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Japanese Studies and Language

Resources for study and research in Japanese, including books, journals, and more.


This subject guide highlights some key discipline resources to get you started with study and research. 

Searching tips

Tips on how to search for Japanese resources:

When using the UniMelb library catalogue:

  • search using either Romanised Japanese or in Japanese text. If using Romanisation, follow the Modified Hepburn Romanization System and don't include long vowels. For example, type in "benkyo" rather than "benkyou" or "benkyoo". For more information, check the Hepburn Romanization chart (this will open in a new window).
  • use a keyword search for preference.
  • type in Japanese characters.

There are more specific search tips under each of the sections of this guide. 

Japanese Language Learning

Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

Databases and journals

Use databases to search across many academic resources (including peer-reviewed journals) at the same time. 

Refer to the A-Z Ejournals and Databases page for a comprehensive list of available resources. 

Core Arts and Humanities databases:

The selection of multidisciplinary databases below will retrieve results from different subject areas. 

Japanese Studies-specific journal databases:
For more focused results try searching in one of these subject-specific databases.

Finding articles in Japanese

It is rare to find full text articles in Japanese. The best way to obtain articles is to search the following indexes; please note that the full-text may not be available for all articles. If a full-text link is not included, you may be able to request the article via Inter-Library Loan (this will open in a new window). Please type in Romanization for the Japanese language input details.

Why are there so few full text Japanese articles online?

Good question! It is possibly because the Japanese publishing industry is very conservative. There is more open sharing in academia, primarily science and technology fields but it is still nowhere near as open as the Western publishing industries. You can start your search by visiting CiNii Articles, which offers a useful index of academic papers with some available as full-text.

Print journals

The library also holds Japanese periodicals (or journals) in print as part of the East Asian Collection at the ERC, including:


You can access print and eBooks via the Library Catalogue. To find books on a particular subject, try a keyword search:




To improve your searching skills, see the Research Essentials Library Guide. Note that you can search the catalogue in non-Latin scripts (including Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese and Korean). 

For information on access and loans, including material from other libraries, see the borrowing from the library page. The eBook Guide provides information on eBook access.

Japanese print books in the General East Asian Collection


Japanese language materials are spread over several libraries, and most are kept in the Rare East Asian Collection (consists of Chinese and Japanese language materials ranging from the 17th century to the 21st century) and the General East Asian Collection (consists of both print and electronic research materials in Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages). The General East Asian Collection mainly covers the areas of arts and humanities, social sciences and architectural history. Print materials within the General East Asian Collection are kept on level 2 & 3 of the Eastern Resource Centre (ERC) Library.


Architecture, Building and Planning Library

Books on Japanese architecture

ERC Library

Media Collection: DVDs, videos

Giblin Eunson Library

Japanese language teaching books, DVDs and other resources

Law Library

Books on Japanese law

Government Documents


Primary Sources

The Rare East Asian Collection

The Rare East Asian Collection houses more than 20,000 volumes of titles in Chinese and Japanese languages ranging from the 17th century to the 21st century.

Collection items can be requested for viewing in the Special Collections Reading Room at Baillieu Library, Level 3. 

Primary source databases


You can find relevant information and resources for your research on the websites of professional organisations and bodies, institutes, NGOs, government departments, etc.

This guide gives a few suggestions to get you started and to give you an idea what to look for. It is by no means comprehensive. If you are a coursework student, check your LMS to see if your lecturer has provided website recommendations.

Tip: if you want to limit your Google search results to organisational, governmental, or educational websites, use Google's advanced search option to limit the site or domains to .org, .gov, .edu

Citing and referencing

Need help with your referencing? Click on the button below:

How to reference Japanese resources

There are some standard principles for referencing Japanese language resources, whichever referencing style you might be asked to use. The following examples will be based on the APA referencing style, which is most commonly used style in Arts and Humanities studies. You can get further help by contacting your subject librarian.

APA referencing style example: American Psychological Association (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington D.C: Author.



Example of how to reference a Japanese language book in APA style. Main difference: Japanese book title in Romanization and italicized, capitalizing the first word, full stop. Then the translation of the book title in English in square brackets, full stop. Refer to Re:Cite for more on APA referencing style.



Example of how to reference a book section or chapter in a Japanese language book in the APA style. Main differences: Japanese book section or chapter title in Romanization and italicized, capitalizing the first word, full stop. Then the translation of the title in English in square brackets, full stop. Add the word "In" followed by the editor/s' names per APA convention, comma, title of the book in Romanization and italicized, capitalizing the first word. Refer to Re:Cite for more on APA referencing style.



Referencing Japanese language journal articles: Romanise the title of the article capitalising the first word and adding its translation in English in square brackets afterwards. Then romanise the title of the journal or publication, italicising it and capitalising all the words except connecting words. Refer to Re:Cite for more on APA referencing style.

Learn how reference management software can help you with referencing:

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