Japanese Studies


The Japanese-language collection supports the teaching and learning needs of UBC’s students, faculty and researchers who are involved in Japanese Studies. The Japanese Language Librarian will acquire material that meets the research and teaching needs of faculty and graduate students, while purchasing works to assist the language-learning objectives of undergraduate users. The collection also serves as a scholarly resource to foreign scholars and to the citizens of British Columbia.

The collection supports approximately 75 graduate and undergraduate courses related to Japanese Studies. These courses are mainly from the following departments: Asian Studies (Japanese language, literature, history and religious studies), History, Art History and Women’s Studies. There are also courses from the departments of Economics, Anthropology and Geography, as well as from the Faculty of Law and the School of Architecture. In addition, the collection serves as a resource to scholars and students from the Institute of Asian Research, which runs an MA program in Asia Pacific Policy Studies, and which acts as a venue for interdisciplinary Japanese Studies work through its Centre for Japanese Research.

Overview of the strengths of the existing collection

The collection began in 1959, as a result of the agreement that led to UBC being designated a depository library for Japanese Government Publications. In 1981 the Japanese collection, along with the rest of the Asian-language collections, moved to the Asian Centre to form the current Asian Library. The collection has grown significantly due to the expansion of UBC’s Japanese-language program. We have also received many generous donations, both from private donors and from organizations such as the Japan Foundation.

Stemming from the 1959 agreement between Library and Archives Canada and Japan’s National Diet Library, UBC is a designated depository library for Japanese Government Publications, with Asian Library absorbing all material in Japanese script. Through this program, we receive invaluable resources such as official gazettes, white papers, statistical reports and census publications. There are now over 27000 items in this collection, including 6500 monographs, 2850 periodicals and 11000 microfiche.

Current areas of collecting

The Japanese collector selects materials relating to Japanese studies in the Japanese language.


Japanese is the primary language of the collection.

Collections in other UBC Libraries/ Areas of overlap

Art, Architecture & Planning: Some bilingual publications, and select Japanese-language periodicals.

ASRS (Automated Storage and Retrieval System):  low-use material, and items of irregular format, such as some Japanese government publications.

Education Library:  Japanese-language textbooks for B.C. grade schools.

Koerner Library: Japanese-language video recordings with English subtitles, Japanese language learning textbooks for English speakers, and microfiche of Japanese-Canadian newspaper articles.

Law Library: Japanese-language material donated through the Stephen Salzberg Collection and the Salzberg Endowment funds, and all materials under the Library of Congress “K” classification.

Rare Books and Special Collections:  Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era collection of rare Japanese maps, Japanese-Canadian archival material, and Japanese book plate collection.