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Created by Professors Daniel Botsman and Rustin Gates (Bradley University), this bibliography contains dozens of Western accounts of travel to Japan, beginning in the 16th century. The sources are grouped chronologically, and are linked to their respective Orbis records.
A collection of diaries, journals and letters of Western visitors and residents in Japan. The collection includes accounts of daily life in Japan, material about missionary activities, and the writings of diplomats and long-term residents of Japan discussing the impact of Westerners on Japanese society, as well as the history of the foreign communities in Japan.
Online guide available through http://www.ampltd.co.uk/digital_guides/japan_through_western_eyes_part_1/Contents.aspx
Include correspondence and other papers relating to Samuel Wells Williams' work as interpreter on Matthew C. Perry's expedition to Japan (1853-54), with long descriptions of his activities and his impressions of Japan and Japanese society.
The Bakumatsu period refers to the last decade and a half of Tokugawa rule, and is generally bookmarked by Commodore Perry's 1853 visit to Japan and the Meiji Restoration of 1868. There is consequently a vast explosion of English-language material on Japan as the official policy of isolation collapsed.
To search for works on the Bakumatsu period in English, use an Orbis keyword search with English set as a limit. (The 'Set Limits' tab is located to the lower right-hand side of the search box.) Try 'Japan history Tokugawa,' or 'Japan history' and relevant dates: 1853, for instance. Another good keyword search: 'Japan history restoration.' For more specific subject headings, see Reiko Yoshimura's website.
See Travel Accounts for suggestions and examples. Also refer to Professor Botsman's bibliography.
This two-volume work includes translations of a variety of Japanese texts from the earliest Chinese records of Japan until the present. The two volumes are separated by the year 1600. The work is structured thematically, presenting translated excerpts of various texts with brief commentary and contextual information. Consequently this volume is useful both for primary source material, and also as a bibliographic aid to locate fuller versions of many of the works excerpted
Monumenta Nipponica, one of the oldest English-language journals of Japan studies, publishes numerous translations of a variety of historical, literary and other sources. This index lists them alphabetically by author. All issues of MN are accessible online, either through the MN website or on JStor. Hard copies are located in the SML Stacks with the most recent issues in the East Asia Library.
Complied newspaper articles on Japan mainly in English, but also in German, French and Russian.
Databases and Reference Works
The Historiographical Institute at the University of Tokyo offers a wealth of online resources: most of their databases are in Japanese, but the On-line Glossary of Japanese Historical Terms (located under 'Tools') allows you to search for terms in English, French, German and Japanese (romaji, hiragana, and/or kanji). The database returns works (in all these languages) that contain the relevant term, and also serves as a useful tool for translation. To search using a non-Japanese term, enter the term (or terms) and click the 全文検索 button; to search using a romanized term, click the 語彙検索 button.