Japanese Collection


The Japanese-language resources in the Yale University Library constitute one of the oldest and largest collections found outside Japan. Strong areas of the collections are mainly in humanities such as language and literature, religion and philosophy, art history, and history. The library also collects in social sciences such as anthropology, political science, and sociology.

The Japanese Collection also supports emerging subject interests at Yale University. For instance, more classes are being taught on Japanese popular culture such as animation, graphic novels (manga), and film. The library pays special attention to building special collections such as film and LGBTQ ephemera collections. There is occasional acquisition of pre-1868 imprints that contribute to the uniqueness of the collection as well as a deeper understanding of the subjects covered and the history of the book among Japanese studies scholars.

Departments/disciplines/programs/subject areas supported

  • M.A. program and East Asian Studies majors from Council on East Asian Studies (CEAS)
  • Japanese majors from Department of East Asian Language and Literature (EALL)
  • Japanese studies related B.A., M.A., and PhD students and faculty in multiple departments such as anthropology, art history, performing arts, economics, history, political science, sociology, and School for the Environment. 
  • East Asia section of Yale Art Gallery
  • Collaborative programs such as the Todai-Yale Initiative, which is a program designed to promote Japanese Studies in the United States. 


Subjects collected are philosophy and religion, history, geography, regional culture, language and literature, arts, sociology, anthropology and ethnology, political science, legal history, economics, LGBTQ studies, Japanese film, disability in Japan (including special needs education), sports.

The Japanese Collection is also responsible for collecting materials published in the field of Japan studies in the humanities published in North America, Europe, and other imprint areas outside of Japan.

As a rule, the Japanese Collection does not acquire materials in the natural sciences, the physical sciences, engineering, mathematics, medicine, or law. Science and medicine have been collected only as they relate to the historical development of the area. Other subjects in which materials are acquired very selectively include forestry, environmental studies, folk medicine, and public health. 

Formats collected

The primary focus of collection development is on the following: monographs, monographic series, serials, proceedings, facsimiles, reprints, audiovisual materials, and electronic resources.  Daily print newspapers are only collected on an exceptional basis.  Dissertations, exhibition catalogs, government documents, pamphlets, maps, and textbooks are acquired very selectively. Manuscripts and ephemera are collected selectively, with library approval. In principle, the East Asia Library relies on the Yale Film Archive for the acquisition of feature films. Collection funds are not used for rare books except on special occasions. 

Languages collected

Materials are collected primarily in Japanese. The library also collects materials in other languages (mainly western languages) in the field of Japan studies that are published in imprint areas outside of Japan. English-language imprints from Japan are actively acquired but not published in quantity. 

Chronological and geographical focus


Collaborations within Yale

  • Manuscripts and Archives Collection (archival materials)
  • Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library (rare books and manuscripts)
  • Arts Library (materials on Japanese arts)
  • Divinity Library (materials on Christianity in Japan)
  • Center for Science and Social Science Information (data)      

Subject Librarian

Haruko Nakamura 中村治子
Librarian for Japanese Studies
East Asia Library
Department of Area Studies and Humanities Research Support (DASHRS)
(203) 432-1792