The National Diet Library (NDL) site 国立国会図書館 offers essential resources for research on Japan including the NDL-OPAC (National bibliography) and Journal index 雑誌記事索引 (1949-present) as well as Lending/copying services for both institutions and individuals. (Now they even allow credit cards for payment!) Since some of you may not be familiar with it, so let me take this opportunity to share a little more about this amazing resource.
The NDL’s Electronic Library Collection 近代デジタルライブラリー has continued to grow. It now has some 55,000 volumes of monographs published in Meiji period. Although the Yenching library has the complete Meiji monograph collection available on microfilm (some 120,000 volumes), increasingly we can skip viewing microfilm thanks to this growing digital collection.
日本の国会・世界の議会 The Diet & Parliament section offer a wealth of Modern political history sources including the 国会会議録 since the first postwar Diet session in 1947, the 日本法令索引 since 1884, 閣議決定等文献リスト及び本文 1927-1963, and my favorite 近現代日本政治関係人物文献目録 with 44,000 references. The NDL’s Parliamentary Documents room 憲政資料室 has in-depth resources on modern Japanese political history, and is making a selection of its contents contents viewable digitally here. The problem with the NDL web site is its organization. Parliamentary documents are kept in the ”Nippon in the World” section which is a part of the “Gallery”. “Nippon in the World” has three sections: Scenic Mementos of Japan, Japan at the Vienna Expo 1873, and Parliamentary Documents. There is no logic in grouping them, but they all offer rich and unique information in image and texts. The NDL site map, which reflects NDL bureaucracy but isn’t a ‘universal’ organization of knowledge that we might be familiar with, does not help much in finding things. Anyway, my point is that NDL’s digital resources on the web are growing and it’s worth exploring from time to time. There are many hidden gems on the NDL web site.
P.S. I created a web resource guide for Japanese studies two years ago and it is accessible at the Yenching library web site. I am planning to update this soon. I would appreciate your comments/suggestions for my next guide.