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Japan Studies Collection: Basic Information

The guide provides resources to assist your research on Japan.

Style Guides/Tools

Romanization

Sometimes searching Japanese language materials is tricky. Let's familialize yourself before you begin! Here is a how-to guide on searching in Voyager for Japanese language materials: Search Guide for Japanese

Got interested in Japanese Romanization? Read on the History and Insights of Japanese Romanization.

For more information on Japanese Romanization:

Classifications

Classifications in North America

When looking for Japanese novels in the Library, many books will have call numbers starting with PL8xx. What are these numbers? Libraries in Noth America use the Library of Congress Classification scheme to correlate similar subjects together. As you see in the LC Classification Outline, "P" represents language and literature, "PL" represents languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania, and "PL501-889" represents Japanese language and literature. Murakami Haruki's Kafuka on the Shore, for example, has a call number PL856.xxx

Classifications in Japan

Similarily, libraries and publishers in Japan use their unique scheme called Nippon Decimal Classification (NDC 日本十進分類法). Japanese novels are classified as the number "913" in Japan.

The National Diet Library uses its own classification scheme called "National Diet Library Classification (NDLC 国立国会図書館分類表). Japanese literary works, for example, are classified as "KH" such as "KH384" for Murakami Haruki's Umibe no Kafuka (村上春樹「海辺のカフカ」).

Word Division

The current practice of how to divide Japanese words is described in Library of Congress Japanese Romanization Table. However, the rules have been revised many times in the past and unfortunately many historical online records are still implemented with the old rules.

For example, you will see many forms listed below:

  • 大辞典 "daijiten," "dai jiten," or "dai-jiten"
  • 日本史  "nihonshi" or "nihon shi"
  • 会社史  "kaishashi" or "kaisha shi"
  • 大人名辞典  "daijinmei jiten" or "dai jinmei jiten"

When you search, try every form.