Documentation:Bibliography of Source Materials in Japanese Studies/Reference works/Geographical information

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Basic Information

The page has been designed as general starting point for references and source materials on or related to Japanese geography. All sources are in some way available at or through the University of British Columbia library and are easily accessible in print or online form. All of the sources listed bellow are available in English, Japanese or sometimes both.

If a material you wish to find is unavailable for whatever reason at the UBC library please contact the librarian via email listed or chat box on the UBC library website here:

Here is a quick link to the UBC library website:

Indexes and Databases

The UBC library website lists these indexes and databases available via UBC login that have non-specialized material pertaining to Japan:

Geographical References

Bellow is listed references available via the UBC Library directly, through various UBC access networks, and special collections. Sources listed are either available in English or Japanese.

UBC library call numbers are all up to date and listed directly under the source to which they correspond, if for what ever reason that number does not work search directly on the library home page by using the Romanized title or English title available.

UBC Library Source Materials

Note: Some of these texts are only available via hard copy.

Gendai Nihon chimei yomikata daijiten 現代日本地名よみかた大辞典. Tokyo: Nichigai Asoshiētsu: Hatsubaimoto Kinokuniya Shoten, 1985. 1985. Call Number: DS805 .G39 1985

  • This is a multi-volume dictionary of official pronunciations and locations of all present cites, towns, villages, and ward names in Japan. All names are listed by stroke order and number. These is a separate volume that lists all place names by on'yomi (音読み) or Chinese derived reading of the first two characters.

Ishida, Ryujiro. Atlas of Japan: Physical, Economic, and Social. Kokusai Kyōiku Jōhō Sentā, Tokyo: International Society for Educational Information, 1974. Call Number: G2355 .A859 1974

  • Great for information on Japan as of 1970's. This atlas has maps of really excellent quality in terms of colour, accurate reproduction, and cartography. Contains large scale inserts as well for refence as well as statistical data and graphs. Includes population density, economic flow patterns etc. Neatly organized in topical groupings.

Shinpan Nihon bunken chizu chimei sōran 新版日本分県地図地名総覧. Tokyo: Jinbunsha, 2005. Call number: G2355 .S554 2005

  • Most recently updated version available at UBC is the 2005 set of comprehensive maps of present-day (2005) Japan. Includes maps depicting the prefectures, towns, cities, and roads. Also has a list of administrative divisions, government offices, and major institutions. Population charts and a national index included. Organized by prefecture.

Sōga Tetsuo相賀徹夫, ed. Nihon rettō daichizukan: tekuno atorasu 日本列島大地図館: テクノアトラス. Tokyo: Shōgakkan, 1990. Call Number: G2355 .N585 1990

  • Comprehensive atlas of Japan that includes regional, prefectural, and city maps including information on railways, parks, shrines, temples, important landmarks, museums and more. Also contains three-dimensional topography, full color sections below surface level "(tectonic plates etc.), statistical maps containing habits, consumption, population, etc. of Japan's residents. Excellent extensive and informative atlas even if it is thirty years old.

Teikoku, Shoin. Teikokuʼs Complete Atlas of Japan. Ed. Editorial Department of Teikoku-Shoin Co., Ltd., and Yoshio Moriya, 13th ed., Tokyo: Teikoku-Shoin Co., 2000. Call number: G2355 .T45 2000

  • Complete atlas of Japan available (only) in English, includes basic topography of Japan. Very handy but a little outdated as newest version is 2000.

Umeda, Atsushi. Japan atlas: a bilingual guide Nihon nichi-ei heiki atorasu. Ed. Kōdansha Intānashonaru Kabushiki Kaisha, 3rd ed., Tokyo; New York: Kodansha International, 2010. Call Number: G2355 .U6 2010

  • Most updated version UBC offers is 2010. A more recent comprehensive atlas of Japan available with both Japanese and English place names. Claims to use the latest satellite technology to create precise and detailed maps. The volume includes a total of sixty-eight maps that reflect Japan's infrastructure as of 2010 (roads, transit systems, buildings, etc.). Some maps feature things such as tourist spots, airline routes, natural parks, World Heritage sites, historic spots etc.

Umesao Tadao梅棹忠夫 Nihon daichizuchō 日本大地図. Tokyo: Heibonsha Chizu Shuppan Kabushiki Kaisha, 2001. Call Number: G2355 .N563 2001

  • Standard atlas of Japan, is quite basic but has a complete collection of regional, prefectural, and city maps including information on railways, parks, shrines and temples. Excellent for simple searches and basic information on Japan.
Bibliography of
Source Materials in
Japanese Studies
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About this Bibliography
This open bibliography will provide an overview of foundational sources and tools in Japanese studies. It is currently being developed by students in ASIA 521A.
Table of Contents
  • Please visit Documentation:JB for the workspace for developing this bibliography.
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JapanKnowledge Lib

Nihon rekishi chimei taikei 日本歴史地名大系. Heibonsha Ltd., 51 vols, 1979 - 2004. English title: Encyclopedia of Japanese Historical Place Names

  • This encyclopedia offers, almost solely, historical details on places, with some information pertaining to the modern period. Has a reference index which also includes places that do not have individual entries within the articles. Easy to use and handy.

Saitō Chōshū illustrated by Hasegawa Settan. Edo Meisho zue 江戸名所図会. Chikumashobo Ltd., 20 vols 1996-1997. English title: Famous Places in Edo

  • Beautiful prints and topographic representation of Edo Japan. Begins with a description of the formation and founding of Edo and moves on to descriptions of places within it block by block and then by town. Often includes history of the places pictured and their names and quotes by famous individuals.

Shinpan Kadokawa nihon chimei daijiten 新版角川日本地名大辞典. Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 51 vols, 1978 -1990. (only 49 vols available) English title: The Kadokawa Great Dictionary of Japanese Place Names

  • Lists place names in gojūon order (first half of volume), contains detailed descriptions of places sectioned by historical period. The chishihen (second half of volume) lists regions and places by administrative unit and outlines geography, history, and administration. The cities and towns are usually given sections of their own. Lacks a comprehensive index.

Special Texts

UBC Library Rare Books and Special Collections offers and open collection of "Japanese Maps of The Tokugawa Period."

Website can be accessed here:

Here is a brief description from their website about the collection:

"UBC Library's Rare Books and Special Collections holds one of the world's largest collections of maps and guidebooks of the Japanese Tokugawa period, ca. 1600-1868. The collection varies in both format and size: items range from small single-sheet maps to more than thirty square feet, and also include a ceramic plate, a woodblock, and maps in scroll format."

About the Maps:

"Most of the items in the collection are rare, and some are unique. The collection varies in both format and size, ranging from very small single-sheets maps to a map that when folded out, covers over thirty square feet in area. In addition, there is a ceramic plate and a woodblock, as well as 15 maps in scroll format. A number of the maps are folded accordion-style in covers, or bound in book format. Further, other maps are included in atlases, accounts of travel and geographies. The collection also includes the three volume work Amerika Shinwa."

More information can be found on their website and accessed through a UBC library account