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Japan Studies: Research

A brief guide to library resources on Japanese history and culture

Sesson Shūkei - Tree & Boat

Landscape of a Tree and Boat, painting by Sesson Shūkei (16th century) Crop of painting by Sesson Shūkei (16th century) - See more art by Sesson and others in ARTStor.


The Library has a large collection of article databases that can connect you with academic work on Japan. Unfortunately, there is no single 'Japan Studies' database exists. Instead, we have databases that are largely divided by disciplinary boundaries, each with different strengths, search tools, and quirks. Below is a list of some of the databases most likely to be useful for your research on various aspects of Japan.

News and Current Events

Japan has a dynamic newspaper scene and a high readership. In fact, the three highest circulating newspapers in the world are Japanese: the Yomiuri Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun and Mainichi Shimbun.

For many more news options, including local papers, use Abyz News.


When searching for books (or anywhere, really), by mindful of the multiple styles of romanization. The Library, like most academic institutions, follows the Library of Congress guidelines, but our catalog search engine imposes some additional constraints. Here are some things to remember:

  • Long vowels are typically ignored. おおえ けんざぶろう would be romanized as Ōe Kenzaburo, but searched as 'oe kenzaburo'.
  • Doubled consonants are written that way: とっこう would be romanized as Tokkō, and searched as 'tokko' (note also the loss of the macron). A particular case is doubled [ch-] sounds: chi (ち), chu (ちゅ), etc.. When doubled, these are proceeded by a [t], so  えっちゅう is romanized as Etchu and searched the same way.
  • In words where an -n (ん) proceeds a [b], [p], or [m] sound -- e.g. bu (ぶ), po (ぽ), ma (ま), -- it is sometimes romanized as [m]. This is inconsistent, however; しんぶん might be romanized as either Shimbun or Shinbun and should be searched using both spellings.

General Reference, Arts, & Historical Artifacts

Statistics, Demographic & Otherwise

Research Tools & Assistance

For more research assistance, or any other questions, stop by the reference desk (9-7 Mon-Thurs; 9-5 Fri; 2-6 Sun), call during desk hours (360-867-6252), or email Riley Woodward-Pratt at

Sesson Shūkei - Tree and Boat

Landscape and Boat, painting by Sesson Shukei (16th century) Crop of painting by Sesson Shukei (16th century) - See more art by Sesson and others in ARTStor.

Daniel J. Evans Library - MS: LIB2300 - 2700 Evergreen Parkway, NE. Olympia, WA 98501 - 360-867-6250