Electronic Resources: English and Japanese Language Japan-related Sites

By Nicola Burt and Natsuko Takaoka
December, 2000


I: Introduction
II: Asia Pacific Research Online
III: WWW Virtual Library
IV: Bibliography of Japanese language Japanese History Electronic Resources

I: Introduction

The following electronic resources were collected and evaluated according to their use for scholars of Japan, and Japanese history in particular. The English language sites, while not primarily focusing on Japan, provide information on current Internet resources available. Asia Pacific Research Online is a collection of documents and links related to topics of scholarship within Asia, including a large number Buddhist sites. WWW Virtual Library, an extensive, global database of electronic resources, contains several pages that focus on Japan. Because of the scholarly nature of the content, the information contained within these sites is relevant for contemporary scholars.

The Japanese-language sites were chosen for their content and current nature. Large sites already known by scholars of Japan, such as NACSIS, were not included. Sites of national libraries and universities were also not included. Some of the sites focus on local history, while several are databases of obscure documents. The sites are ranked according to the scholarly nature of the content and frequency of maintenance. Wherever possible, the identity of the individual or institution maintaining the site is noted, and non-scholarly sites have not been included. A top-rated five-star site (*****) is scholarly, well maintained, and produced by a scholar or institution. A site of only one star (*) contains information that may be interesting but is not of much scholarly value.

Each entry lists the URL of the site, the identity of the creator or entity maintaining the site, the date last updated, and the language of the site. The sites have been categorized according to the nature of the content, such as databases or kenkyûkai. Most kenkyûkai in Japan have websites; only one or two are listed here. A brief explanation of the site and its contents is given, along with an evaluation. Each site is rated according to the guidelines mentioned. Many of the sites evaluated were listed under a main site that is annotated at the beginning of section IV, others are the result of Internet research on Japanese language sites.

II: Asia Pacific Research Online

Asia Pacific Research Online [APRO]
URL: http://www.ciolek.com/
Editors: Dr. T. Matthew Ciolek and Irena M. Goltz, Australian National University
Last updated: December 13, 2000
Established: May 8, 1997

Purpose:  This site was established as a scholarly site to provide references to online research, teaching and publishing on Asia and related topics and areas. A statement of purpose on the main page reads, "in networked knowledge management, in methods of high quality electronic publishing, and in Internet resources development and analysis."

Contents:  The main site page gives links to online information resources, including an annotated guide to WWW search engines. This guide provides information on the search engines for an extensive list of countries, including Japan and China. Other categories provide further links, including those to other major information resources by the editor, T. M. Ciolek; APRO special projects; and APRO online bookstores. Many of the sites accessible through these links are contained within the WWW Virtual Library, which will be discussed below.

The catalog of APRO provides an alphabetized list of all documents available on the site. These documents include links to Buddhism/Buddhist electronic journals and newsletters, papers concerning Internet resources, databases, online journals, newsletters and forums. Some links are to sections of the WWW Virtual Library. It is possible to conduct a search of the documents contained on this site, and also to search the entire contents of the site.

The site is sponsored by Asia Rare Books (New York, USA). Their address is http://users.erols.com/arbs/. This site contains information on rare books from Asia and the Orient, and includes a catalog of books. The site has a section on Japan. It is possible to search the books for sale by title/keyword and/or author.

Use: This site could be useful to those looking for electronic resources currently available on Asia and the Pacific. Resources are all English-language, and the resources for Japan are not extensive. Most information on Japan relates to Buddhism. The Internet-related documents are relevant and interesting. They provide a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of online resources for scholarly use.

III: WWW Virtual Library

WWW Virtual Library
URL: http://vlib.org/t_blank
Created by Tim Berners-Lee
Last updated: December 12, 2000

Purpose:  The Virtual Library is run and maintained by a group of volunteers throughout the world. Each volunteer compiles and maintains a page related to their particular expertise. The creator, following certain guidelines, holds responsibility for the content of their page. A database provides a catalog of all the Virtual Library division in one central location. This database is searchable and browseable.

Organization: The main Virtual Library page lists fourteen umbrella categories, such as Humanities. Within these categories are several subcategories, such as History. The page also has a link to an alphabetical list of contents and a search function. Over 200 links are listed. From the History subcategory, for example, choices are further divided into topics and regions. By selecting Chinese and Japanese Art History the link goes to the Nixi Cura, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University site. A similar process occurs for any topic selection. Individuals or organizations as mentioned in the Purpose section maintain the destination sites. Sites for Japan can also be accessed by selecting the Regional Studies: Asian subcategory, which links to the home page for The Virtual Library: Asian Studies. The Asian Studies site includes the regions of Caucasus, Central Asia, East Asia, Middle East, Pacific Ocean, South Asia, and South East Asia. The quality of a site within the Virtual Library system depends largely on the individual or institution maintaining the site.

Contents: The home page for Japan, J Guide: Stanford Guide to Japan Information Resources, is an ongoing project of the Stanford University US-Japan Technology Management Center. The site was last updated December 14, 2000. Various links are given to sites on Japan-related topics. The history category contains a total of 37 links. Many of the links are to English-language sites, only a few are entirely in Japanese. The sites cover a variety of topics, but major resources, such as Nichigai, are not listed. Although well maintained, the history section is not extensive. Overall, J Guide contains 1,827 links, and further sites are being added. The site lists 74 search engines including several that are Japanese. J Guide also has a rating system, in which users of the site can rate both sites that they visit and the entire site. The current rating of the site is 6.33 out of a possible 10 points. Many individual links, especially those in Japanese, are not yet rated. The site is indexed alphabetically by category. It is possible to recommend a site for addition to J Guide, although no criteria or guidelines are posted.

Of interest: Within the Virtual Library section on Asia is the Asian Studies WWW Monitor, an online journal maintained by Dr. T. Matthew Ciolek, editor of Asia Pacific Research Online. This journal is often published daily, and its primary purpose is to rate Asia-related websites. Sites are rated according to "strength of the integrity, trustworthiness and scholarly usefulness of its content"; an essential site receives five stars and a marginal site receives only one star. An essential site is current, accurate, extensive, attributable to a person and an institution, and supported by good references. The five most recent issues are available to browse; back-issues are maintained in a database. Some websites are not rated. Submissions are accepted for the journal, and are included if they meet the journal's scholarly standards.

The Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, publishes the Asian Studies WWW Virtual Library section. Dr. T. Matthew Ciolek established this section in March 1994. It covers the Asian continent, and provides access to over 10,000 Internet resources. Updates are given through the Asian Studies WWW Monitor. The site follows strict guidelines when listing available resources, which include checking the "soundness of the content." Categories on the main site page include conferences, e-journals and e-lists, as well as a link to the Asian Studies WWW Monitor. Virtual Library volunteers maintain the linked sites. The Asian Studies Virtual Library site is searchable.

Use: The Virtual Library is an excellent resource for electronic sources on Asian studies, although the sites listed are mainly English-language sites. The vast nature of the site renders the search function indispensable. The Virtual Library accepts comments and new submissions, which help to maintain its relevancy.

IV: Bibliography of Japanese language Japanese History Electronic Resources

Survey of Sites for Historical Studies  [Rekishigaku kankei Web saito chôsa]

The scholar who created and maintains this site has collected an extensive number of Japanese language sites relating to Japanese history. The sites are evaluated for their scholarly content, and sites that are not of a certain standard are not included. Links are provided according to categories such as kenkyûkai, archaeology, individual sites, and so forth. Many of the sites are of a similar nature, but quite a few contain relevant information that may not be accessible elsewhere, or may be difficult to acquire. This site provides an excellent image of the type and extent of electronic resources available in Japanese. The site is well maintained by the scholar, however, each linked site is not given rank by the scolar because of his policy not to do so.

**** ARG Database Collection [Deetabeesu shûsei]
Maintained by the editor of Academic Resource Guide (ARG)
Last updated 12/00
(Japanese only)

The editor of Academic Resource Guide (ARG), an online journal, maintains the database collection.. The ARG is a journal, and is therefore continually updated. Within the history/geography section of the database are collected 38 history- and geography-related websites; about half are Japan-related. In addition the site lists four koa saito (core sites), including Tôbunken and the Shiryô Hensanjo, two important history and humanities sites in Japan. It is a well-maintained site, but the database collection is not very extensive. The indexed sites are scholarly in nature.

** Chronology of 20th-Century Events  [Deetabeesu 20-seiki nenpyô sakuin peeji]
Maintained by an affiliate of Tokyo University.
Japanese only.

While not a particularly scholarly site, this can be useful to search the dates of events that occurred in the 20th century. By entering a keyword or a date, a corresponding event will emerge. This database contains not only events in Japanese history, but occurrences worldwide. In addition to the event itself, other related happenings are recorded. Could be convenient for confirming or remembering dates and for following further incidences to do with the initial event.

**** Hayami Akira's Demographic Project at Nichibunken
Last updated: summer 2000

This site contains a database of historical demographic information for all of Japan. The site also has genealogical documents, which will be available through a database that is currently under construction. Although, they have an English page, the database is only available in Japanese.

** Japanese Intellectual History Research Institute [Nihon shisôshi kenkyûkai]
Maintained by the a professor of Japanese history at Ritsumeikan University.
Last Updated 7/00
Japanese only.

This site gives access to the table of contents for back issues of the Nihon shisoshi kenkyukai kaiho; some issues are available in full-text. The kaiho is published sporadically. This site could be useful to those studying intellectual history.

** The Military History Society of Japan  [Gunjishi Gakkai]
Maintained by the Military History Society of Japan, Internet space provided by NACSIS
Last updated 10/24/00
Japanese only.

Provides information on conferences, members, annual conference, and the table of contents for the back issues of the journals. The journal is published quarterly. This site can be accessed through NACSIS.

*** The Museum of Museums  [Hakubutsukan no hakubutsukan]
Maintained by a Ph.D. student at Osaka University
Last updated 12/15/00
Japanese only.

This is a collection of links to museums throughout Japan and the world. The section on Japanese museums is organized by type of museum, for example, history, science, national, and so on. This is useful because it collects links to museums within one site. The links to museums provide further links, including links to a database through which the collections can be checked. Local history museums, including ethnographic museums, are included.

**** The Revolt of Oshio Heihachiro  [Ôshio no ran Shiryôkan]
Maintained by an affiliate of the Ôshio Jiken Kenkyûkai, the Ôshio no Ran Kankei Shiryô o Yomu Kai, and other associations
Last updated 12/17/00
Japanese only.

The site contains a bibliography of works published in Japanese since the Meiji period on the Ôshio Rebellion of 1838. This bibliography is continuously updated, and includes audio visual resources in addition to textual works. The Ôshio Jiken Kenkyukai began publishing its journal in March, 1976, and the most recent journal is November, 2000. Some back issues include full-text articles. In addition to the bibliography, links are provided to full-text articles whose copyrights have expired. The site provides visual information, including the manifesto in its original form, and a more legible, digitalized version. Another document is the "wanted" posting, including descriptions of the persons listed. This site is both scholarly and interesting.

*** Okinawa Local History News [Okinawa Chiiki-shi Nyuusu]
Maintained by an individual, Hirata Mamoru, working for the Okinawa Prefectural Foundation to Commemorate the War Dead (Zaidan Hôjin Okinawa-ken Senbotsusha Irei Hôsan Kai).
Last updated 12/00
Japanese only.

The site provides links to the local newspaper homepages and archives, as well as links to four major search engines for Okinawa, including Ryukyu University, and the Okinawa prefectural archives. It also includes a bibliography of Okinawan history arranged by publication. The site includes a bulletin board. Information is provided for institutions associated with Okinawan studies.

** The Website of the Prime Minister of Japan
[Naikaku Sôri Daijin Kantei]
Maintained by the Japanese government
Last updated 12/16/00
Japanese and English.

This site is searchable. One interesting feature is the list of cabinets and their members dating from 1885. There is an explanation of the establishment of the Diet system under the Meiji constitution. Similar information is provided for the system under the current constitution. Each Prime Minister's background information is provided, with a picture. The site is interesting, but not of much historical use.

*** Database of Former Colonial Documents
[Kyû-Shokuminchi kankei sôgô mokuroku kensaku]
Maintained by Shiga University

The index of documents is separated into five volumes by colony; Manchuria and Mongolia; China; Korea; Taiwan, Southeast Asia and Sakhalin; and a supplemental volume. The supplement includes documents not covered by the previous four areas. The online index database for the documents is searchable, although it is helpful to know the title of the document in advance. The entire database includes 7,803 primary documents. The documents preserved by Shiga University are currently only available at the library due to their deteriorating condition. Therefore, the existence of this index database is valuable. Shiga University is in the process of recording the documents on microfilm. The microfilm index will appear on the Internet upon completion.

****  Korean History Research Institute [Chôsenshi Kenkyukai]
Maintained by Korean History Research Institute, Jinbun Kagaku Kenkyûjo, Kyoto University

Korean History Research Institute consists of about 400 scholarly memberships in two branchs of (Kanto and Kansai). The database in this page contains an index of Korea-related Japanese documents published after 1945. There are two separate index searches for books and dissertations. The information is based on an index, Sengo nihon ni okeru Chôsen shi bunken mokuroku 1945-1991, published in 1994 by Ryokuin Shobô. It is possible to search the databse by keyword, title, editor/author, subject, ordate of publication. The main page has a link to another database which contains an index of news paper articles about Korean people lived before WWII.

**** National Archives of Japan [Kokuritsu Kôbunshokan]
Compilation ongoing
Japanese and English; database Japanese only.

Established in 1971, this organization collects important official historical documents and records for viewing and exhibition. In June 1988 the Public Archives Law was enacted, defining the functions of preservation and use of official documents and records. The National Archives now passes on these documents to future generations as historical assets. The collecting of official documents and records prevents their being lost, and provides public access and use. The site is in both English and Japanese, but the database itself is only available in Japanese. The database can be searched using a variety of elements, including keyword, title and author. Results provide the title, origins, call number and microfilm number of the document. This is an index database. By 1998, the Archives had acquired 710,083 volumes of government documents. Not all documents are available on the database. The site provides a list of original sources contained in the database, but no links. This site is an excellent resource for Japanese official historical documents.

** Documents of the Otani Expedition to Central Asia
[Ryûkoku Daigaku Kotenseki Jôhô System]
Maintained by Ryûkoku University
Japanese only.

The database contains documents from central Asia collected in the early twentieth century by a group of scholars, known as the "Ôtani expedition." The site contains photographs of the Buddhist documents and a transcription of the text, if legible. Over a thousand text fragments are featured in the database. Because these materials are usually in poor condition, this database could be useful to Buddhist scholars. Unfortunately, it is not possible to search the site.

**** Japanese Books on Modern Korea
[Kindai Chôsen kankei shoseki Database]
Maintained by Tôyôgaku Kenkyu Jôhô Senta; compilation is ongoing
Japanese only.

This database contains an index of Korea-related Japanese documents published between 1868 and 1945. These documents include official documents, textbooks used to teach Japanese in Korea, police records, household registers and so forth; all are Japanese. It provides information about the documents and where they are located. The information is based on an index published in 1970 by the former Tôyôgaku Bunken Senta. This database was established in 1998, and the site was opened in March 2000. It is possible to search the database by keyword, title, editor/author, or date of publication. It is also possible to search by institution if the location of a document is known. A search results in publication information, and links to the source document. The site provides a comprehensive list of the institutions possessing the documents with links. On December 13, 2000, the database contained 16,472 entries.

***  Nakamura Gakuen University Library [Nakamura Gakuen Daigaku Toshokan]
Maintained by Nakamura Gakuen University
Japanese only.

The library of Nakamura Gakuen contains an electronic library, with full-text documents. Their first project was an archive of Kaibara Ekken, a seventeenth-century Confucian scholar and the author of Onna daigaku. So far, five of Ekken's texts from the archives have been digitalized, and they are also available as downloadable PDF files with original images. In addition, Kaitai shinsho, by Sugita Genpaku, is available in the same formats. Although the collection of Nakamura Gakuen University is not so large, they have important historical documents available in full-text on their site. Another important document is Gishi wajinden, the famous description of Japan from the Chinese chronicle Wei Chih.   The image of this text and a translation are available on the site, and the image file is downloadable. The Japanese Constitution and Gakumon no susume by Fukuzawa Yukichi are also available in PDF files. This is an on-going project by Nakamura Gakuen University Library. In addition, the library home page contains extensive links.

** Electronic Japanese Texts [Denshika sareta Nihongo tekisuto no kensaku]
This is an experimental site maintained by an individual (M. Shibata)
Last updated 10/15/00
Japanese and English; full-texts Japanese only.

The person who maintains this site collects the latest information on full-texts available on the Internet, many of which are located in Aozora Bunko, a full-text website of works with expired copyrights. The person collecting information on full-text sites categorizes them according to period, and arranges them in gojûon jun. The works cannot be searched for by title, they can only be found by perusing the period in question. Indexed works date back to the Nara period. An author index arranged by gojûon jun is also available. In addition to full-texts available on websites, full-text CD ROMs are also mentioned. The site mainly lists works famous Japanese authors. This site would be more useful if the texts were searchable.