presentations
The Kotenseki Workshop sponsored by C. V. Starr East Asian Library and the Center for Japanese Studies, University of California, Berkeley, and the National Institute of Japanese Literature was held at the C. V. Starr East Asian Library on March 11, 2016. This guide contains PDFs of the presentation slides from that workshop.
Japanese Culture Through Rare Books MOOC
A MOOC taught by Sasaki Takahiro and Ichinohe Wataru from Keio University on traditional Japanese books and book culture. This is an introductory course and is open to anyone with an interest in the history of Japanese books. A basic knowledge of the history of Japan and Japanese literature will be helpful but is not required. The course makes use of a number of visual resources; course videos are in Japanese with English subtitles.
Scandanavian Society of Japanese Philately
Includes many images of Japanese stamps of various types, including revenue stamps, from the Meiji and Taisho periods.
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.
A project from the University of Rochester about "Japan as destination in 20th century visual and material culture." Includes many images of various kinds of materials from the 20th century.
Meiji at 150 Project
This project celebrating 150 years since the beginning of the Meiji period in 2017-2018 includes lectures and workshops at UBC, as well as online teaching materials and exhibits as well as a podcast found here.
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.
A search engine for inkan, indexed by personal name of artists, scholars, and calligraphers from the Edo period.
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.
How to Read an Almanac Calendar
A tutorial based on a Meiji lucky-day calendar showing how to read an almanac-style book; also includes a PDF of many examples of these Meiji books.
Media and Images
Image and other media databases related to print and material culture through Japanese history.
Image Database of Texts and Pictures on East Asian Publishing Culture
A searchable and browsable database of images of publishing culture throughout history from the Center for Northeast Asian Studies, Tohoku University.
Imaging Kantō (Duke University)
Imaging Kantō was created as a digital complement to Gennifer Weisenfeld’s Imaging Disaster: Tokyo and the Visual Culture of Japan’s Great Earthquake of 1923 to archive, crowd-source, and exhibit images of the Great Kantō Earthquake and its Tokyo urban context in conjunction with important historical visualizations of data from the disaster and reconstruction process.