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The School of Oriental and African Studies: Japanese Collection

General Information

Facility: SOAS Library
Address: Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square
London WC1H 0XG
(Click here for a map of the surroundings)
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7637 2388
FAX:   - 
Main Library
  • Mon-Thu 9am-11.30pm (Issue desk closes at 8pm, membership at 6.55pm)
  • Friday 9am-11.30pm (Issue and membership desks close at 6.55pm)
  • Saturday 10.30am-11.30pm (Issue and Membership desks close at 5.45pm)
  • Sunday 10.30am-11.30pm (Self-service only)

Special Collections Reading Room

  • Open: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 09.00 - 17.00
  • Closed: Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays
More infromation about term dates and holidays see here

About the Library:

The SOAS Library is a prominent academic library for the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, which welcomes scholars from all over the world. The Library, located near Russell Square, houses an extensive collection of modern books, as well as archives, manuscripts and rare books. It also offers a wide selection of electronic resources and journals. 

The Archives and Special Collections comprise documents and rare books relating to Africa, Asia, the Middle East and beyond. The main focus of these collections is the British interaction with Africa and Asia over the last 250 years.

The Library is part of Library & Information Services, a comprehensive service which supports Learning Resources, IT Support, ICT Infrastructure and the SOAS Information Systems suite (which includes an emerging cluster of innovative library- and research data management systems).

For more information about the Japanese collection, please enquire Ms Kobayashi Fujiko ().

Summary of Collections

The Library holds more than 150,000 monographs for Japanese studies. In addition, there are over 1,000 Japanese language periodicals, some 300 western language periodicals, research databases, and over 300 audio-visual materials for teaching and research in Japanese studies. The main focus is on the humanities & social sciences.

The collection is divided as follow:
  • books on Japan in western and Japanese languages (Library level C)
  • materials on Japanese art and archaeology (Library level D)
  • western language books on Japanese law (Library level D)

The Library also houses a significant collection of pre-modern texts and prints in the Archive section -- ca. 300 woodblock print books, over 500 prints, and some Japanese manuscripts. Details on these collections can be found in the following printed publications: A descriptive catalogue of the pre-1868 Japanese Books in the SOAS Library and Catalogue of Japanese Manuscripts in the Library of the School of Oriental and African Studies.


Online catalog (new catalog), (classic catalog).

Online Resources

  • A comprehensive list of research database on Japan can be found here.

  • Consult the Subjects guidelines to find information about the collections and link to useful online resources. 

  • Primo Central is a cross-disciplinary search tool which allows users to browse e-resources (e-journals, e-books, databases, etc.) available at SOAS .


How to Use the Facility

Using the Collections

The Library welcomes readers from different institutions and offers numerous forms of membership. Usually, requests of admission are processed on the same day, but in some cases the application procedure may be delayed. Fees may also apply. Those who plan to visit the Library can find detailed information on membership plans here.

Please, note that:

  • Payment can only be made by cash or cheque.
  • Membership fees are non-refundable.
  • All library members (including day members) may have access to some electronic resources on-campus (off-campus use of electronic resources is restricted to SOAS students and staff).

Give Us Your Feedback

For all comments and questions about the Guide, please e-mail us:

North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources
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