Background & Context
Art and Architecture of Japan Art N7350.P3 1981
OBIS record

Heibonsha Survey of Japanese Art. Call numbers vary
An important English language survey providing an introduction to the arts of Japan. Volumes include extensive illustrations and diagrams. Each volume covers a medium and/or period.  OBIS record

History of Japanese art. By Penelope Mason; 2nd ed. revised by Donald Dinwiddie Art Library, N 7350 .M26 2005
OBIS record   See also the 1993 1st edition: OBIS record

What is Japanese Architecture? Art Library, NA 1553 .N5713 1985
An introduction to traditional Japanese architecture divided into four categories: Worship, Entertainment, Battle, Daily Life.  OBIS record
Benezit Dictionary of Asian Artists
Use for biographies of Asian artists, especially those from China or Japan. 

Biographical Dictionary of Japanese Art. Art Library Reference. N 7358 .B55 1981
Use for biographies of Japanese artists. Arranged by media; use the index to find all references to an artist. Includes maps, black and white plates and charts of artistic lineages and families. OBIS record

Dictionary of Japanese Artists: Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, Prints, Lacquer Art Library Reference, N 7358 .R6
Use for biographies of Japanese artists alive before 1972. Artists are listed by western names; entried include corresponding characters and alternate names. OBIS record

Japanese Women Artists, 1600-1900 Art N7353.5.F57 1988 c.1-2
Catalog of an exhibition held at the Spencer Museum of Art, Apr. 2-May 22, 1988 and the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Sept. 21-Oct. 23, 1988. OBIS record
Academic Search Complete Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images
Multidisciplinary - good for nearly all subjects. Scholarly and trade journals, popular magazines, newspapers, conference proceedings, book reviews, and more.

Ars Orientalis and Ars Islamica
Search the entire run of Ars Orientalis (volumes 1 to present,) and its predecessor Ars Islamica (volumes 1-16) for scholarly articles on all aspects of asian art.

Art Full Text (1984 to date)
Indexes 350 art magazines and journals covering pre-historic to contemporary art. Some full text from 1995-date.  For earlier dates search its companion database Art Index Retrospective (1929-1984)
Searching both databases simultaneously for publications dated 1929 to the present. Both databases index the Allen Memorial Art Museum Bulletin.  
Bibliography of Asian Studies (1971 to date)
Indexes English language articles on all aspects of  East, Southeast, and South Asian culture.  
Scholarly journal archive for the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences;  most journals 2-5 years out-of-date
Dictionaries & Encyclopedias
Dictionary of Chinese and Japanese Art. (Munsterberg). Art Library Reference, N 7340 .M8175 1981
Useful definitions of Japanese subject matter, styles, techniques as well as specific schools and biographies. OBIS record

A Dictionary of Japanese Art Terms, Bilingual / Wa-Ei Taisho Nihon Bijutsu Yogo Jiten Art Library Reference, N 7350 .W23 1990
Use to translate Japanese characters into English. Arranged by "stroke count". There is a useful "Index of Romanized Japanese Terms" in the back.  OBIS record

Encyclopedia of Asian American Artists. Art Library Reference, N 6538 .A83 H35 2007
Biographies of 75 artists with cultural connections to the US and one or more East Asian countries.  OBIS record

Grove Art Online
Most comprehensive art encyclopedia available in English; useful for scholarly overviews and excellent bibliographies. 

JAANUS: Dictionary of Japanese Architectural and Art Historical Terminology.
This dictionary contains approximately 8000 terms related to traditional Japanese architecture and gardens, painting, sculpture and art-historical iconography from approximately the 1st century A.D. to the end of the Edo period (1868).   (from the website)

New Kabuki Encyclopedia: a Revised Adaptation of Kabuki Jiten. Art Library Reference & Main Library Reference, PN 2924.5 .K3 L44 1997
The most comprehensive reference work on Kabuki available in English, use the New Kabuki Encyclopedia to learn more about Kabuki actors, acting conventions, plays, and synopses of kabuki plays.  OBIS record
Buddhism. by Louis Frédéric Art Ref N8193 .L6813 1995

Elements of Buddhist Iconography.
Use for a better understanding of the Tree of Life, the Earth-Lotus, the Word-Wheel, the Lotus-Throne, and the Fiery Pillar.  Also available in print: Art Library,  Art 709.54 C78E

Encyclopedia of Buddhist Deities, Demigods, Godlings, Saints, and Demons With Special Focus on Iconographic Attributes Art Ref. BQ130.B88 1994 vols. 1-2
Details Buddhism's complex supernatural world Tables for identifying deities by their attributes (vol. 2) OBIS record

Image of the Buddha. Art Library, N 8193.2 .A4I45 1978
Use to better understand Buddha images in Asian art.   OBIS record

Mudra; A Study of Symbolic Gestures in Japanese Buddhist Sculpture. Art Library, 730.952 SA87M
OBIS record

Symbols of Japan: Thematic Motifs in Art and Design. Art Library Reference, N 7350 .B233 2001
Use to trace the historical development, use, and meaning of specific Japanese motifs and symbols found in fine art (prints, paintings, ceramics, sculpture) as well as functional objects, (secular, domestic and religious), weaponry and other metalwork, theatrical and everyday dress, etc.  The entries are grouped into broad themes; use the index to locate specific concepts across these categories.  OBIS record
Chronological Table of Japanese Art Art N7350 .Y298 1981
A chronology of major political, social and cultural events in Japan from the introduction of Buddhism to the 20th century. Significant developments in art history are noted as well. OBIS record

Chronology of Japan's Fine Arts
Defines and explains each historical period of Japanese art.  Based on Japan: A Pocket Guide (1996).
  • Make a research appointment with the Art Librarian, Barb Prior.
  • Make a research appointment with the East Asian Studies Librarian, Runxiao Zhu (440-775-5116;
  • Chat with an Oberlin College librarian
  • Review our Research Guides
  • Researching an object in the Allen Museum? See our AMAM research guide.
Japanese Art. Cleveland Museum of Art Unrestricted Resource Resource contains images

Japanese Old Photographs In Bakumatsu-Meiji Period Unrestricted Resource Resource contains images
The largest collection of historic photograph, approximately 7,000, taken all over Japan from the Bakumatsu (1853) through the Meiji periods (1912).
Mainichi photo bank
Provided by the Mainich Newspapers, this is the largest database of photos in Japan, with a total of 450 thousand photos from the Meiji era to today (120 thousand from the pre-WWII period). It allows free search, but reproduction rights and downloads are fee-based.

Mary Ainsworth Collection of Japanese Artists' Books
Mary A. Ainsworth first traveled to Japan in 1905. Over the next 25 years, she steadily acquired a collection of Japanese prints and books of impressive breadth and depth.  Ainsworth bequeathed her collection to Oberlin College in 1950. 

Meiji-Taisho photographs Unrestricted Resource Resource contains images
About 500 photos on Tokyo taken in the 1890s-1910s period.  It is produced by National Diet Library Digital Gallery.

Online Museum Resources on Asian Art (OMuRAA) Unrestricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images
OMuRAA identifies identifies, describes and organizes online visual resources including collections databases, digital image libraries, archived websites of special exhibitions, online presentations of focused collections, and websites for teaching with and about art. OMuRAA (Online Museum Resources on Asian Art) is an initiative of the Asia for Educators Program at Columbia University. 

Ukiyo-e Search ( Unrestricted Resource Resource contains images
An imagebase of over 225,000 prints gathered from major museums around the world.   Upload an image of a print and use "similar image" to find matches across the database.  Created by John Resig. 
Museums & Galleries
Tokyo National Museum (TNM) Unrestricted Resource Resource contains images
View and learn about 600 of the most important works in "TNM collections."   The combined holdings of Japan's four major museums (The Tokyo National Museum, Kyoto National Museum, Nara National Museum, and the Kyushu National Museum) can be searched in
ColBase ( 28,000+ images). The e-Museum searches national treasures from the same group of museums.

Japanese Museums in the United States. East Asian Information Literacy Project, Ohio State University
Primary sources
Alphabetical list of Classical Japanese Works: Translations, Studies, Electronic Texts
PMJS is an interdisciplinary forum for those doing research into earlier periods of Japanese art, culture, history, religion and literature. Founded in Sept. 1999 as the "premodern Japanese studies mailing list," it is now known by its acronym. A major project of PMJS is a bibliography of translations from classical Japanese. The PMJS website also offers a classified and searchable index of Monumenta Nipponica. (Monumenta Nipponica, a quarterly journal on Japanese culture and society, was founded in 1938, making it one of the oldest English-language academic journals in the field of Asian studies.)

Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong
The Asia Art Archive conducts focused research projects, gathering primary source materials including photographs, video, ephemera and more.  SInce 2010 they have been digitizing significant resources and making them available via their collections link on their web site.  Asia is broadly defined to include, for example, the Arab World, Central and South Asia. Use this site to search for scanned documents re: a specific artist or institution in asia.

From postwar to postmodern: art in Japan 1945-1989: primary documents N 7355.4 .F76 2012
 "Brings together critical historical documents, many of which are translated into English for the first time, in Japanese arts from the end of World War II through the next four and a half decades."--P. 14

Japanese Historical Map Collection at UC Berkeley
The Japanese Historical Map Collection contains about 2,300 early maps of Japan and the World. The collection was acquired by the University of California from the Mitsui family in 1949, and is housed on the Berkeley campus in the East Asian Library. Represented in this online collection are over 1100 images of maps and books from this Collection. The maps were selected by Yuki Ishimatsu, Head of Japanese Collections at the East Asian Library, and scanned and put online by David Rumsey and Cartography Associates.

Meiji Japan: The Edward Morse Collection from Peabody Essex Museum Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images
 Edward Sylvester Morse (1838-1925) was one of the first Americans to live in Japan (1858-1925); his archive forms the basis of this website. Use for primary source materials -- diaries, drawings, correspondence, artifacts -- on everyday life as Japan went through several transitions. 

National Diet Library of Japan Digital Collections
Rich collections of Japan's national library digitized and available for download. For the visual arts see in particular Rare books and old materials: Japanese items created before the end of the Edo period (1868), Chinese items created before the end of the Qing dynasty, including Nishiki-e (colored woodblock prints), E-zu (old maps and plans) Books: 350,000 fully digitized, published before 1969.  See esp. Fine Arts

Shansi: Oberlin and Asia
An online digital collection that documents the activity of Oberlinians in Asia from the 1880s to the 1950s. It contains materials from the Oberlin Shansi Memorial Association Records and personal paper collections, and it represents a small percentage of the total amount of materials in the College Archives that relate to the work of missionaries and Shansi Representatives in China and as well as other countries.

Japan Times (1897-2015) Restricted Resource
Full text of all issues of this historically important newspaper covering the years 1897-2015.  Japan Times is Japan’s oldest English-language newspaper and the country’s only independent English-language newspaper today.

World News Connection (1995 - 2013) Restricted Resource Some full text available
Translations and transcripts of news stories from non-U.S. media sources including newspaper articles, conference proceedings, television and radio broadcasts, periodicals, and non-classified technical reports.  Coverage focuses on socioeconomic, political, scientific, technical, and environmental issues and events. Dates of Coverage: 1995 - 2013
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