Universiteit Leiden

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Subject guide

Japan Studies

Overview of databases, reference works and websites for research in Japan Studies.

Since March 2017 the collection Japanese is located in the Asian Library.

In the Netherlands there are no libraries other than the Asian Library in Leiden, that are engaged in building a broad collection on Japan. There are however good complementing collections elsewhere on specific topics/areas of study. The acquisition of books and other materials will always be done in good cooperation with these other libraries, for example: we will not subscribe to a periodical that is already available in another library.

It is obvious that the Japanese collection is not complete/exhaustive. It is therefore good to be aware of relevant Dutch (national) and international collections. Below you will find an overview of the collections in the Netherlands that are publicly available. For further information you could also check the web addresses of relevant North American libraries, such as the Library of Congress, Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Berkeley.

Leiden University 

Eastern collections
The university library houses/accommodates a good collection of special/extraordinary materials from Japan consisting of old printings, maps, manuscripts and posthumous works/literary remains of for example J.J. Hofmann (1805-1878), the first professor in Japanese and Chinese Studies at Leiden University.

Instituut Kern (in Dutch only)
The Kern Institute is important for art and material culture, but also religious cultures as Buddhism (see: the Catalogue). 

Faculties Law and Social Sciences
Within Leiden, one can find relevant materials on several aspects of modern Japan in the libraries of the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Social Sciences (accessible through the Catalogue)

Bureau Buitenland
A separate collection is that of the Bureau Buitenland (also known as the "Teller-bibliotheek"). The collection is very important for research on modern Asia. One can find the titles in this collection through the Catalogue  (signature "BURBUI"). As of May 11, 2009 this collection, which was hosted by the library for Japanese and Korean Studies for almost 8 years, is housed/accommodated in the university library.

Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde
For art and material culture one can always check the collections of the Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde in Leiden. Their library data has been incorporated in WorldCat. All objects contain a picture and a basic description. One can query the system within certain categories like the kind of object, geographical place of origin and cultural boundaries, but one can of course also use ones own search terms.

Museum Boerhaave (in Dutch only)
In the library of Museum Boerhaave one can also find relevant western publications in the field of Japanese medicine and the history of science (partly overlaps the collection of the East Asian Library). The catalogue on books of the Museum can be accessed through the Catalogue.

Amsterdam, Den Haag, Leeuwarden 
Universiteitsbibliotheek Amsterdam 
The University Library of the University of Amsterdam (UVA) houses many titles on modern Japan especially in the field of Social Sciences.

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Het Rijksmuseum holds/possesses the biggest art history collection of the Netherlands, housed in the monumental creation by Cuypers. Books, periodicals, auction catalogues, annual reports which have to do with the collection of the Rijksmuseum are being collected here. Books and periodicals cannot be borrowed, but the can be read in the reading rooms. Their data has been stored in the Library Catalogue Rijksmuseum Research Library.

Koninklijke Bibliotheek
KB, The National Library of the Netherlands houses all kinds of materials, especially older books. Please, check their homepage once in a while.

The Haagse Gemeentemuseum and thet Princessehof in Leeuwarden are both important because of their vast collection porcelain and earthenware.

Small selection of recommended websites for studying Japanese language and culture:

The official website of the Japanese Embassy in the Netherlands.

Comprehensive and accessible information in Dutch on Japan and the Japanese culture, art and history as well as travelling to and travelling in Japan.

An online Japanese Dictionary Service by professor Jim Breen of Monash University, Australia.

The official website for the Japanese Statistics Bureau.

Yomiuri Online
Online edition of the Daily Yomiuri, Japan.

The Japan Times Online  
Online English version of the Japan Times.

Theses with subjects in the field of Chinese, Japanese and Korean Studies can be found in the database of the Theses Search Engine. One can query all fields by entering a single search term in the search field. Filters can be applied by selecting certain options. To have the database return all theses, leave the search field empty. Click on the x-mark to reset the search form.

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