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Japanese History

Japanese History & Culture

Primary Sources

Primary sources are original materials. They are first-hand accounts from the time period involved and may include such things as:

  • diaries, letters, photographs, art, maps, original video, film or sound recordings, interviews, or newspaper articles.

("Secondary" sources are created after the fact by individuals or groups who did not witness the events being discussed. They interpret, report, or correlate subjects based on their study of primary material. It is inevitable that we all interpret events of the past through the lens of our own experience, but reputable scholars attempt to minimize subjectivity.)

To find primary sources in the Library catalogue use keywords that describe your topic together with any of the following subject headings:

Autobiography / Autobiographies, Correspondence, Diary / Diaries, Interview / Interviews, Letter / Letters, Personal narratives, Sources, Speech / Speeches


Personal narratives Japan

Japan Diaries

Japan Centre for Asian Historical Records

Japanese Historical Text Initiative - University of California at Berkeley

Japanese Illustrated Books from the Edo and the Meiji Periods

Landscapes of Injustice - This Research Database provides access to thousands of records related to Japanese Canadian history and the dispossession of their property in the 1940s.

National Archives of Japan - Digital Archive

Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era - University of British Columbia

The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II - National Security Archives

Birth of the Constitution of Japan - National Diet Library


Japanese Old Photographs in Bakumatsu-Meiji Period - Nagasaki University Library Collection

Old photos of Japan - 

Meiji at 150 - Image collection, The University of British Columbia

Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era in UBC Open Collections 

East-Asia Image Collection - Japan; Maintained by Lafayette College.

Photo Archive of Japanese Religions - Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture, Nagoya, Japan

Japanese Woodblock Print Search

Japanese Canadian Photograph Collection in UBC Open Collections