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Searching for Ukiyo-e Illustrations

We introduce below tools to search for ukiyo-e illustrations by artist and other criteria.

The call number of the National Diet Library is in brackets 【 】 following the bibliographic information. For the materials accessible on the open shelves in each specialized materials room, the following code addresses are fixed after the call number.

 Humanities: Humanities Room, Tokyo Main Library
 Kansai: General Collections Room, Kansai-kan
 Items not especially described are all in the closed stacks of the Tokyo Main Library.

Contents

1. Searching by Author
2. Searching by Title
3. Searching by Theme
4. Internet Image Databases
5. About the Nishiki-e Collections of the National Diet Library

 

1. Searching by Author

Illustration indexes of various complete art collections are as follows. One can research things such as in what complete works collection the illustration has been collected, whether the illustration is in black and white or color, etc.

The search method for works of individual painters is as follows:

 

2. Searching by Title

Illustration indexes of various complete art collections are as follows. One can research things such as in what complete works collection the illustration has been collected, whether the illustration is in black and white or color, etc.

 

3. Searching by Theme

For nishiki-e with Edo period manners and customs as the theme, please refer to the search guide, "Illustrations that Show the Everyday Life of the Common People in the Edo Period".

The following are reference books with indexes searching by theme.

  • Genshoku ukiyoe dai hyakka jiten (Encyclopedia of Full-color Ukiyo-e)国立国会図書館の所蔵情報へのリンク 11 Vols. (Taishukan-Shoten 1980-82 【YP14-684】 Humanities - Kansai)
    Volume 4, "Depicted Subjects", includes commentaries on themes in the fields of setsuwa (tales), densetsu (legends), and drama, as well as 431 illustrations by theme and one can search illustrations by proper name with the index at the back of the book.
    Volume 5, "Customs", assembles 552 illustrations depicting customs pertaining to the four seasons, events, daily life, and pastimes, and has an "Item Index by Classification" at the back of the book.
    The back of Volume 11 has a general index for illustrations anthologized in all of the volumes. In addition to the items detailed in the subject index, one can look up illustrations from fields such as fine art drawings, portraits of kabuki actors, etc.

The method for searching art anthologies (exhibition catalogs, etc.) by theme is as follows:

 

4. Internet Image Databases

The following are typical websites:

 

5. About the Nishiki-e Collections of the National Diet Library

 As most of the nishiki-e of the National Diet Library have been inherited from the Imperial Library of Japan, they are housed in the Tokyo Main Library Rare Books and Old Materials Room. In addition, nishiki-e are included in a portion of the Eiryo Ashihara Collection, superintended by the Tokyo Main Library Humanities Room.
 These nishiki-e have already been digitized and these digital images can be seen on screen via the National Diet Library Digital Collections (Rare Books and Old Materials).

 

Related "Search Guides"

  • 国立国会図書館
  • NDL-OPAC 国立国会図書館蔵書検索・申込システム
  • 国立国会図書館サーチ
  • 国立国会図書館デジタルコレクション
  • ひなぎく
  • レファレンス協同データベース
  • 本の万華鏡