C.V. Starr East Asian Library

Hisayuki Ishimatsu
Head of the Japanese Division

Each year, the Center for Japanese Studies commits a significant portion of its budget to augment University support for the Japanese collections of the East Asian Library at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to funds for library acquisitions, the Center for Japanese Studies provides small travel grants to scholars who wish to consult EAL holdings.

With a collection of almost 290,000 volumes in Japanese, and 1,857 current serials in Japanese, EAL has, by far, the largest holdings on Japan among university libraries outside Japan. EAL is one of only two U.S. depositories designated by the Japanese government for its official documents.

The rare holdings of the C.V. Starr East Asian Library include:

  • Edo Period Printed Books (4,776 titles, approximately 18,850 volumes), most in woodblock editions. We believe this to be the largest collection of Edo editions outside Japan.
  • Manuscripts (2,744 titles in 7,486 volumes), primarily from the Edo period. These titles, originally in the Mitsui and Murakami Libraries, form a separate collection.
  • Early Maps (666 titles in 726 sheets from the Edo Period, 1,325 titles in 1,677 sheets from the Meiji and Taisho periods), from Mitsui Takakata's collection. Several handscrolls and three pairs of screens are included in this largest collection of early Japanese maps outside Japan. A selection of this map collection has been digitized, and is available online:
  • Murakami Library (approximately 10,500 volumes), of first or early editions of Meiji authors. The collection was formed by Murakami Hamakichi.
  • Ho-Chiang Collection of Manuscript and Printed Buddhist Works (110 editions, including 54 Japanese items). The collection includes examples of thirteenth-century printing, and manuscripts from as early as the eighth century.
  • Other Rare Books and Materials, including a printed mantra from the eighth century, and a complete edition in 600 volumes of the Daihannya haramita kyo (Mahaprajnaparamita sutra), printed in 1384.