By Giles Richter, Julie Rousseau, Jordan Sand
Rev. '94 by Ted Mack and Henry Smith
Rev. '97 by Lori Watt


I.  Dictionaries and Bibliographies
II.  Chronologies
III.  Handbooks
IV.  Surveys & Historiographical Overviews
V.   Compendia of Newspaper Articles


¢*** Nihon kingendaishi jiten. Tôyô keizai shinpôsha, 1978.
Call no: REF DS 833 .N48 1978.
IHJ: 1598; Fukuda: F153

The basic one-volume modern history dictionary, an essential work for desk reference. Articles are signed, basic references provided at end of each entry. Convenient tables in the back on lists of offices, composition of cabinets etc. This edition completely overhauls the earlier one, entitled Nihon kindaishi jiten, but in the process a variety of useful statistical tables were excluded, for which it is sometimes of use to turn back.

Kinsei kindai shiryô mokuroku sôran. Kokubungaku kenkyu Shiryôkan no Shiryôkan. Sanseidô, 1992.
Call no: REF Z3301 .S54

Includes 4700 titles of catalogues of shiryô published since 1951. Entries are organized by ken, and indexes allow look up by title. This is a bibliography of bibliographies.

Nihon kingendai bunken kaisetsu. Saji Yoshio. Munetaka shobô, 1979.
Call no.:
IHJ: 1594.

An annotated bibliography of pre-modern and modern Japanese history, focusing on primary materials available in print. An intelligent breakdown of the basic sources for historical research. However, the bulk of each entry tends to be taken up with tables of contents or titles of individual volumes in series; the author's own commentary is limited to

OVERALL EVALUATION:  A useful basic guide providing an excellent sense of the materials available, although it lacks detailed reference.

Nihon kingendai shiryô kaisetsu. Saji Yoshio. Munetaka shobô, 1983.
Call no: Z3306 .S25 1983.
IHJ: 1595

See IHJ entry; relationship to the preceding entry needs to be investigated.

Meiji bunken mokuroku. Takaichi Yoshio. Nihon Hyôronsha, 1932.
Call no: REF Z 3301 .T355

The works catalogued are those found in the library of Yoshino Sakuzô, the Home Ministry library, the Army library, and the recommendations of the Meiji Bunka Kenkyûkai. Entries are organized into broad groupings like society, religion, science, law, history, etc. Entries give the title, nuber of volumes, author's name, and date of publication. Also includes an author index. [Question: To what degree does this represent the holdings of the Meiji shinbun zasshi bunko at Tôdai?]

Kingendaishi yôgo jiten. Yasuoka Akio [r?]. Shin Jinbutsu Ôraisha, 1992.
Call no: REF DS833 .K56

Basic dictionary for looking up important names, names of laws, political groups, etc. Entries give very basic information and dates, but no references.

Sengoshi daijiten. Rev. ed. Sanseidô, 1991
Call no: REF DS833 .S46 1991

Entries have detailed definitions, dates, cross-references, and citations. Each entry is signed by its author. The topics covered seem weighted toward economic issues, but also include plenty of political and social topics. Indexes allow you to look up by people's names, specific jiken, etc.


Kindai Nihon sôgô nenpyô. 2nd ed. Iwanami Shoten henshûbu, ed. Iwanami Shoten, 1984.
Call no.: REF DS881.9 .K51 1984
M/S: X-11 (p. 110); IHJ: 1601

This extensive and easy-to-use chronology of modern Japanese history covers the years from 1853 to 1983. The work is divided into six areas: politics; economics/industry/technology; society; scholarship/ education/thought; arts; and overseas affairs. Many dates are confirmed by reference to a list of over 4000 primary sources at the end; there is also a detailed index. This work is an invaluable reference for verifying dates, and for the period 1853-1872, the entries include both the Japanese and Western calendar dates. Recommended for desktop reference, ¥6800. (The sister volume for premodern history is the Nihon bunka sôgô nenpyô; see M/S IX-12, p. 110.)

Shôwa nimannichi no zen kiroku [Shôwa Day by Day]. 18 Volumes. Harada Katsumasa, et. al. Kodansha, 1989.
Call no.: DS888.2 .S57 1989

This multi-volume chronology provides a detailed account of the Shôwa period and includes a lot of photos, illustrations, newspaper articles and other commentary of the Shôwa period. Recommended by John Dower for anyone doing history on the Shôwa period.


Kindai Nihon seijishi hikkei. Tôyama Shigeki and Adachi Shizuko. Iwanami Shoten, 1961.
Call no: REF DS843 .I86 1961

Elaborate charts and diagrams for tracing the development of political and bureaucratic institutions and the people who populated them. Includes good chronologies on legislative bodies and comprehensive election information.

Kindai Nihon kenkyû no kentô to kadai. Kindai Nihon Kenkyûkai. Yamakawa Shuppansha, 1988. Call no: DS881.9.K563

This volume is a special issue of the annual journal Nenpô Kindai Nihon kenkyû. Each of the 23 essays reviews the state of the field with regard to a range of topics from the Bakumatsu period onward. Four of the essays address the state of the field of modern Japanese studies in the US, China, Taiwan, and Korea.


To get an idea of what is going in Japanese historiography, the best place to look is Shigaku Zasshi's annual May issue, discussed in Ch. 18, "Learning the State of the Field." In English, it may be fruitful to look at the following.

An Introductory Bibliography for Japanese Studies. Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 1974. The Japan Foundation (Kokusai Kôryû Kikin).
Call no: REF Z3306 .I57 10 Volumes
IHJ: 0028
M/S: I-15, p. 15

Poor translation mars some essays in this otherwise useful collection of English essays written in Japanese by leading Japanese scholars. Particularly useful is the annotated bibliography which includes brief English language descriptions of recently published Japanese books on a wide variety of academic subjects. Published by the Japan Foundation. Discussed in Makino/Saito on pate 15. A painless way to get acquainted with the state of the Japanese field.


Starr has these four major multi-volume histories of Japan:

Nihon no rekishi, 26 Volumes. Chûô Kôron, 1965-67.
Call number: 210.09 N574

Nihon no rekishi, 32 Volumes. Shôgakkan, 1973-1976.
Call number: 210.09 N5737

Kôza Nihon rekishi, 13 Volumes. Tokyo Daigaku Shuppankai, 1984-85.
Call number: DS835. K696 1984

Nihon no rekishi, 22 Volumes. Shûeisha, 1991- 93
Call number: DS835. N55382 1991

Nihon kindai shisô taikei. 23 vols. Iwanami Shoten, 1990.
Call no: (Catalogued by topic, not as a set.)

This set gathers together selected primary documents, each of which is provided with a commentary, plus general essays at the end by the editors. Despite the "kindai" of the title, the materials are almost exclusively restricted to the Meiji period, and early to mid-Meiji at that. Each volume is dedicated to a single topical themes, such as bureaucracy and police, religion and the state, law and order, scholarship and elites, discourse and the media, art, historical consciousness, cities and buildings, literary style, etc.

Shiryô Nihon gendaishi. Ôtsuki Shoten, 1980.
Call no: 210.87 Sh64

It's not clear how many volumes there are in this series, but Starr has five. These are collections of documents with kaisetsu. The volumes deal mainly with political and military topics.

Shirizu Nihon kingendaishi. Iwanami Shoten 1993.
Call no: DS881.85.S56

This is a four-volume set ("Restoration and Modern Japan," "Capitalism and Liberalism," "Shift towards Modern Society," and "Postwar Reforms and the Patterns of Contemporary Society"). Each volume contains an introductory essay laying out the state of the field, followed by seven to ten essays by separate authors.


Revised by Aaron Skabelund, Fall 2000

Searching for newspaper articles can be a very frustrating experience.  Does hopelessly scrolling
through roll after roll of microfilm sound fun?  If one wisely uses the bibliographic tools for Japanese
newspapers, the process will be much easier if not enjoyable.  The most important piece of
information is too know the approximate date of the article(s) you are looking for, because all the
newspaper bibliographies are arranged chronologically, and some are poorly indexed.  The more
precise the date the better, but with some topically indexed compilations you can get away without
knowing this information.  Whether you know the approximate date or not, the best compendia to
start with is the nyûsu jiten, multi-volume publications that cover the Meiji, Taisho and Showa
periods. These are well indexed by subject and article title, and quite extensive.  (Needless to say, all
newspaper compendia are a limited selection of articles from past various newspapers not a
reproduction of every article from every newspaper.)  Don’t forget to consider various subject titles
for your topic.  The predecessor to the nyûsu jiten, but not as accessible is the Shinbun shûsei.
This multi-volume sets cover also cover Meiji, Taisho and Showa, but other than the Meiji volumes
which are indexed by subject for the entire period in volume 15, if you don’t have a good idea of the
date of the appropriate article, you will have to wade through the chronologically arranged list of
article titles at the start of each annual volume.

For the Showa period, there are three additional options.  For post-1945 articles in the Asahi
shimbun, one search the database in Starr, or use the print version housed in the reference area.
For articles in a variety of newspapers for early Showa (ending in 1952), see the Shimbun shusei
Shôwashi no shôgen, a compilation of articles from over 300 newspapers.  For the entire period in
a single volume, see Shôwashi zenkiroku: chronicle 1926-1989.

Meiji nyûsu jiten. 9 vols. Mainichi komyunikeshonzu, 1983-1986. Call no.: REF DS 881.987

The articles for Meiji are mainly from the Tokyo nichinichi shimbun, the forerunner of the Mainichi
and the oldest newspaper in Japan.  Each volume covers several years and is organized by subject,
in gojûon order.  Within each subject entry, articles are listed chronologically, and each appears in its
entirety.  Articles are changed gendai kanazukai, unfortunately, dropping furigana in the process, but
on the other hand making them far more legible.  Volume 9 contains cumulated indexes to the whole
set by article topic (political, economic, social, regional) and exact article title, an index to the
numerous photographs, and even an article for advertisements.

Taishô nyûsu jiten. 8 vols. Mainichi komyunikeshonzu, 1986-89.
Call no.: REF DS 885.87 .T13

The format is the same as the Meiji volumes above.  The Taishô index is in volume 8.

Shôwa nyûsu jiten. 9 vols. Mainichi komyunikeshonzu, 1990-94.
Call no.: DS 888.2 S5113 1990

Also, the same format as the above Meiji volumes.  The index can be found in volume 8.

Shinbun shûsei Meiji hennenshi. Meiji Taishô Shôwa kenkyûkai. 15 vols. Orig. 1934-36.
Reduced-size reprint, Honpô shoseki, 1982.
Call no.: REF. DS882 S48 1982

Shimbun shûsei Taishô hennenshi. Meiji Taishô Shôwa kenkyûkai, ed. 1966 ff. 15 kan in 47
Call no.: DS886 .S47

Shimbun shûsei Shôwa hennenshi. Meiji Taishô Shôwa kenkyûkai. 1955-89.
Call no.: 210.8 T13

Starr only has volumes 5-11, 24 for Showa.

Shimbun shûsei Shôwashi no shôgen. 29 vols. Honpô Shoseki, 1983-94.
Call no.: DS 888.2 S56

A compilation of articles from over 300 newspapers in the Showa period up to 1945.  The set is
arranged chronologically with subject index in the beginning of each volume.  Unfortunately, the
subject listings are very general and the cumulative index in volume is based on the headlines, making
this set less easy to use unless you are searching for specific dates.

Shôwashi zenkiroku: chronicle 1926-1989. The Editorial Committee. Mainichi, 1989.
Call no.: REF DS 888.2 .S572 1989.

A one-volume compilation of news articles covering 1926-1983. It is arranged chronologically with
some full-length articles, and the lists of other notable events and what is calls “memory” or cultural
and sub-cultural events. Lots of photos and lots of to simply browse, and the index is good.

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