Don’t-Miss Database: The Japan Times Archives

Screenshot of The Japan Times Archives basic search pagePost contributed by Matthew Hayes, Librarian for Japanese Studies and Asian American Studies

The Japan Times Archives offers a searchable collection of digitized issues of Japan’s largest and longest running English-language newspaper, covering the years 1865 through the present. The database also includes access to digitized issues of several subsidiary newspapers, including The Japan Advertiser, The Japan Times & Mail, The Japan Times and Advertiser, and The Nippon Times.

Why Should You Use This Database?

For faculty and students working in English, this database offers perhaps the most comprehensive cross-section of current events in Japanese history, society, and politics, especially as they relate to the international community. The chronological coverage is also unmatched as users can explore articles from Japan’s closed-country period shortly before 1868, through wartime and postwar periods of the mid-twentieth century, and beyond to Japan’s current moment.

Cool Features

The coolest feature of this database is the ability to run full-text searches in any issue. This is made possible through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. This means that if a user is looking for articles on a very specific topic—even a single keyword—during a narrow run of issues, they can have results in a few seconds. For example, if a user wants to gather articles on the Anpo protests, a series of massive and violent demonstrations protesting the United States-Japan Security treaty, and which were most concentrated in 1960, they might search for “protest” and narrow to the mid-year period of 1960, as below:

Screenshot of search interface with “protest” used as search term, dates defined as May through June 1960, and issues set to “main.”

This search will return more than 500 results with the term “protest” either in the headline or article text. Users can then browse to find the article that suits their needs.

June 16, 1960, article covering the Anpo protests.

Database Tips

Don’t limit yourself to newspaper articles! Advertisements are also a great way to better understand the commercial and visual design histories of Japan. In addition to local products and events, many issues also advertised international products. If users are interested in how Japan participated in international commercial markets, or what types of appeals were made to local consumers, there are thousands of options here.

March 22, 1897, advertisement for Murai & Bros. tobacco products, which were manufactured in Winston, North Carolina.

January 1, 1939, advertisement for Tokyo New Grand Restaurant.

Similar Resources

A few of Duke’s other Japanese historical newspaper databases include Yomiuri Shimbun 讀賣新聞 (in Japanese), Asahi Shimbun 朝日新聞 (in Japanese), and Mainichi Shimbun 每日新聞 (in Japanese). Rubenstein Library also holds the Masaki Motoi Collection of Japanese Student Movement Materials, which contains several original issues of left-wing student newspapers from 1959 through 1977.

Questions?

Contact Matthew Hayes, Librarian for Japanese Studies and Asian American Studies.

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