Linkage with the National Institute of Japanese Literature “Database of Pre-modern Japanese Works”

National Institute of Japanese Literature

An abundant 710,000 items of bibliographic information on pre-modern works, with access to 190,000 high-definition images, and a total 190,000 items of work information.

Freely browsable on the Internet, the Database of Pre-modern Japanese Works is a portal site containing an abundance of bibliographies accumulated by the National Institute of Japanese Literature (NIJL) over many years, as well as a huge variety of images of pre-modern works that have been digitalized by NIJL’s “Project to Build an International Collaborative Research Network for Pre-modern Japanese Texts (NIJL-NW project).”

Thus far, to access the knowledge in pre-modern works, it has been necessary to pay a direct visit to an archive to peruse the books there. With the Database of Pre-modern Japanese Works, however, it has become possible for anyone to access the books from anywhere, anytime.

One of the features of the Database of Pre-modern Japanese Works is called “Work Control.” With pre-modern works, if there are multiple versions, the same work may have differing titles (e.g. “Genji Monogatari,” “Kenshi,” and “Hikaru Genji, or titles where only one part has remained, such as “Kiritsubo” and “Utsusemi”). In addition, even if two books have the same title, they may have different contents (e.g. “Genji Monogatari” written by Murasaki Shikibu and an annotated work of the same book, also titled “Genji Monogatari”).

“Work Control” brings together the bibliographic information for each individual (physical) book in a work unit. This makes it very easy to, for instance, search for books which are the same work but have come down to the present day by a different pathway.

The Database of Pre-modern Japanese Works currently (as of April 2022) contains roughly 710,000 bibliographical information entries, of which nearly 190,000 are linked to image data. The work information brought together for these (710,000 entries) extends to roughly 190,000 entries.

JapanKnowledge has made it possible to search the “work information” in the Database of Pre-modern Japanese Works. Unified titles and differing titles can be searched for by headword search, and the author’s name, classification and year of creation in the work information can be searched for by full-text search. The more detailed information and pre-modern text image data on the open Database of Pre-modern Japanese Works can be directly browsed from a work information search hit on JapanKnowledge.

Contents information

Original books
Original Data Database of Pre-modern Japanese Works
Source National Institute of Japanese Literature
Publication date
Book price
Release date April 10, 2019
Number of entries 192,787 entries
Number of characters
About search
Frequency of update
Available services
(as of April 2022)