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Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin: Japanese Collection

General Information


East Asia Department

Potsdamer Straße 33
10785 Berlin
+49 30 266 436106 (Mr Christian Dunkel)
+49 30 266 436100 (Ms Ursula Flache)
FAX:   -
East Asia Reading Room (OLS)
Mon-Fri  9:00-21:00;  Sat  10:00-14:00
Mon-Fri  9:00-17:00
Rare Books/Manuscripts
Mon-Fri  9:00-15:00

About the East Asia Department:

The origins of the East Asia Department of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin  date back to the founding of the ‘Churfürstliche Bibliothek zu Cölln an der Spree’, which initially acquired Chinese books on order of the Great Prince-Elector during the second half of the 17th century. From the beginning of the 19th century, the collection grew considerably, and in 1822 Julius Heinrich Klaproth published a catalogue of Chinese and Manchu books, followed almost two decades later by Wilhelm Schott's catalogue.

On 1st July 1922 East-Asian prints and manuscripts were moved to the newly-established East Asia Department. The collection had grown until 1943, but a substantial part of the pre-WWII collection was relocated during the war — only one third of the former collection is in Berlin while the rest was destroyed or is considered lost. In 1992, the East Asia collections were moved to the a dedicated location in Potsdamer Straße.

Today the collection is the largest European collection of books in Asian languages and features comprehensive holdings in Western languages as well — present accession numbers around 25,000 volumes per year. The collection of printed materials is complemented by the Virtual Special Subject Library, CrossAsia, which allow cross-search in about 70 international databases. 

Summary of Collections

The Japanese collection is extensive with strenghts in a broad range of subjects, such as scholarly and scientific literature, jurisprudence, social sciences and politics, education, ethnic studies, and also works of fiction and best sellers. Reference materials include bibliographical and biographical reference works, dictionaries, yearbooks, festschriften and commemorative publications of academic institutions.

The are some 1.500 Japanese journals and approximately 250.000 books in Japanese in the stacks, of which 127.000 titles are searchable online via Cinii/Nacsis and new entries are added constantly.

The antiquarian collection comprises approximately 700 titles, and includes manuscripts, printed books, maps and scrolls. Notable items of the collection include: Hyakumantō darani, Nara-ban, Tōdaiji-ban, Kasuga-ban, Gozan-ban, Negoro-ban, Kōya-ban, Saga-bon, Nara ehon.


Online catalog: StaBiKat (East Asia collection)

Online Resources

Click on the following links to access the online resources of the East Asia Department of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.


How to Use the Facility

Using the Collections

Photograph is not allowed, but the library offers reprographic service. For further information about the Japanese collection, contact the subject specialists librarians, Mr Christian Dunkel and Ms Ursula Flache.

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North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources
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