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Resources for Japanese Language Learners: Home

This guide introduces students learning Japanese, at undergrad and graduate levels, to resources at the library and online that will help them with their language study.


This guide is here to help you, a non-native speaker and reader of Japanese, in your language study by introducing resources in the library that will help you learn Japanese more effectively. These include books, magazines, films, and online resources (both free and Penn subscriptions). I hope you have fun learning Japanese while reading and listening to these real-world examples of the language!

Banner of books with titles on the spine in Japanese.

If you ever have questions or want advice about looking for Japanese-language resources for your study or research, please contact Rebecca, who is here to help you as your librarian.

East Asia Seminar Room 東アジア参考室

The Seminar Room, located in Van Pelt 526 (next to Rebecca's office), is available for you to use for reading and study. Some of your classes may meet in here (especially graduate seminars), and you'll come to this room for tadoku 多読 reading practice at least once per semester for language classes. Feel free to plug into the large monitor and use reference books or bring comics and literature into the room to read. You can work alone or in groups, but please be mindful of noise level if other students are using the room, and refrain from using the room when classes are in session.

The East Asia Seminar Room in Van Pelt Library.

Rebecca's Office

Find Rebecca in Van Pelt 527 on the 5th floor, next to the Seminar Room!


Penn Libraries has a wide variety of resources that can help you learn Japanese through real-world language. They include e-resources such as newspaper digital archives; books (mostly academic); fiction and essays; manga; and magazines.

You'll find most of your resources in Van Pelt Library in either the Current Periodicals area (first floor next to circulation) or East Asia Stacks (fifth floor). Some may also be in the East Asia Seminar Room (room 526) which is free for you to use to study. Some art resources may be in the Fine Arts Library across from Van Pelt, or in our storage facility LIBRA. Our Franklin catalog will tell you the location in the book's record.

Please take a look at the resources on the tabs at the top of this guide and get in touch if you have questions.

Dictionaries and Online Tools

Articles and Ebooks

A quick note about academic articles and ebooks:

Japan is a little different from the US and other East Asian counties in that its publishing industry is still overwhelmingly focused on print resources rather than digital, especially for sale to libraries. If you're looking for journal articles, they'll be available in print (mostly) either at Penn or through Inter-Library Loan. See the "Magazines" tab in this guide for help on getting ahold of them from other libraries both in the US and Japan.

Things in the public domain in Japan (out of copyright) are sometimes available online such as through NDL's Digital Collections or HathiTrust, and the amount of ebooks available to us is growing, but you unfortunately can't get popular literature or manga in digital format through the library right now. Please take a look at our print copies in Van Pelt instead!


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Rebecca Mendelson
527 Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center

Online Resources and Reference

These web pages and tools have helpful information and features for learning Japanese online.

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