Japanese collections

Collection history

The East Asia Library at Stanford was established in 2002, when the Hoover Library and Archives handed over their collection of books and newspapers to the Stanford University Libraries.  Since that time, the Japanese collection has grown with the aim of providing primary, secondary and e-resources in support of the research and teaching of Stanford's faculty and students and preserving materials critical to understanding the current historical moment.  

The materials received from the Hoover Archives were collected over a half century. During the early postwar period, from 1945-1952, Hoover Archives established a Tokyo office and pursued an intensive acquisition program. Even after the Tokyo office was closed, Hoover continued to collect materials in Japanese related to war, peace and revolution.  The books received from Hoover reflect their acquisition policy with strengths in the area of pre-war Japan and its colonial regions in China, Korea, Taiwan, and Manchuria.

Since 2002, the collection has diversified.  Perhaps the most popular collection in the East Asia Library, the manga comic book collection boasts over 650 titles.  Further, a rare collection of textbooks that span the 20th century are frequently objects of scholarly inquiry.  Materials from the Edo period (1600-1868) and earlier have been added.  Buddhist ritual manuals and gorgeous literary texts rich with woodblock print images invite users to imagine earlier times. With an eye to providing primary resources that are accessible to non-Japanese speakers, the library has built a collection of prints similar in genre with "views" that present a circumscribed locale from a bird's eye view.  The library is also acquiring materials that will be primary resources for future scholars.  Indeed, the collection of posters, children's books, manga, ephemera related to the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster have already been the object of much scholarship. 

Collection description

The Japanese Language Collection's strength lies in the humanities and the social sciences with substantial holdings across various fields. As of December 15, 2013, the Collection consisted of well over 200,000 volumes, approximately 1,700 serials titles, 950 microform titles, and 1,900 reference books. Japanese Studies at Stanford is further supported by a collection of secondary materials in Western languages, which are held in Green Library.

The East Asia Library houses approximately 550 volumes of Edo-period Japanese woodblock printed picture books as well as a large collection of rare print materials from the immediate post-war period.  Although Stanford's Japanese collection is primarily found in the East Asia Library, scholars also are encouraged to take advantage of the impressive collection of early twentieth century Japanese maps of greater East Asia housed at the Branner Earth Sciences Library, the archival materials held at the Hoover Library, and the Japanese language materials held by the Art and Music Libraries at Stanford.

The Japanese language collection at the East Asia aims to support the teaching, learning and research of the faculty and students in the East Asia studies programs at Stanford University, but the resources are available to scholars throughout the nation and Europe through Interlibrary Loan service. 

Reference contact and recommending library purchases

For reference help with the Japanese collection or to suggest Japanese-language titles for purchase, please contact:

Regan Murphy Kao

Dr Regan Murphy Kao

Director, East Asia Library
Head of East Asia Library Special Collections
Curator for Japanese Collections