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Japanese Studies: Encyclopedias

Guide to resources for the study of Japan and Japanese

What are reference works?

Reference works provide background information on important people, events, concepts, and topics central to a particular field of study—in this case Japanese Studies. Below, you will find a variety of encyclopedias, handbooks, biographical dictionaries, and other research aids. Wikipedia is an accessible and very useful resource, but it is just one of many encyclopedic resources. The reference works listed below can help you quickly gain background knowledge you need for your Japanese Studies research project. And if you are still looking for a research topic, these resources can introduce you to research ideas you might never consider on your own.

Encyclopedias & Historical Dictionaries


The Kodansha Bilingual Encyclopedia of Japan


DS 805 .K6323 1998


The Cambridge History of Japan

The New Cambridge History of Japan 

(eBook Collection)

Volume 1: Not Yet Published

Volume 2:  Early Modern Japan in Asia and the World, c. 1580–1877

Volume 3: The Modern Japanese Nation and Empire, c.1868 to the 21st Century

The Cambridge History of Japan

(eBook Collection)

Volume 1: Ancient Japan

Volume 2: Heian Japan

Volume 3: Medieval Japan

Volume 4: Early Modern Japan

Volume 5: The Nineteenth Century

Volume 6: The Twentieth Century

We also have physical copies of these books in the library located on Level 1 at call number: DS 835 .C36 1988


Excellent Dictionary Apps for Your Mobile Device

Shirabe Jisho Includes the ability to write text with your finger, multiple grammatical forms, and sample sentences for each entry

Jisho Japanese Dictionary Includes finger writing lookup and besides the dictionary it provides a ton of short news articles to practice your Japanese reading skills and some materials for working on your Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) N levels.


Japanese Language Proficiency Test Preparation

These books are located in the Japanese Section of the Asian Collection on HBLL Level 4.


日本語能力試験 : 公式問題集 

(2 vols.: N1 & N2)

Japanese Language Proficiency Test Preparation (2018)