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Resources for Japanese Studies

Mount Fuji Japanese Fan Cherry Blossom

Japanese Studies involves the study of various aspects of Japanese Culture: language, literature, history, politics, art, and religion. This guide points out some of the resources available in this field. It is not complete; please don't hesitate to ask a librarian for help if you are not finding what you need.

Table of Contents:

Indexes and Databases
For more information and additional suggestions, visit the Databases Guide for Japanese Studies.

    Full-text backfiles to over 350 scholarly journals from more than 25 academic disciplines published between the 19th and 21st centuries in the JSTOR Arts & Sciences I, Arts & Sciences II, and Language & Literature collections. JSTOR provides complete journal backruns from the date of initial publication up to a "moving wall" of 3 to 5 years before the present year. To limit your search to full text articles, make sure that the option to "include links to external content" is turned off.
  • Project MUSE

    Project MUSE provides full text electronic access to over 100 scholarly journals in humanities, the social sciences, and mathematics. Topics covered include literary theory; classics; history and cultural studies; philosophy; film, theatre and the performing arts; political science and mathematics.
Reference Works
  • Dictionaries
    • Kenkyusha Nichi-Ei jiten/ henshu daihyo Takebayashi Shigeru
      Japanese-English learner's dictionary.
      • Location(s): Ref PL 697.K382 1992
    • A New Dictionary of Kanji Usage
      The character entries are arranged by frequency of usage and examples of their usage are provided (especially helpful for those characters with more than one meaning). Characters are also illustrated in different forms as they do not always appear in the same form. For each kanji, the stroke order is illustrated (i.e. how to draw the kanji).
      • Location(s): Ref PL 679.K87 1982
    • Vaccari's standard English-Japanese dictionary
      Translations of English words into Japanese.
      • Location(s): Ref PL 679.V33 1967
  • History and Culture
    • Dictionary of the Modern Politics of Japan
      Includes prime ministers, party leaders, political parties, judicial systems, political crises, influential interest groups, government policy and many other topics related to Japanese politics.
      • Location(s): Ref JQ 1605.S86 2003
    • Encyclopedia of Contemporary Japanese Culture
      This resource includes topics related to architecture, education, family, film, music, media, politics, sports, technology, etc.
      • Location(s): Ref DS 822.5 .E516 2002
    • Japan Encyclopedia
      A one-volume encyclopedia covering the art, culture, history, literature and religion of Japan. Also contains many biographies. This resource is more like a dictionary and works well as a quick reference source.
      • Location(s): Ref DS 821 .F73 2002
    • Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan
      Covers a wide range of topics on Japanese history, culture, economics, and biography. Articles were composed by Japanese and western scholars.
      • Location(s): Ref DS 805 .K633 1983 (9 vols)
  • Literature
    • Modern Japanese Writers
      Profiles of the life and works of twenty-four modern Japanese writers. Each entry has a bibliography containing the author's works and critical and biographical studies about the author.
      • Location(s): Ref PL 723 .M563 2001
    • The Princeton Companion to Classical Japanese Literature
      Contains a literary history, short entries on major authors, literary terms, theater and miscellaneous information including annual celebrations, geography, court titles and armor.
      • Location(s): Ref PL 726.1 .M495 1985
  • Travel
    • Japan
      A travel guide to Japan including recommendations for accommodations, shopping, sight-seeing and eating. Contains color photographs and 170 maps.
      • Location(s): Ref DS 805.2 .J35 2000
Finding Books
  • MnPALS Plus

    The online catalog to the library at Gustavus Adolphus College. Choose "All Libraries" in the search options to search other MnPALS libraries (such as Minnesota State schools) and request books through Interlibrary Loan. View our MnPALS Plus tutorial.
  • Limiting MnPALS Searches by Language

    You may limit MnPALS searches by language: from the Advanced Search screen, go to "Limit search to" section, and select a language from the "Language" drop-down menu.
Browsing for Books
Books are shelved in general subject categories using the Library of Congress classification system. You may want to supplement your use of the catalog with browsing shelf areas for your topic. Below is a brief listing of some of the subject locations in the field of Japanese studies.
  • BQ 1-9800 Buddhism
  • DS 801-897 Japan, history
  • PL 501-899 Japanese language and literature


Print journals are housed in the periodicals collection on the first floor of the library.
  • Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies
  • Japanese Religions
  • Journal of Japanese Studies
  • Monumenta Nipponica
  • General
    • Jguide

      Stanford University's guide about Japan with links to topics from arts and entertainment to science and technology.
  • Literature
    • Japan Text Initiative

      An initiative designed to make texts of classical Japanese literature available on the World Wide Web.
  • Media
    • Japan Times

      Japanese newspaper in English.
  • Travel
The Audio Visual Department, located on the first floor, has some videos and DVDs in Japanese. Videos/DVDs can be checked out for 24 hours and are listed in the library catalog.

Photo Credits (L to R)

Mount Fuji -
Japanese Fan -
Sakura (Cherry Blossom) Japan 2008 -

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