eISSN 2217-5563 ISSN (Print) 2217-5555

Ћирилица Latinica English

Danijela Vasić
Univerzitet u Beogradu
Filološki fakultet – Katedra za orijentalistiku, Beograd

doi: 10.19090/cit.2022.40.2-15
No. 40 (May 2022), p. 2-15

National Diet Library in Japan


This paper analyzes the development of libraries in Japan, resulting in the establishment of the National Diet Library. The history of libraries is closely connected with the history of printing, which dates back to the 8th century in that country. The oldest libraries in Japan were archives of official documents or private collections of nobles and aristocrats. Later on, as Buddhist monks dealt with printing technology, libraries appeared near temples. In the Middle Ages, special attention was paid to the literacy of the nation, which directly encouraged the culture of reading. However, the beginning of modern librarianship in Japan is linked to the end of the 19th century and the increasingly rapid modernization of the country in all spheres of society. The first modern library − the Book Institute (Shojaku-kan, 1872), later known as the Imperial Library, is one of three pillars on which the present National Diet Library in Japan was formed in 1948. Today, the NDL consists of two main facilities: the Main Building in Tokyo and the Kansai-kan in Kyoto, as well as the following branches: the International Library of Children’s Literature, the Oriental Library, and 27 other libraries. NDL is the only library in Japan, which has the characteristics of a national library: it is founded by the government; in terms of capacity it is larger than other libraries in the country; it supports other libraries with training programs, etc.; it is the depository library and as such it is looking for mandatory copies, because its duty is to collect and preserve the literary heritage of the nation and to preserve rare, valuable and significant works, etc. In addition, the Japanese National Parliamentary Library manages to cope with the increasingly stressed demands of modern society, focused on information technologies. This includes, above all, the growing need for digitalization, as well as, for the remote use of all types of resources.


Japan, National library, National Diet Library in Japan, Imperial Library, Kansai-kan, International Library of Children’s Literature, Toyo bunko, NDL Digital Collections, Hyakumanto dharani

Submitted: 14th February 2022
Correction to the manuscript: 2nd April 2022
Accepted for publication: 10th April 2022

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National Diet Library in Japan by Danijela Vasić is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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