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Information Literary Resources: Names and People

Names and People

Kristina Troost, PhD
Course: Research Methods in Japanese Studies, 2005 Spring,
Duke University


Resources for Finding Information about Names and People in Japan

Includes information on:

  • Reading Japanese Names
  • Who's Who
  • Organizational and other Directories
  • Genealogies
  • Biographical Indexes
  • Bibliographies of Biographies
  • Biographical Series

Resources for Finding Information about Names and People in Japan

Provides information in Japanese on living and deceased people in economics, politics, society (190,000 people); researchers, authors, journalists (150,000); the arts, entertainment and sports (100,000). Brief records include reading of name, employment/occupation, and source of data. Detailed records also include birth/death dates, birthplace, field of specialization, educational history, history of employment, prizes, address as well as sources of information on the individual and a list of materials written by the individual. While the database focuses on people whose notable activities occurred after 1868, it also includes 4000 historical figures from before the Meiji era.

NACSIS webcat

A good place to find readings of names and what someone has published.

Waseda opac

Good for finding the readings of names of both people and publishers.

National Diet Library

The opac often has the readings of names and occasionally publishers. It has an authority file to link commonly used names with the official name. Not available in the afternoons.

Article on Reading Names

Butler, Lee. "Language Change and 'Proper' Transliterations in Premodern Japanese." Japanese Language and Literature: Journal of the Association of Teachers of Japanese 36:1 (April 2002), pp. 27-44. Includes a discussion of the main problems and includes some interesting examples of "correct" readings--for example, evidence strongly suggests that Oda
Nobunaga's name was originally (and probably during his life) Ota rather than Oda.

Biographical/Name Dictioary Exercises

Kristina Troost, PhD
Course: Research Methods in Japanese Studies, 2005 Spring,
Duke University

  1. How do you read the following authors' names? Do not use WebWho, though you may use other online sources, if they are free (NDL, Waseda, Nacsis webcat).
    1. >角谷辰二郎 Specialist in education psychology d. 1984
    2. 角谷一圭 Artistic craftsman; what was his real name
    3. 角谷佳根子 Wrote 踏花 in 1970
    4. 角谷省三 1915-1988; interested in the safety of atomic power
    5. 古藤利久三 Deputy manager of Keidanren
    6. 堀越禎三 Director of the general office of Keidanren
    7. 百橋明穂 Professor of Art History at Kobe University
    8. 河野多恵子 Novelist
  2. How do you read the name of the publisher, 校倉書房
  3. In study the concept of individualism in Japan, the names of ルードウイビブッセ and ジウイリアムノックス pop up frequently in various sources. I believe both were foreign teachers at the Tokyo Imperial University. Who were they? Did they publish any articles or books?
  4. Compare entries for 河北倫明 or 佐々木豊 in the following dictionaries. Which is the most useful?
    1. Gendai Nihon jinmeiroku, 現代日本人名 920.05203 G325, N691x (you will note that we have editions published in 1987, 1994, 1998, 2002)
    2. Gendai Nihon shippitsusha daijiten 新現代日本執筆者大事典, 016.920052 G325 (we have three separate editions of this: (1984, 1992, 2003).
    3. Jinji koshinroku 人事興信録 920.052 J61 K86x
  5. Take one of the following and compare entries (especially birth and death dates, age at death) in Nihon jinmei daijiten 日本人名大事典 (920.05203 D132 N691 1979), Kokushi daijiten 國史大辭典 (952.003056 K79 1979), and Nihon shi daijiten 日本史大事典 (952.003956 N691, 1992 ).
    Shiba Kokan
    Okakura Tenshin
    Ernest Francisco Fenollosa
  6. Compare what you find for one of the following in NDL, the Duke catalog, RLG; Art Abstracts and WebOya; and Web Who: Fujishima Takeji
    Domon Ken
    Morimura Yasumasa

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