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Japan Studies

Subject Guides for Japan studies

Searching the Library Catalogue for Japanese titles.


You can search the  SOAS Library Catalogue in both English and Japanese but pre 2000 titles may not have Japanese characters. 

Searching by romanization is recommended although searching by Japanese is possible. 

Some old cataloguing records do not contain the original Japanese script. The Japanese serach has to use exact scripts of Kanji, hiragana, and katakana. 

A. Japanese books are romanized with the modified Heppbern system. The following are a few of the more frequently encountered mistakes:  

大江 Oe                  (not Ohe)
東京 Tokyo             (not Toukyou)
学習 Gakushu          (not Gakushyuu)
日中 Nitchu             (not Niccuu)

 B. Japanese titles should be searched for with proper word divisions. Please try with as many divisions as possible if a title is not found in an online search. Examples of word divisions are:

兵庫県史  Hyogo  kenshi
日本文化は異質か Nihon bunka wa ishitsu ka
世界平和を考える Sekai heiwa o kangaeru
美術館へ行こう Bijutsukan e iko
日本史 Nihon shi  = 固有名詞+史 (with space)
女性史 Joseishi = 普通名詞+史
日中関係 Nitchu kankei
中日辞典 Chu-Nichi kankei
C. ALA-LC Romanization Tables 



  • Western language publications are arranged by country prefixed by a letter code    
    • D = Japan
  • Vernacular language publications are arranged by language prefixed by a letter code    
    • DB = Japanese publications on Japan
  • Re-shelving : Level C - shelves on the wall near stack 74
  • Main collection: Level C (stacks 1-74)
  • Books prefixed L (Large) or Ref (Reference) are separately located
    • Reference collection: Level C (stacks 206-213)
    • Large books: Level C (stack 71-74)

Off-site material 

  • Part of the collection is held in off-site storage. For example, 
    • DBT- Japanese publications on Japan (off-site)
    • DBC- Japanese publications on China (off-site)
    • DBS -Japanese publications on other areas (off-site)
  • To request off-site material click on the link just above the book title
  • Please check Location List for details of classmarks



Early modern texts typically indicate dates using era names (nengō 年号).  For the Edo period run as follows:

Keichō 慶長 1596-1615 Genroku 元禄 1688-1704 Kansei 寛政 1789-1801
Genna 元和 1615-1624 Hōei 宝永 1704-1711 Kyōwa 享和 1801-1804
Kan’ei 寛永 1624-1644 Shōtoku 正徳 1711-1716 Bunka 文化 1804-1818
Shōhō 正保  1644-1648 Kyōhō 享保 1716-1736 Bunsei 文政 1818-1830
Keian 慶安 1648-1652 Genbun 元文 1736-1741 Tenpō 天保 1830-1844
Jōō 承応  1652-1655 Kanpō 寛保 1741-1744 Kōka 弘化  1844-1848
Meireki 明暦   1655-1658 Enkyō 延享 1744-1748 Kaei 嘉永 1848-1854
Manji 万治   1658-1661 Kan’en 寛延 1748-1751 Ansei 安政 1854-1860
Kanbun 寛文 1661-1673 Hōreki 宝暦 1751-1764 Man’en 万延 1860-1861
Enpō 延宝 1673-1681 Meiwa 明和 1764-1772 Bunkyū 文久 1861-1864
Tenna 天和 1681-1684 An’ei 安永 1772-1781 Genji 元治 1864-1865
Jōkyō 貞享 1684-1688 Tenmei 天明 1781-1789 Keiō 慶応 1865-1868