Japanese Language


Welcome to the Japanese Language Research Guide

Click on a tab below to find books, videos, articles, and websites for use in studying the Japanese language.

If you need additional help, please contact the Foreign Languages Librarian or stop by the Reference Desk. You can also get help from our online reference service: Ask A Librarian.

Everything is on the Internet, right? No.

Contrary to popular opinion, there are millions of books and articles whose content is not freely available on the open web.

As we all know the Internet contains an incredible amount of useful information. Conversely, it also has a lot of information that is not credible, reliable or well-informed. Some information on the web are blatant lies, or half-truths published in order to support a particular belief or opinion. (For more information on learning how to distinguish the good, bad and ugly on the Internet, see The CRAP Test to learn how to evaluate websites.

Using resources available through the Library will save you time and frustration, and undoubtedly will lead you to producing higher-quality work.

Types of Resources:

Reference Materials:

Use reference materials, such as encyclopedias and dictionaries to get background information and a basic understanding of your topic.

Book & Journal Articles:

Books and journal articles provide a more focused examination of the topic. Again, most books and articles found in the Library's databases are written by experts.

  1. Books & Videos
  2. Databases
  3. Websites

Finding Books

Use the COD Library's book catalog to find books, audio recordings & videos.

Search by "keyword" for broad search results; search by "subject" for more specific (and fewer) results.

Narrow your search by year and format, such as books, visual materials, music, and more, You can further refine your search results by clicking on one or more of several limits on the results page.

You'll need a current library card to check out materials.


I-Share allows you to borrow books from over 80 Illinois academic libraries. You must have a current COD library card, and create an account to request books from an I-Share library.

E-book Collections

Most books in these collections can also be located and accessed by searching in the Library's book catalog. Under "Format" select "eBook" from the dropdown menu.

  • ebrary
  • Collection contains several books on historical and modern Japan, including works on politics, society, economy and the arts. Many e-books can be viewed from your computer or downloaded to your e-book reader. You need to create an account to download e-books to your device.

  • EBSCO e-book collection
  • Find several books on Japanese business and culture . NOTE: Books can be viewed by single page on a computer, or, can be downloaded to an e-book reader. You'll be prompted to create an EBSCO account. The loan period for e-books is four hours. Books can be renewed after the initial loan period expires.

  • Humanities (ACLS) E-book Collection
  • This resource includes over 1500 full-text, cross-searchable books in the humanities selected by scholars for their continuing importance for research and teaching. This collect covers Japanese history, culture, the arts religion and customs and society. Pages from this collection can be printed and emailed.

Project Gutenberg E-books

Project Gutenberg provides access to many Japanese-related e-books on topics such as social life and customs, history, travel, religion and literature. NOTE - these books are in the public domain and are typically over one hundred years old. These books will offer historical context for Japanese-related topics. Many can be read online or downloaded to e-book readers.

Reference Works

Reference works, such as dictionaries and encyclopedias are useful for learning about background information on a topic.
Please note that print reference books may be used while in the library only. Online reference books may be accessed from any on or off-campus computer. You'll need a library card to access online books and articles from off-campus.
Click on the links below to access the online book/website or record/description of the print book.


Search the library catalog by keyword or subject term.

The Library subscribes to many databases that provide access to thousands of popular and credible, scholarly journals. Many databases provide access to full-text articles, while some provide information about the article only (citation). Request (for free!) through Interlibrary Loan copies of articles to which the Library doesn't have full-text access.

Databases are organized collections of information that you can search on a variety of fields, like title and author's name. iTunes is a database and so is Amazon. Even your contacts list in your phone is a type of mini database. The Library has databases of articles from newspapers, magazines and journals. We also have databases of streaming videos, music and e-books. The difference between our databases and iTunes or Amazon is that our stuff is free for you to use. You can browse the library's databases here: http://codlrc.org/databases


Databases - Best Bets

Evaluating Websites

Who can publish on the Internet? Anyone. Learn how to evaluate websites on the Library's guide to Evaluating Websites.

English language web resources