East Asian Studies

Explore library resources for East Asia related research.

Primary Sources in English - China Studies

[For digital primary sources in Chinese, see East Asian Sources]

  • Asia and the West: Diplomacy and Cultural Exchange (in Nineteenth Century Collections Online)
    Includes British Foreign Office, US Consular and diplomatic records, missionary and social-economic journals in relation to China, Japan, and other areas of Asia during the nineteenth century.
  • China, America and the Pacific: Trade & Cultural Exchange
    Includes an extensive range of archival material connected to the trading and cultural relationships that emerged between China, America and the Pacific region between the 18th and early 20th centuries. Manuscript sources, rare printed texts, visual images, objects and maps document this fascinating history.
  • China: Culture and Society 1750-1929
    Rare pamphlets from the Charles W. Wason Collection on East Asia, at Cornell University Library; one of the oldest and most distinctive collections of its kind, and a very rich source for research on China
  • China: Trade, Politics, and Culture 1793-1980
    Includes a wide range of manuscripts from government reports related to Chinese Maritime Custom Service to personal accounts of the Boxer War. Also includes missionary journals such as The Chinese Recorder, Light and Life Magazine, and The Land of Sinim: the North China Mission Quarterly Paper.
  • Chinese Students Monthly Online
    The Chinese Students’ Monthly is the first magazine published by Chinese students in the United States from 1906-1931. This publication became the official organ of the enlarged Chinese student organization: The Chinese Students’ Alliance in the US. 
  • Church Missionary Society Periodicals
    Documenting missionary work from the 19th to the 21st century, the periodicals include news, journals and reports offering a unique perspective on global history and cultural encounter, including coverage of missionary work in China and other Asian areas.
  • Foreign Office Files for China, 1919-1980
    • 1919-1929: Kuomintang, CCP and the Third International
    • 1930-1937: The Long March, civil war in China and the Manchurian Crisis
    • 1938-1948: Open Door, Japanese war and the seeds of communist victory
    • 1949-1956: The Communist revolution
    • 1957-1966: The Great Leap Forward
    • 1967-1980: The Cultural Revolution
  • Medieval Travel Writing
    Includes manuscripts of some of the most important works of European travel writing from the later medieval period. The chief focus is on journeys to central Asia and the Far East, including accounts of travel to Mongolia, Persia, India, China and South-East Asia.
  • Missionary, Sinology and Literary Periodicals 1817-1949
    Includes a collection of 17 English-language periodicals published in or about China during a period of over 130 years, extending from 1817 until the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. This resource features a significant collection of articles and photos on the founding and development of Christian higher education in China, including the establishment and growth into prominence of such institutions as Yenching University, the University of Nanking, Ginling College, Shandong Christian University, Soochow University, St. John’s University, Shanghai Baptist College, and the Canton Christian College.
  • Nixon Years 1969-1974
    This collection provides complete FCO 7 and FCO 82 files for the entire period of Richard Nixon’s presidency. Top-level Anglo-American discussions and briefing papers dominate these papers. There is also a wealth of material on social conditions, domestic reforms, trade, culture and the environment.
  • Policing the Shanghai International Settlement, 1894-1945
  • These files represent a large portion of the archives of the British-run municipal police force based in Shanghai's former international settlement. This self-governing area was administered not by the Chinese but by the international group of merchants and bankers who paid the taxes and controlled the municipal council.  The time period covered by these files extends from 1894 to 1945, and the most extensive coverage is provided by the special branch dossier files, which date from 1929-1945.
  •  Political Relations and Conflicts between Republic China and Imperial Japan 1930-1939: Records of the US State Department
    The records in this collection relate to political relations between China and Japan for the period 1930 -1939. The records are mostly instructions to and dispatches from diplomatic and consular officials; the despatches are often accompanied by enclosures. Also included in these records are notes between the Department of State and foreign diplomatic representatives in the United States, memorandums prepared by officials of the Department.
  • Records of Maritime Customs Service of China 1854-1949
    An excellent primary source collection for the study of China and its relations with the West in the late Qing and Republican periods. The records included in this collection - official correspondence, despatches, reports, memoranda, and private and confidential letters - constitute invaluable and often unique evidence of Chinese life, the economy and politics through the Taiping Rebellion, the Boxer Rebellion, the Revolution of 1911, the May 30 Movement, the two Sino-Japanese Wars, and the Chinese Civil War.
  • Shanghai Archives 1910s -1950s (open access)
    Includes various primary sources from Shanghai Municipal government and more, courtesy of The Asian Digital Library. See the blog regarding details of the archives. 
  • Travel Writing, Spectacle, and World History
    This resource brings together hundreds of accounts by women of their travels across the globe from the early 19th century to the late 20th century. Includes travel accounts to China and other Asian areas.

 News: Historical and Current

Statistics and Data

Government Reports

Primary Sources in English -- Japan Studies

[For primary sources in Japanese, see East Asian Sources.]

  • Asia and the West: Diplomacy and Cultural Exchange (in Nineteenth Century Collections Online)
    Includes British Foreign Office, US Consular and diplomatic records, missionary and social-economic journals in relation to China, Japan, and other areas of Asia during the nineteenth century.
  • Church Missionary Society Periodicals
    Documenting missionary work from the 19th to the 21st century, the periodicals include news, journals and reports offering a unique perspective on global history and cultural encounter, including coverage of missionary work in China and other Asian areas.
  • Foreign Office Files for Japan, 1919-1952
    Incorporating the Taishō to the Shōwa periods, these papers throw light on Anglo-Japanese ties in a time of shifting alliances. Documenting Japan’s journey to modernity, the files discuss a period in which the country took on an increasingly bold imperialist agenda. Currently covering 1931-1945.
    • Japanese Imperialism and the War in the Pacific, 1931-1945
    • Occupation of Japan, 1946-1952
    • Japan and Great Power Status, 1919-1930
  • Japan at War and Peace, 1930-1949: US State Department Records On the Internal Affairs of Japan
    This collection of U.S. State Department Central Classified Files relating to internal and foreign affairs contain a wide range of materials from U.S.  diplomats, including: special reports on political and military affairs. studies and statistics on socioeconomic matters, interviews and minutes of meetings with foreign government officials, court proceedings and other legal documents, full texts of important letters, instructions and cables sent and received by U.S. diplomatic personnel, voluminous reports and translations from foreign journals and newspapers, countless translations of high-level foreign government documents including speeches, memoranda, official reports and transcripts of political meetings and assemblies.
  • Japan Times Digital Archives 1897-2015 (JHU User Only)
    The oldest English-language newspaper in Japan by Japanese publishers, Japan Times maintained editorial independence for much of its history, though it was used by the government as a propaganda tool for Imperial Japan during World War II. The digital archive allows you to search the full text of all issues of The Japan Times published between March 1897 and 2014.
  • Meiji Japan
    The Edward Sylvester Morse papers (ca. 1858-1925, 40 cubic feet), document the numerous and valuable contributions made by Morse to the areas of malacology, zoology, ethnology, archaeology and art history, including diaries, scrapbooks, correspondence, research files, drawings, manuscripts, publications and teaching materials. 
  • Medieval Travel Writing
    Includes manuscripts of some of the most important works of European travel writing from the later medieval period. The chief focus is on journeys to central Asia and the Far East, including accounts of travel to Mongolia, Persia, India, China and South-East Asia.
  • Political Relations and Conflicts between Republic China and Imperial Japan 1930-1939: Records of the US State Department
    The records in this collection relate to political relations between China and Japan for the period 1930 -1939. The records are mostly instructions to and dispatches from diplomatic and consular officials; also included are notes between the Department of State and foreign diplomatic representatives in the United States, memorandums prepared by officials of the Department. There are records on: the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, beginning with the Mukden incident, in 1931; military action at Shanghai in 1932; further Japanese political and economic penetration into China, 1935-1936; and the course of the undeclared war between Japan and China, 1937-1939.
  • The Oriental Economist 
    Includes full text archive of the English language magazine in Japan covering the years from 1934 to 1985.
  • Travel Writing, Spectacle, and World History
    This resource brings together hundreds of accounts by women of their travels across the globe from the early 19th century to the late 20th century, including travel accounts to China and other Asian areas.