By Ethan Mark and Miriam Wattles,
with various later revisions

NOTE: This chapter concerns finding and getting materials which are NOT available at Columbia. It is assumed that you already know the title of the work that you wish to locate. More information on this topic may be found in M/S Section on Library Catalogues, pp. 37-42; on Acquiring Materials, pp. 104-108; and on Where to Find Actual Materials, pp. 119-121.


I.  Finding Titles in the United States--Inter-library loan
II.  Purchasing Japanese Titles in the U.S.
III.  Locating Books in Japan
IV.  Locating Journals in Japan
IV.  Some Notes on the New York Public Library


For most of us, inter-library loan is our most practical option. Although library location is not mandatory for inter-library loan requests, knowledge of the location of your title expedites the process. The following is a suggested order of convenience for finding your title's location:

1. For RECENT TITLES: RLIN. RLIN may now be accessed directly through CLIO Plus, and is made much easier by use of the Eureka interface. If your title appeared in the 1980s, this is the easiest way to find it. RLIN includes books and periodicals in East Asian Languages acquired by most major collections around the US and Canada since 1983. Only two US collections have been completely (i.e., all holdings, dating all the way back) catalogued into RLIN: Those of the University of Michigan (a large and useful collection, of over 170,000 titles) and U.C.L.A. (a medium-sized collection of approximately 80,000 titles). The complete contents of the small East Asian collection of the University of Toronto are also in RLIN.


* The National Union List of Current Japanese Serials in East Asian Libraries of North America. Yasuko Makino & M. Miki, Subcommittee on Japanese materials, Committee on East Asian Libraries, Association for Asian Studies, 1992.
Call no.: Z6958 .J3 M28 1992

A compilation of the holdings of academic, commercial, and government periodicals still in publication at the thirty-two East Asian University Libraries in North America. Therefore it does not include, for example, the holdings of the Library of Congress. Listings are by journal titles.

3. FINDING PRE-1983 MATERIALS, besides journals still in publication (see #2): A sketchy business. The first place to look is in the various published Japanese collection catalogues, located along the walls near the card catalogues and circulation desk in Starr. These catalogues cover the following collections and dates in order of collection size (Note: All collection lists include subject/author/title cards):


Library of Congress* 1958-71
UC Berkeley+ to 1967; suppl. 68-72
Harvard+# to 1984
Univ. of Michigan** to 1977
Stanford (Hoover) to 1969; suppl. 69-71
Univ. of Chicago+# to 1973; suppl. 74-81
UCLA** to 1962
Cornell (Wason) to 1978
Univ. of Rochester to 1968; supps '70, '74
* Acquisitions before 1958 in a separate catalogue (which Columbia does not have)
+ Incl. separate subject catalogue
# Incl. separate serials catalogue (Chicago: Z 3009 .C44, to 1976)
** Complete holdings in RLIN

For more information about the various East Asian collections in the U.S., see:

* Survey of Japanese Collections in the United States. By Naomi Fukuda. Ann Arbor: Center for Japanese Studies, The University of Michigan, 1980.
Call no.: REF DS 801 .M53 no. 4

Includes profiles of 27 university libraries and the Library of Congress, describing background holdings, collection management, and general description. For larger libraries it includes a bibliography on the library and library publications.

Another source is Frank Shulman and Teresa Yang, East Asian Resources in American Libraries. New York: Paragon Book Gallery, 1977. Call no.: Ref. Z 3001 .Y35

4. BRIDGING THE GAP between the library catalogues and RLIN (i.e., how can one find the acquisitions of major libraries, in most cases, in the period between the early 70s and the early 80s?): The Michigan, UCLA, and Toronto listings in RLIN, and the Harvard published catalogue are your only options which do not involve travel. To find the 1970s and early 1980s acquisitions for most other collections, it remains, unfortunately, a matter of visiting the library in question.


Check Kinokuniya at Rockefeller Center. If your title is not there, at present, there are the following options:


You may order books in print through Kinokuniya, 10 W. 49th St., (212) 765-1461. An average order takes approximately two months. The price will be the same as it would be if it were in stock, i.e. the cover price in Yen multiplied by a conversion factor on the dollar which provides Kinokuniya with a profit of approximately 25%.

A second option is Maruzen International. At present, Mrs. Makino recommends contacting Mr. Hotta there and emphasizes mentioning her name in making requests. According to Mr. Hotta, the price is equivalent to the cover price of the book plus the shipping cost. As for shipping, there are a number of options, from quick/most expensive to slow/least expensive:

-- By Air (3 weeks)
-- By SAL (Ship and Air; 4 weeks)
-- Seamail (2 months)

Maruzen requires a written order, including the title, the publisher, how it is to be shipped, and your address. It is delivered to your address, and you are billed later. If you have an ISBN number, the process is apparently much easier. For further information contact Mr. Hotta at: Maruzen International, 1200 Harbor Blvd. 10th fl., Weehauken, NJ 07087; FAX: (201) 865-4845, phone: (201) 865-4400.


To subscribe to journals published in Japan, contact Ms. Chen at OCS, 5 East 44th St, (212) 599-4502. OCS will send you an application form, which you return to them with a check. The fee, of course, varies with the periodical. As an example, Shigaku zasshi costs $12.80 per month, based on a 12 month subscription. Note: OCS does not take orders for individual copies, only for subscriptions. For individual copies, try Kinokuniya or write to addresses found in Nihon zasshi sôran (Makino/Saitô, p. 35), call no. REF Z6958.J3 N56.


*** Nihon shoseki sômokuroku. Tokyo: Nihon shoseki shuppan kyôkai.
Call no.: REF Z3301 .N53
M/S: 120; IHJ: 1009; Fukuda: A39

This is the Japanese equivalent of "Books in Print," published annually since 1977. It contains those books in commercial publication in Japan in the previous year. The latest edition is located in the reference section, with issues dating between 1982 to the present located in the stacks (note: 1984 is missing). Issues previous to 1982 (i.e. 1977-81) are located in the library annex. Through 1980 it appeared in two volumes; since then it has been in three volumes. The main listings are by title in the gojûon order, including author, date, length, price, and publisher. Includes foreign language titles and authors. Volume 3 contains listings by author, by series, and a directory of publishers (including a useful list of hard-to-read names at the front of the section), and publishing statistics.

LIMITATIONS: It does not include government publications or journals, nor listings by subject. The organization of the Nihon shoseki sômokuroku also has several limitations. The title index does not specify items which are part of a series, thus necessitating a review of the series index in vol. 3. The author index gives kanji and pronunciation for the names of the authors; however, for each author only the *titles* of their works are listed, requiring an additional search in the title index for full citations. [JR, rev EM,MW]

Kokuritsu kokkai toshokan zôsho mokuroku
Call no.: Z955.T585 K64 1983; Z955.T585 K641 1986
IHJ: 1011; Fukuda: A47; M/S: 21.

This catalogue provides a full listing for the National Diet Library. It is divided into three major sections, Showa 23-33nen in 5 volumes, Showa 34-43nen in 10 volumes, and Showa 44-51 and 52-60nen in 29 volumes. (NOTE: At Columbia, the first two parts of the series are at Lehmann, filed under the Nihon decimal no. 029.21 J272. The others are in the main reading room.)

Volumes are divided into large subject headings and then have indices to more specific subjects and their subheadings. Entries give complete bibliographical information, as well as readings for title and author. They also list alternate subject headings and the Nihon decimal code.

Each volume includes a title and author index which only give page numbers, not entry numbers. This makes it somewhat difficult to actually find the full entry.

OVERALL EVALUATION: Invaluable for searching by subject or just for confirming bibliographical data, although it is awkward to use primarily because of its size and the number of volumes one must consult to do a complete search. [HB]

Kokuritsu kokkai toshokan shozô shudaibetsu tosho mokuroku Call no.: Z955.T585 K64 1985
IHJ: 1012

This catalogue has 24 volumes and is designed to replace the first two parts of the above. The format is essentially the same. Each volume includes an author index and there is a comprehensive author index in the final volume. Columbia seems to only have Volumes 16-21. [HB]

* Shuppan nenkan. Shuppan nyûsu sha.
Call no.: Z 3301 .S48
M/S: 120)

Japan's "Publishing Annual" contains both books and journals commercially published in the previous year. The latest volume is located in the Starr reference section, with those volumes back to 1982 in the stacks, and those of earlier years (back to 1951) in the annex. Appears in two volumes. Volume one contains articles and information related to the publishing industry, including addresses and information about both major and minor publishers, libraries, and newspapers. Books and journals are listed in separate sections in Volume Two. The main listings are BY SUBJECT (a plus), but you can also look by author or title in the rear. The main listings include: Author/title/size/number of pages/price/publisher/month of publication (in circle)/Nippon Decimal Classification.


*** Gakujutsu zasshi sôgo mokuroku, Wabun-hen (Union List of Scientific Periodicals in the Japanese Language). Ed. Mombushô gakujutsu kokusai kyoku. 3 vols. Maruzen shoten, 1987. Call no.: Z 6958 .J3 G35 1987
M/S: 40; IHJ: 1040; Fukuda: A51

This is a most useful listing of the holdings of scholarly journals at 623 major libraries across Japan. Listings are alphabetical by journal title. Each listing gives bibliographical information, the libraries in which the journal is located and the extent of their holdings. The rear blue section of each of the three volumes lists the libraries included and tells you about the availability of copy service. Note: The main library listings are ordered by region and separated into national universities, public universities, private universities, and other public and private libraries. Following this is a purely alphabetical listing of libraries, which sends you back to the main listing. One key limitations of this index is that it lists SCHOLARLY JOURNALS ONLY, and it excludes a number of major libraries for which separate catalogs exists, such as the National Diet Library, the Tokyo Tôritsu Chûo Library and the Meiji Bunkô collection at Tokyo University (for some of these, see below).

At present, the only way to find locations of journals not included in the above (for popular journals, for example) is to check individual library catalogues, most notably the following:

** [Kokuritsu kokkai toshokan shozô] Kokunai chikuji kankôbutsu mokuroku. Published by the National Diet Library.
Call no.: REF Z 6958 .J3 K661
M/S: 40; IHJ: 1042

This catalog lists all periodicals in Japanese or in Western languges that are published in Japan and presently held by the National Diet Library in Tokyo. The listing is inclusive of all periodicals published through December, 1987. Entries are arranged by title in gojuon order, with a separate listing for titles written in Western languages. Periodicals with generic titles, such as Kenkyu Kiyo . . . , etc., are first listed alphabetically by title and then by editor. In addition to giving such basic bibliogrpahic data as publisher, date of publication, etc., each entry also includes information on change of titles, missing issues, suspension of publication, alternative titles, and which numbers and volumes are presently held by the library. A final listing in the back indicates the availability of cumulative indexes for the periodicals held, and includes information on the scope, location, and kinds (author, title, obun, etc.) of indexes available for each periodical. Although the catalog's usefulness is limited by the lack of alternative searching strategies, its comprehensiveness alone (over 60,000 titles included) makes it an invaluable bibliographic reference work. [DB]

* 0ya Sôichi bunkô zasshi kiji sakuin mokuroku.
Call no.: REF A1 19 .J3
IHJ: 1033

Particularly useful for popular serials. See Ch. 8, "Japanese-Language Periodicals," for detailed review.

* Meiji shinbun zasshi bunko shiryôrui mokuroku. (Separate volumes for newspaper and magazine listings).
Call no: Z 3309 .T645 1983

This is the index of the extensive Meiji and Taisho periodical holdings at the "Meiji Bunko" of Tokyo University. See also Tôtenkô: Tokyo Teikoku Daigaku Hôgakubu Meiji Shinbun Zasshi Bunko shozô mokuroku, the 1941 edition of the above, call no.: REF Z 6958 .J3 T63 1930.

Zasshi shinbun sô-katarogu (Periodicals in Print). Tokyo Media Research Center, 1989.
Call no.: Z 6958 .J3 .Z37
IHJ: 1044

This annual publication gives information on 17,560 regularly published journals and newspapers. The present edition is inclusive of all items published through February, 1989. Classifications and listings by field, title and publisher make this an extremely useful reference tool. In the classification by field, for example, all titles under each heading are listed alphabetically , which permits one to know at a glance what titles are available in a particular field. The expanded entries, arranged alphabetically by title, in addition to giving basic information on publisher, cost, place of publication, etc., also include data on circulation, first year of publication, and concise descriptions of each journal's contents. The descriptions, which frequently include mention of contributing authors, are usually detailed enough to allow one to gauge whether the journal is popular, scholarly, or general in scope. Additional listings are by publisher and title, both of which are preceded by lists of difficult readings. The publisher's index includes both addresses and telephone numbers, with publications listed below. The catalog also includes the following special features. Circulation figures for the most recent years of all major newspapers and journals are given in tabular form, and separate lists are included for first issues, change of titles, suspension of publication, and places that sell government periodicals. [DB]


The Oriental Division of the New York Public Library (NYPL) was established in 1897. It houses over 300,000 books and pamphlets, 1350 newspaper and periodical subscriptions, and 4400 microforms in more than twenty Asian languages. The Japan-related materials are concentrated in language and literature, Shinto, theater, biography, and folklore. The library also claims to have a "research level" collection in Japanese archaeology, one which can support dissertation preparation and independent research. According to their buyers in Japan, this is the largest collection of such material in the United States. A rough breakdown of their holdings is as follows:

32500 volumes on the general subject of Japan.
3900 volumes on Japanese literature.
5500 volumes on Japanese history.
612 volumes on Japanese archaeology.
Books from the main branch of the NYPL (at Fifth Ave. and 42nd St.) do not circulate, but they are available through inter-library loan.

The Oriental Division is on the second floor in the center of the Library; the reading room is located in room 219. The circulation desk for the Oriental Division is also located in this room. (Any request for special *O books [see below] should be submitted here.) Hours are 11-7:30 on Tuesday, 11-6 on Wednesday, and 10-6 on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. (Sunday the entire library is closed and Monday the Oriental Division is closed).

Books acquired BEFORE 1972 are listed in the 800-volume NYPL Dictionary Catalog; those that entered the collection AFTER that date are available on CATNYP, the on-line catalog which can be accessed through CLIO Plus (Remote Catalogs option). Pre-1972 Oriental division books are listed in the Dictionary Catalog of the Oriental Collection (1960) and its Supplement (1976). These catalogs often contain works not listed in the main catalog and retain the kanji together with the romanized entry. Both of the catalogs and two computer terminals can be found in shelves along the walls of the main hall in the Oriental division on the second floor. Be sure to consult the Bibliographic Guide to East Asian Studies (REF Z3001 .B5 1991), which lists resources available at the NYPL.

Book requests are limited to five when the library is busy and books should be returned to the reference desk when finished. In order to take out a book, find the call number in either the catalogs or in CATNYP. Then fill out a blue and white slip with the call number (keep in mind that the NYPL uses its own system rather than Library of Congress numbers), the author's name, the title of the book, and your address. Books without a "*O" prefix (for "Oriental") are best ordered at the main desk in the Catalog Room, 315.

Books can be used until the library closes. If one wishes to keep the book out to work on it in the future, it can be placed on a reserve shelf either in the Main Reading Room North., third floor, or in the Oriental Division Reading Room, room 219.

Photocopying can be done at the Library, though not by individuals. The service is in the Main Reading Room North on the third floor. Copies are $0.25 a page, $0.20 cents with a pre-paid card available there. Requests are usually fulfilled promptly.

SPENCER COLLECTION: One particularly important Japan-related resource at the NYPL is the Spencer Collection, which consists of some 275 illustrated manuscripts, both scrolls and books. Many of the works are listed in the bilingual Catalog of Japanese Illustrated Books and Manuscripts in the Spencer Collection of the New York Public Library by Sorimachi Shigeo. Other works are listed in The Illustrated Books of the Nanga, Maruyama, Shijo and Other Related Schools of Japan: A Bibliography by C.H. Mitchell. Another important description of the collection is Miyeko Murase's Tales of Japan: Scrolls and Prints from the New York Public Library, an exhibition catalog of some of the finest items from the Spencer collection (at Columbia: Starr ND1052 M885 1986 and Fine Arts library, N1000 N4P96 M93). The Spencer Collection is located in room 308 of the NYPL. To use the materials, a special card of admission is necessary; one can be obtained from the Office of Special Collections in room 316. Cards are limited to people with particular research needs. Identification and a statement of purpose must be submitted to the Office in order to receive a card. The Spencer collection is open from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Twenty-four hour notice is necessary to see any item, and the curator reserves the right to restrict the use of some material and some may be unavailable. Works must be used in room 308. [TM]

Return to Table of Contents
Return to Home