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Japanese Studies: Japanese History

Guide to resources for the study of Japan and Japanese

This page is a work in progress; form and content are subject to change.

Primary Sources for the Study of Japanese History

Labor Contracts and Labor Relations in Early Modern Central Japan (2004). eBook

By: Nagata, Marie Louis.  Documents regarding Industrial relations and family-owned business enterprises in Tokugawa era (1600–1868).

Visualizing Cultures: Image Driven Scholarship This site was launched at MIT in 2002 to use new technology and rare visual materials to reconstruct the past as people of the time visualized the world (or imagined it to be). Topical units to date focus on Japan in the modern world and early-modern China.

Asia and the West: 19th Century Diplomacy and Cultural Exchange. This database contains 19th Century British Foreign Office and United States consular and diplomatic records from China, Japan, and Southeast Asia. These records reflect day-to-day encounters with the indigenous populations, the expansion of trade, extraterritorial rights, treaty provisions. It also contains a substantial selection of missionary correspondence and journals. Maintained by Gale-Cengage.

Lillian Schoedler in Asia

Travel Writing, Spectacle, and World History brings together hundreds of accounts produced by women documenting their travels across the globe. Several accounts cover travel in Asia. The materials contained in this database range from the early 19th century to the late 20th century and include unique manuscripts, diaries, correspondence, guidebooks, postcards, sketches and photographs. From Adam Mathews Digital

Empire Online World Empires from 1492-1969. Includes a wealth of primary sources including manuscripts, rare printed materials, letter books, missionary papers, slave papers, travel writing, periodicals, diaries, photographs and more. Supplementing the primary sources are secondary resources such as essays, interactive maps, chronology and an image gallery. Materials in the collections spans five centuries, charting the story of the rise and fall of empires, gathered from a wide range of reputable institutions, with a core from the British Library. Maintained by Adam Matthew Digital.

The American Presidency Project is maintained by political science professors John Woolley and Gerhard Peters and hosted at UC Santa Barbara. This database provides access to numerous documents related to US-Japan relations. You can search for key terms and limit your search to a particular president's era of administration.

Digital version of US Congressional Serial Set contains all the Reports, Documents, and Journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives from 1817 to the present. These documents constitute a rich source of primary source material on all aspects of American history. A print version of the Serial Set would consist of over 12 million pages.

The World and Japan

This database consists of basic documents for studying the international relations of Japanese politics mainly after WWII. In addition to these basic documents, this database includes addresses made by Prime Ministers to the Imperial Diet before WWII as well as addresses in and outside of the National Diet after WWII. Also included are addresses made by Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Ministers of Finance, Secretaries of Economic Planning Agency, Japanese representatives to the UN General Assembly, and Summit-related documents. In this database, you can also find many important WWII documents.

Histories of Japan

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

Histories of Japan

Conrad B. Totman, The Collapse of the Tokugawa Bakufu 1862–1868 (University of Hawaii Press, 1980).

Marius B. Jansen, Sakamoto Ryōma and the Meiji Restoration (Princeton Univ. Press, 1961).


New Books

Japanese Internment Camps WWII

Topaz Museum Website (Delta, Utah)

Collected Literary Magazines of Americans of Japanese Descent


This twenty-three volume set of book reproduces copies of literary magazines created by Japanese incarcerated in relocation centers in various parts of the United States: New York, California, Arizona (Poston & Gila River), and Wyoming (Heart Mountain). it is shelved in the Japanese Section of the Asian Collection on Level 4 of the Harold B. Lee Library. Call Number: PL 889 .U52 N9 

National Archives: Japanese American Incarceration During WWII

Includes access to several relevant primary source documents documents and other resources.

Densho 伝承: This English language website documents the testimonies of Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated during World War II. It preserves firsthand accounts, coupled with historical images and teacher resources.