Area Studies: Japan

Research Source

A wide range of sources - by writers, diplomats, tourists, businessmen, missionaries and others - documenting the political, cultural and social history of Japan from 1400 to the 20th century.

Highlights include:

  • Illuminated medieval manuscripts relating to Japan, including an account by Marco Polo
  • Log book of William Adams (1564-1620), alias Miura Anjin, the first Englishman known to have visited Japan
  • The journals of US Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry and officers, relating to the momentous voyages of 1853-54 and the 'opening up' of Japan
  • Letters of Sir Harry Parkes, diplomat and British Minister to Japan between 1865 and 1883
  • Journals of William Elliot Griffis (1843-1928), American orientalist, author and education reformer in Japan

What collections are included in this module?

  • Japan Through Western Eyes: Manuscript records of traders, travellers, missionaries and diplomats, 1853-1941
  • East Meets West: Parts One to Three: Original records of Western traders, travellers, missionaries and diplomats to 1952
  • Asian Journals: The Anglo-Japanese Gazette, 1902-1909
  • Asian Journals: The Eastern World: ‘A Weekly Journal for Law, Commerce, Politics, Literature and Useful Information’, 1899-1908

Key Data


  • 2018

Period Covered

  • 1400-1942


  • Western interactions with Japan from medieval times to present day
  • The Christian Century in Japan, 1549-1650
  • Japanese culture and customs
  • Diplomacy and global politics
  • Perry Expeditions
  • Education
  • Missionaries and religion
  • Trade and commerce

Material Types

  • Personal papers
  • Correspondence
  • Journals, travel writing and diaries
  • Logbooks
  • Photographs
  • Ephemera
  • Artefacts
  • Periodicals

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