The following organizations provide free access to digital images of Japan with clear instructions for their use. The NCC Subject Guides Portal also provides a list of LibGuides introducing further links and guides on finding visual resources.
- Duke University - Japanese Image Resources
Provides an overview of print and online resources for visual materials on Japan held at Duke University, organized by subject.
- Harvard University - Finding Images of East Asia at Harvard and Beyond
Provides links to guides about and sites containing photographs and other visual images of Japan, as well as selected books on the history of photography in Japan.
- Lafayette College East Asia Image Collection
A growing collection of over 5000 Japan-related historical images. The East Asia Image Collection is an open-access archive of digitized photographs, negatives, postcards, and slides of imperial Japan (1868-1945), its Asian empire (1895-1945) and occupied Japan (1947-52). Emphasis is on picture postcards of Taiwan, Korea, China and Japan 1990-1945.
- Library of Congress P&P online catalog - fine prints: Japanese, pre-1915
The Prints and Photographs Division has more than 2,500 Japanese woodblock prints and drawings, dating from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries.
- National Diet Library
NDL Digital Exhibitions
NDL Digitized Contents
The National Diet Library offers online galleries of digitized material with detailed English descriptions. The digitized content can be browsed on an English interface; however, the bibliographic information is available only in Japanese and must be searched using Japanese characters as well.
- University of California, Berkeley & Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University
- World Digital Library
- An international digital library project run by Library of Congress and UNESCO. Currently contains 168 images from Japan, including ukiyo-e, maps, and other prints.
Provides digital images of collections from Kyoto National Museum, Nara National Museum, and cultural heritage institutions.
- British Museum
Offers access to a wide range of digital material from Japan, including ukiyo-e and hanging scrolls. Objects from Japan can be located through "Collection database search."
- California Museum of Photography at the University of California, Riverside
Japan, hand-colored photographs, ca. 1880 - Approximately 170 images of nineteenth-century Japan from the Samuel Jacobson Collection at the California Museum of Photography.
Nagasaki: The Johnson Family Albums, ca. 1895-1910 - Photographs of Nagasaki taken by a Methodist missionary family at the turn of the twentieth century and held by the California Museum of Photography.
- Cleveland Museum of Art - Japanese and Korean Art
Includes images of metalwork, lacquer, sculpture, painting, and ceramics from both Japan and Korea.
This site provides high-definition images of national treasures and important cultural properties owned by four national museums in Japan. Can search in both English and Japanese.
- The Honolulu Museum of Art - Japanese Woodblock Prints Collection
The Honolulu Museum of Art offers digitized images of more than 6,000 woodblock prints online.
- Union Catalog of the Collections of the National Art Museums, Japan
A union catalog of the collections of national art museums in Japan, developed by the Independent Administrative Institution National Museum of Art . Can be searched in both English and Japanese.
- Minneapolis Institute of Arts - The Art of Asia
- Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
More than 3,500 examples of Japanese metalwork and lacquer, and over 20,000 Japanese postcards from the Leonard A. Lauder collection (nearly 9,000 of them with full cataloguing), can be viewed on this site. Most of the 2,250 items from the first two phases of a survey of Japanese paintings, sculpture, textiles, masks, and Buddhist Arts are available online.
- Online Museum Resources on Asian Art
A fairly comprehensive resource on online databases, exhibitions, and teaching resources made by museums with Asian art collections.
- Victoria and Albert Museum
- A-Z Photo Dictionary of Japanese Sculpture and Art an online image dictionary with special emphasis on Japanese religious art, created by Mark Schumacher who owns copyright on many of the images. Available for academic use within his restrictions, check copyright statement in upper right corner.
- Digital Archive of Japan’s 2011 Disasters
Provides access to web resources related to the 3.11 disaster, including photographs collected by Yahoo!Japan.
- Europeana a digital portal of images, key word Japan returns over 25,000 items with extensive metadata. Guide to searchiing and copyright is eaily used from the left column
- Japan Center for Asia Historical Records
Run by the National Archive, the archive provides access to official documents of the Japanese Cabinet, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the Army and Navy. It contains historical documents and photographs, maps, drawings, and figures, including photographic magazines such as Shashin Shuho. They also have curated digital exhibits.
- Online Resources for Japanese Archeology and Cultural Heritage principally a resource for K-12 education on Japanese archeology, contains some images and also background text on various subjects.
The key goal of The Commons is to share hidden treasures from the world's public photography archives. It is possible to search for historical images across institutions. Users can add tags and comments to the images they find.
By Image Type
Purposes: Collected websites and Internet resources provide users with further information on copyright in the North America and Japan. This includes legal issues of copyright and guidelines to image use provided by government offices, universities, libraries, and non-profit organizations. In addition, some resources providing image data are included to assist in legally using images from Japan for research and educational purposes.
Selections criteria: When selecting websites and Internet resources for the IUP list of useful links, we followed general selection criteria including authorship, accuracy, currency, targeted audience, purposes of the information, navigation, etc. In addition, special consideration is applied when selecting image resources, evaluating the image data provided and the procedures/guidelines of how to use images.
It would be nearly impossible to have and maintain a fully comprehensive list of digital links to Japanese images and to evaluate such a list. We hope that the links we have provided will offer quality images and further ideas of places where users may find images. Those looking for images on a special theme or topic should also consult the large range of professional and scholarly email lists and look on the sites of major commercial databanks and image providers.
April 26, 2009
(Edited September 10, 2014)