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Subject guide

Japan Studies: Politics and International Relations

Overview of reference works, journals and website for research in Politics and International Relations of Japan

The UBL offers access to a number of reference books for the study of Politics and International Relations of Japan, both in English and Japanese. These materials can be found mainly in the Asian Library Reading Room, but also in the online catalogue and other library locations. Books from the collections of other library locations can be requested by the user and picked up at any other library location of the UBL, with the exception of reading room books.

Core Literature

Books Asian Library reading room

The following reference works can be found in the Asian Library Reading room.






To access E-books in the online catalogue, you have to login with your ULCN account first. Not all E-books are available for download.

Books at other library locations

For general article search, please refer to the tab ‘articles’ in the general subject guide for Japan Studies. The following databases and bibliographies are of special interest for students and researchers of Politics and International Relations of Japan. Keep in mind that some of these resources do not provide full-text access. They are designed to help the user locate existing source material.

Online resources

Worldwide Political Science Abstracts: provides citations, abstracts, and indexing of the international serials literature in political science and its complementary fields, including international relations, law, and public administration / policy. Over 1,300 titles are being monitored for coverage.

Oxford Handbooks Political Science: contain in-depth articles by scholars at the top of their field. Each chapter surveys contemporary debates in a particular area, offering critical analysis and influential research on the future of the field. Taken together, Handbooks define a topic by crystallizing its debates.

International encyclopedia of political science: consists of eight volumes covering all the main subdisciplines of political science, including comparative politics, epistemology, political economy, political sociology, and international relations. Entries are arranged in alphabetical order, and a list of entries by subject area appears in the front of each volume. The Encyclopedia contains a detailed index as well as extensive bibliographical references. Approximately 80 entries on the use of both qualitative and quantitative research methods in political science are provided.


The library provides access to a selection of journals and magazines related to politics and international relations of Japan. You can find them either in the reading room, as an online e-journl or in the catalogue or in the closed stacks of the library.

Journals in the Asian Library Reading Room

In Japanese, except when indicated otherwise.

Asia monthly - 東亜:アジアマンスリー: monthly magazine covering politics and economics in Asia.

Central Review - 中央公論: Japan’s foremost general-interest magazine covering a wide variety of material, including novels, photographs and reports on various economic, political and social topics.

Diplomacy - 外交: bimonthly magazine on International Relations published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

International Relations  - 国際政治: peer-reviewed annual publication by the Japan Association of International Relations.

Literary Review -文藝春秋: conservative magazine covering a wide range of topics from politics to sport. Each issue features articles written by politicians, journalists and non-fiction writers.

Philosophy - 思想

SAPIO - サピオ: right-wing monthly magazine published by Shogakukan. While the articles mainly center on international matters, domestic matters related to politics, the imperial household, education and society are covered as well.

Will - ウィル: right-wing monthly magazine published by Wack Magazines. Articles predominantly center on anti- Korean (North and South) and Chinese sentiment.

World -  世界


In English, except indicated otherwise.

Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies: the flagship journal of the Crawford School of Public Policy at The Australian National University. It is a peer-reviewed journal that targets research in policy studies in Australia, Asia and the Pacific, across a discipline focus that includes economics, political science, governance, development and the environment.

Asian Perspective: the peer-reviewed social sciences journal of world/comparative politics of the Institute for Far Eastern Studies, Kyungnam University. Published quarterly, Asian Perspective has devoted its pages to critical analysis of the global, regional, and transnational issues affecting East Asia for over 30 years

Asian Survey: the only bimonthly academic journal of contemporary Asian affairs published in the US, Asian Survey provides in-depth analysis on contemporary Asia and international affairs.

Asia-Pacific Journal Japan Focus: peer-reviewed online publication providing critical analysis of the forces shaping the Asia-Pacific and the world. The Journal explores the geopolitics, economics, history, society, culture, international relations and environment of the modern and contemporary Asia-Pacific region.

Contemporary Southeast Asia: comprises up-to-date analyses of important trends and events as well as authoritative and original contributions from leading scholars and observers on matters of current interest

East Asia: an International Quarterly: examines the interplay between the politics and culture that underlies major developments in China, Japan, Korea, and the Pacific Rim. It offers a unique, transnational approach to political, economic, and cultural issues

European Journal of East Asian Studies: global scientific journal specialized in post-1945 East Asian studies, with a focus on East Asia’s socio-economic development, regional affairs and external relations.

International relations of the Asia-Pacific: the English journal of the Japan Association of International Relations. Since its launch in 2001, this triannual journal has been published by Oxford University Press.

Japanese Journal of Political Science: peer-reviewed journal that publishes original theoretical and empirically tested political science research.

Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs: is an international peer reviewed journal that specializes in political and security issues in all the main sub-regions of Asia: Central and West Asia, South Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, and Australasia.

Journal of Contemporary Asia: an established refereed publication, it appears quarterly and has done so since 1970. The journal seeks to publish articles that deal with the broad problems of economic, political and social development of Asia.

Journal of international affairs - 愛知大学国際問題研究所紀要: biannual magazine in Japanese published by Aichi University.

Journal of international relations and comparative culture - 国際関係・比較文化研究: biannual magazine in Japanese published by Shizuoka University.

Pacific Affairs: peer-reviewed, independent, and interdisciplinary scholarly journal focussing on important current political, economic, and social issues throughout Asia and the Pacific

Pacific Focus: published on behalf of the Center for International Studies, Inha University, South Korea. The Journal is a peer-reviewed and indexed and abstracted in the Social Sciences Citation Index, Social Scisearch, Journal Citation Reports/Social Sciences Edition.

Pacific Review: provides a major platform for the study of the domestic policy making and international interaction of the countries of the Pacific Basin. Its primary focus is on politics and international relations in the broadest definitions of the terms.

Positions : East Asia cultures critique: Positions develops theoretical, philosophical, historical, and critical approaches in a forum open to debate. The breadth and pace of the journal ensure that readers seeking to add "Asia" to their areas of critical competency are included in our debates, challenged and informed.

Social science Japan journal: publishes high-quality, refereed scholarly articles on modern Japan. All social science disciplines (anthropology, economics, history, law, political science, and sociology) are represented, including studies of Japan’s international relations and comparisons with other countries.

Journals in the closed stacks

Ritsumeikan Annual Review of International Studies: annual magazine in English published by Ritsumeikan University.

Journals on the Internet

Electronic journal of contemporary Japanese studies: international peer reviewed journal in the Social Sciences and Humanities that publishes academic research and scholarly writing on all issues related to contemporary Japanese society, economy, politics, literature, theatre, cinema, and culture. 

Below follows a selection of databases of use for students of politics and International relations of Japan. Access to these databases is provided by the UBL. Users need to log in first with their ULCN account.

Economist Intelligence Unit

EIU provides economic profiles and reports that assess and forecast political, economic and business conditions for almost 200 countries. Each report examines and explains in depth the issues shaping these countries: the political scene, economic policy, domestic economy, sectoral trends, and foreign trade and payments. Detailed 5 year forecasts complement the analysis and pinpoint political and economic developments and trends.

For Japan, you can find:

  • Country Report data: This can be generated by the user at any time, covering outlooks on political stability, election watch, international relations, policy trends, data and charts and more.
  • Political Forecast: Detailed overview of the political situation and prospect of Japan, including election watch, political and institutional effectiveness, international relations and key players to watch.
  • Political Forecast updates (Daily): These quick-response articles analyse key events in terms of how the EIU expect them to affect the political and economic forecast.
  • Political Analysis: These articles analyze themes and trends in broad terms, from a national, regional or global perspective, and examine how we expect them to develop over time.

Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)

Established in 1962, ICPSR is the world's largest archive of digital social science data. ICPSR acquires, preserves, and distributes original research data and provides training in its analysis. ICPSR also offers access to publications based on data holdings. It hosts 16 specialized collections of data in education, aging, criminal justice, substance abuse, terrorism, and other fields.  For Japan, the database covers studies on such topics as ‘political attitudes in Japan’, ‘controversial facilities in Japan’ etc.

UN iLibrary

The United Nations (UN) iLibrary is a research repository that provides access to the digital content created by the UN. It holds more than 3,500 publications on topics such as peacekeeping & security, international law & justice, public health, agriculture, governance and economic development.

Current affairs in Video

Current Affairs in Video features award-winning films and documentaries emphasizing detailed analysis and discussion of the critical political issues of the day.

Asahi Shinbun Cross Search / 朝日新聞クロスサーチ
A newspaper database for Asahi shinbun published from 1879 to present. Also includes articles from the weekly magazines Aera as well as Shūkan Asahi, from the annual new-word dictionary Chiezō, Asahi shinbun jinbutsu dētabēsu, and Asahi shinbun rekishi shashin ākaibu. This database also includes the English edition of The Asahi Shimbun.

Ronza / 論座
Ronza is the Japanese Asahi Shimbun newspaper site that has been running since July 2010. The contents cover roughly five categories of "politics / international", "economy / employment", "society / sports", "science / environment", and "culture / entertainment", which are updated daily with commentaries, discussions, and interviews by authors both inside and outside the company.

Yomidasu Rekishikan / ヨミダス歴史館
Full texts and image data of Yomiuri Shinbun articles from 1874 to the present. Includes the English edition, The Daily Yomiuri, and biographical information on some 2,000 people. Yomiuri shinbun is Japan’s largest and oldest newspaper and is credited with having the largest newspaper circulation in the world. 

Japan Times Archive
The Japan Times digital archive includes issues of The Japan Times, The Japan Advertiser, The Japan Times & Mail, The Japan Times and Advertiser (Morning ed.), Japan Times and Advertiser (Evening ed.) and the Nippon Times since March 22nd, 1897. The archive contains issues published between 1897 and 2021.

Factiva.com provides access to the latest business and industry news. The database allows users to browse through a collection of global content sources from 200 countries, in 26 languages – including newspapers, continuously updated newswires from Dow Jones and Reuters, journals and magazines, websites, blogs, and multimedia. You can find news about Japan here both in English and in Japanese. 

An overview with links to all major Japanese newspapers websites. 

Zassaku Plus / 雑誌記事索引集成データベース
The complete database for Japanese magazines and periodicals from the Meiji era to the present. Information indexed in this resource includes bibliographical information on journals available in the library, such as Bungei Shunju, Chuo Koron and Fujin Koron. Also included is the index data for the Digital Collection provided by the National Diet Library, and the index for the periodical part of the Gordon W. Prange Collection (the 20th Century Media Information Database). Togehter, Zassaku Plus is the only bibliographical search engine covering sources published in the prewar period from Meiji onwards, as well as postwar publications not indexed by the NDL database. See also this Zassaku user guide from the University of Hawaii at Manoa here. (IMPORTANT: this database does NOT provide Fulltext access!)

Finding Aids

  • Japan’s Foreign Policy, 1868-1941: a research guide (1947)
  • Holding List of the materials at the diplomatic record office of the Ministry of  Foreign Affairs 1992 – 1993 - 外交史料館所蔵 外務省記録総目録
  • A catalog of the Diplomatic Records Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan: before 1945 - 外務省外交資料館所蔵外務省記録総目録戦前記(1992)

The Allied occupation of Japan, 1945-1952 : an annotated bibliography of Western-language materials

Checklist of archives in the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Library, Tokyo, Japan, 1868-1945, microfilmed for Library of Congress 1949-1951: a finding aid for archival documents microfilmed by the Library of Congress of diplomatic documents held by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign affairs on the Pacific War. Some of these are now available through JACAR, but those that are not are very difficult to locate without this finding aid.

Digitally available sources

More and more historical primary source material is being made available online, either in paid databases or for free. Keep in mind that for the subscription-based databases you need to login first with your ULCN account.

Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports: FBIS Daily Reports (1975-1996) consist of translated broadcasts, news agency transmissions, newspapers, periodicals and government statements from nations around the globe. These media sources were monitored in their languages of origin, translated into English and issued by an agency of the U.S. Government.

Japan Center for Asian Historical Records: JACAR has built and operates an online database for releasing Asian historical records, that are historical documents of Japan concerning to the modern Japanese relations with other countries, particularly those in Asia. The documents of the archive are provided by the National Archives of Japan, the Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, and the National Institute for Defense Studies of the Ministry of Defense of Japan.

The National Diet Library of Japan offers digital access to a number of historical resources related to politics and diplomacy, such as:

The Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs collects, classifies, and preserves Japan’s diplomatic records and makes them available to the public for perusal.

Diplomatic Record office


Gordon W. Prange Collection: the Gordon W. Prange Collection is the most comprehensive archive in the world of Japanese print publications issued during the early years of the Occupation of Japan, 1945-1949.  These books, magazines, newspapers, posters, maps and more were subjected to censorship by the Allied Forces. They bear censorship markings ranging from check-in and examination dates to deletions, suppression and other changes. The Collection was named for the late Gordon W. Prange, who was instrumental in bringing the materials to the University of Maryland. An index to the Prange collection is available at the century media information database (20世紀メディア情報データベース).

Other websites of interest

E-International Relationsaccessible route into some of the most interesting ideas, debates and policy issues in international politics. All articles are published under the ISSN 2053-8626.

The World and Japan Database: texts and data for modern Japanese politics and diplomacy, including major speeches by prime ministers and cabinet members since 1885.

The www virtual library: this resource is an Internet directory of over 2000 annotated links to high-quality English-language sources of information and analysis in many international and global studies topics. Sites are carefully selected for their long-term value, favoring those with cost-free, authoritative information and analysis online.

Associations and Institutes

National Diet Library of Japan Research Navigation

An English-language index research navigation guide for scholars, indicating how to search for materials such as meetings of the Diet, statistics, white papers, cabinet decisions, annual reports etc.

E-Gov Japan: in Japanese and in English

The official webportal for the Government of Japan. Here you can find all links to governmental websites, white papers, statistics, press releases and databases. Usually the best place to start if you are looking for government information but you are not sure which site or department to go to. Below follow a few examples of the most important ones for Politics and International Studies of Japan:

Political Parties of Japan Official Websites


E-Stat Portal site of Official Statistics of Japan: portal for all official government statistics of Japan. While the interface is in English, some features on the site are only available in Japanese.  You can search by theme, organization, areas or keywords.

E-stat offers statistical GIS through JStat Map. You need to register for an account first.

Public Opinion Polls and Surveys

: resource in Japanese provided by the Japan Association for Public Opinion Research. You can search using keywords, methodology, region and sample population.

Public Opinion (Japanese Cabinet Office): public opinion surveys conducted by the Japanese Cabinet Office.

Real Politics Japan: here you can find direct links to public opinion pre- and post- election surveys, polls conducted by various newspapers and media outlets, and a dashboard overview of Cabinet and Party approval rates (general and split out per polling agency.

A number of topics are of increasing interest to students and scholars of Japanese Politics and International Relations. In addition to the resources listed so far, you can use the links and material below to get started with these topics.

Revising the Japanese Constitution

The Harvard University Constitutional Revision Research Project was formed in 2005 to examine constitutionalism in Japan, with a particular focus on the current initiative to revise the postwar constitution. The Project hosts several meetings throughout the academic year to analyze and discuss the issues involved in constitutional revision, especially those connected with concepts of national and ethnic identity, women's social participation, the emperor and imperial succession, national defense, and the issues of religion and state. Examples of sources you can find here:

  • Bibliographies with primary and secondary material related to the Meiji Constitution, the Postwar constitution, current debates on the constitutional revision, and comparative research (last updated 2010)
  • Electronic Resources (general),  sources on the constitution of the Empire of Japan (Meiji) and the Postwar Constitution.
  • Public Opinion polls taken by the government and media since 1945
  • Web archives from political parties, citizens, religious groups etc.
  • Drafts for a new constitution and  position papers.

Handbook on the Research Report on the Constitution of Japan

The Research Commission on the Constitution of the House of Councillors conducted a broad and comprehensive study on the Constitution of Japan. The Commission compiled five years and three months’ worth of research results in the Research Report on the Constitution of Japan and submitted it to the President of the House of Councillors on April 20th, 2005. This handbook has been made to help you learn the essence of the Report.

Library of Congress – Background on Article 9 (English)

Library of Congress offers a good overview of the content, interpretations, controversies and efforts to amend Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.

NDL - Birth of the Constitution of Japan

The Archives contains six documents created or collected by people or organizations that played an important role in the effort to enact the Constitution of Japan.

NDL- The Constitution of Japan

The Full text of the Constitution of Japan in English and Japanese


Selected Introductory Readings

The Constitution of Japan: A Contextual Analysis (Shigenori Matsui, Bloomsbury Publishing 2011)

The Quest for Japan's New Constitution: An Analysis of Visions and Constitutional Reform Proposals, 1980-2009 (Christian Winkler, Routledge 2011)

To revise or not to revise: the ‘peace constitution’, pro-revision movement, and Japan's national identity (2018): this article offers an analytical framework for the issue of constitutional reform based on national pride and national security, and argues that the ‘revisionists’ seek to create a new national identity, one that infuses a greater sense of national pride among the public and enables the exercise of collective self-defense, thereby removing Japan's postwar psychological and institutional limitations on nationalism and military activities.

The Constitution of Japan and Constitutional Reform (2016): this article examines the rules of constitutional revision, the basis on which the Constitution was drafted, and the ramifications of an unmodified constitution. Japan's Constitution is compared in terms of length and number of revisions with those of other industrialized countries. The article concludes with recommendations for making Japan's Constitution better able to function in a legal capacity.

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