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Japan Art Catalog Project: Home

A binational exchange of rare and often privately printed art catalogs creating permanent research collections

About the Japan Art Catalog Project

Since 1995 the Japan Art Catalog (JAC) Project has facilitated access to Japanese art catalogs for art historians and the general public. The JAC Project was established by ACE Japan (the Japan Association for Cultural Exchange) with the financial support of the Japan Foundation in collaboration with the NCC. Since that time, NCC has assisted the project by establishing, and when necessary relocating, US-based JAC collections. In 2004 the project management was moved to the National Arts Center, Tokyo.

There are five components in the Japan Art Catalog Project:

The NCC greatly appreciates catalog donations from exhibitions on any aspect of Japanese art that have taken place in the North America since 1997. The NCC seeks donations of catalogs or suggestions of exhibitions that should be included. To recommend catalogs the NCC should seek to include in the JAC exchange, please contact NCC or the curators of the individual collections. More information on each collection can be found below.

Photo: Leiden University JAC Stacks, complements Nadia M. Kreeft-Mishkovskyi

JAC at the National Art Center Tokyo

The Tokyo-based JAC collection is now part of the National Art Center, Tokyo (NACT). The National Art Center, Tokyo is Japan's largest exhibition space with over 14,000 square meters capable of a number of major simultaneous exhibitions. In addition, NACT has a broad educational mission with its Art Library serving as a cornerstone in those endeavors. 

Currently coordinated by Yasuko Imura, the Art Library is the home of the NACT's Japan Art Catalog (JAC) Project collection of US published catalogs of Japanese art exhibitions. The art catalog collection in Tokyo is comprised of over 110,000 catalogs from art exhibitions held at museums, art galleries, and department stores in Japan. Please also visit the Art Library's webpage.

The Art Library of NACT is open to researchers and the general public daily, except Tuesdays and holidays.

JAC at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art

The JAC Asian Art Collection at the Library of Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution was curated for many years by Reiko Yoshimura, Former Director of the Library. As of 2022, the JAC Asian Collection has received approximately 10,500 volumes of Japanese and Asian art exhibition and museum collection catalogues since 1996.

The project receives not only recent exhibition catalogues but also small gallery (画廊) catalogues from the 20th century, which are now difficult to locate and obtain. While the collection continues to grow steadily and to be an important source of Inter-Library Loan (ILL) for scholarly research, one may not realize its full wealth without a visit. One scholarly visitor commented on the collection as follows:

"Thanks to your helpful staff, I located all of the Japanese catalogues (actually, I discovered the existence of several on that trip) . . . I also located a few obscure catalogues from the Palace Museum's exhibitions in Europe. I could not possibly have written this article without the Freer Library."

For those who are unable to visit the Freer and Sackler Library to browse the JAC Collection firsthand, its materials are also available through ILL. While the JAC collection contains catalogs of works from all periods, its greatest strengths are for exhibitions of modern art. To date, 75% of the loaned titles were for exhibitions of modern art, followed by requests for catalogs on Chinese and Korean Art exhibitions held in Japan. JAC materials can be found on the Freer and Sackler Library's web site by keyword or author search, using "JAC Project."

JAC at Leiden Unviersity

The Japan Art Catalog at Leiden University comprises nearly 5,500 items, with several hundred more that are in the process of being cataloged. 

When exploring Leiden's collections online, you can find JAC content on their library website by going to "Advanced Search" and selecting "Location Data," followed by "is exact" and "JAC." To jump directly to this search, visit this link. A large portion of the older catalogues is located in an off-site depot, and requests for catalogues from this depot will take one day to be handled and delivered at a pickup location. 

If you have questions about the JAC collection and accessing the materials, please contact the Subject Librarian and Curator of Japanese & Korean Materials at the Leiden University Libraries: Nadia M. Kreeft-Mishkovskyi.

JAC at the University of Sydney Fisher Library

Part of the University of Sydney Library’s East Asian Collection, the Japan Art Catalogue collection consists of 5,035 titles as of February 2023.

Thanks to the efforts of the University’s former East Asian Librarian Nancy Li and Emeritus Professor John Clark (FAHA, CIHA, PhD), the University of Sydney Library became one of the project’s four depository libraries worldwide, and the only one in the Southern Hemisphere.

The library has been receiving the Japanese art catalogues since 1999. The JAC collection is located within the East Asian Collection area at Fisher Library, and is managed by the Library’s Rare Books & Special Collections Liaison Librarian – East Asian Collection, Emily Kang. The collection is discoverable on the University’s Library Search: a search with ‘JAC project’ in the author/creator field will find all JAC project materials.

JAC at Columbia University's Avery Architectural and Fine Art Library.

The JAC Western Art Catalog Collection of Columbia University is primarily housed at the Avery Architectural and Fine Art Library. In the past it has been curated by Paula Gabbard (Retired Fine Arts Librarian, Avery Library) with the assistance of Hideyuki Morimoto (Cataloger, C.V. Starr East Asian Library).

As of April 2023, the JAC-Western Collection now contains approximately 2,800 titles and can be found by searching CLIO, Columbia University's OPAC by inputting "JACWP" as the keyword. Please note that not all JACWP titles are searchable in WorldCat.

Last updated 23-04-30.

North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources
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