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Japan Art Catalog Project: Home

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

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 in the US. Since that time, the 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, they are:

  • The JAC Asian Art Catalog Collection at the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington
  • The JAC Western Art Catalog Collection at the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University
  • The Japan Art Catalog Collection at Leiden University, the Netherlands East Asian Library
  • The JAC Collection at the University of Sydney Fisher Library, Australia
  • The Japan Art Catalog Collection at the National Art Center Tokyo

The JAC Asian Art Collection at the Library of Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, is curated by Reiko Yoshimura (, Director of the Library. As of 2020, the JAC Asian Collection has received approximately 10,000 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 to the Freer and Sackler Library. 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 (post-Kinsei) 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."

The smaller JAC-Western Art Catalog Collection recently relocated to Columbia University's Avery Architectural and Fine Art Library. The JAC Western Collection is curated by Paula Gabbard Senior Bibliographer at the Avery Library ( with the assistance of Hideyuki Morimoto from Columbia's C.V. Starr East Asian Library. The JAC-Western Collection now contains approximately 700 volumes that are in the process of being cataloged. Previously cataloged volumes in the collection can be found by searching CLIO, Columbia University's OPAC ( by inputting "JACWP" as the keyword.

The Tokyo-based JAC collection is now part of the National Art Center, Tokyo (NACT). The enormous new National Art Center, Tokyo, recently opened in Roppongi, Minato-ku. A center in planning since the mid-1970s, NACT was designed by award-winning architect Kisho Kurokawa and 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. The facility also includes large spaces for lectures and symposia as well as a restaurant, three cafes, and a museum shop.

The Art Library, coordinated by Eri Taniguchi, is the home of the Japan Art Catalog (JAC) Project collection of US published catalogs of Japanese art exhibitions. The art catalog collection in Tokyo is current comprised of over 20,000 catalogs from art exhibitions held at museums, art galleries, and department stores in Japan. The NCC is now working to solicit and collect catalogs from US exhibitions of Japanese art to be sent to NACT for inclusion in the Japan Art Catalog Collection at NACT.

The Art Library of NACT is open to researchers and the general public daily, except Tuesdays and during the year-end and New Years holidays (December 29th-January 3rd). It will be open on National Holidays that may fall on a Tuesday. The National Art Center Tokyo is a fully wheelchair accessible facility with underground access leading directly to the Nogizaki subway station. The National Art Center, Tokyo is located at 7-22-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku Tokyo, URL Please also visit the Art Library's Webpage at URL (available only in Japanese):

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 listed above.

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North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources
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