Lisa Sainsbury Library

About the Library

The Lisa Sainsbury Library was formally opened by the Ambassador of Japan, Mr Orita Masaki, in 2003. The facilities of the Lisa Sainsbury Library at the Norwich headquarters of the Sainsbury Institute are open to researchers in Japanese studies by appointment. The main reading room on the first floor and the storeroom on the ground floor have a wide selection of reference books and computer terminals for the convenience of library users. All materials are for use within the Library. A black and white photocopier is available within the limits of copyright law.

The Library is open from Monday to Friday, from 9.30am to 4.30pm. It is closed on Bank Holidays and during the Institute holidays at Easter and Christmas. Please email the Librarian, Akira Hirano, for all Library enquiries. Institute affiliated scholars also have full library privileges at the SOAS Library, which has a book stock of over 850,000 volumes, approximately 4,500 periodicals and an extensive collection of archives and manuscripts.

Email the Librarian

The Lisa Sainsbury Library holds books, journals, exhibition catalogues, slides, prints, maps and other materials relating to all aspects of Japanese arts and cultures. Its basic level collections include general introductory works and key reference materials in English and Japanese. Its study collections support advanced research by staff and students in Japanese applied arts and ceramics, archaeology, material culture and trade, cultural heritage and architecture, as well as East Asian cultural history, archaeology and art history. The Library also holds specific research materials required by staff and researchers affiliated to the Institute.

The collections rank among the best in Europe and they complement other existing collections in the UK. By means of an annual grant, the Sainsbury Institute supports the development of the library of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. The Japanese language art collections of University of East Anglia (UEA) are held by the Lisa Sainsbury Library. The Institute’s Librarian is Honorary Librarian of the Japanese Section, Department of Asia at the British Museum. Alongside the Institute website with its online resources, the Library constitutes a major research facility for the study of Japanese arts and cultures. The Library catalogue is fully accessible online through the Institute’s website, as is the database of high-resolution images of the Cortazzi Collection of early Japanese maps, created in conjunction with the Art Research Center at Ritsumeikan University.

Search the Lisa Sainsbury Library Catalogue

Search The Lisa Sainsbury Library Collection

Lisa Sainsbury Library catalogue

Cortazzi Map Collection



Kokka:   Volumes 1-1274 are available on the Kokka DVD-ROM held at the Library. For on-site viewing request, please contact the librarian. Printed editions of Kokka from volume 1275 to the most current edition are also available.

Carmen Blacker Collection:   The library of the late Dr Carmen Blacker is now housed in the Lisa Sainsbury Library. The publications are mostly relate to Japanese anthropology and religious studies.

Bernard Leach Collection:  Around 200 books once belonging to Bernard Leach and Janet Leach are now housed in the Lisa Sainbury Library.

External e-catalogues: Search for books

UK-based e-resources: Books

  • CiNii Union Catalogue A union catalogue of key Japanese research institutions’ libraries in the UK. Cooperative catalogue used by Japanese university libraries and national research institutions in Japan. The catalogue search language is Japanese only. CiNii lists book collection in the British Library, SOAS Library*, Bodleian Japanese Library, Cambridge University Library, British Museum Japanese Section*, Sheffield University Library, Edinburgh University Library, and Lisa Sainsbury Library. *Not all Japanese art related books in SOAS Library and the British Museum’s Japanese Section are listed. For SOAS library’s catalogue, please see below. Not all books acquired before 2000 at the British Museum’s Japanese Section are catalogued and there is currently no off-site search function available (as of April 2016)

Japan-based e-resources: Books

Worldwide e-resources: Books

PhD Theses

Journal articles

Articles in Japanese journals

National Diet Library
Articles in Japanese journals from the National Diet Library’s catalogue


Japanese art journals

Kokka articles*
*Search for articles in Kokka published in and since volume 1257.
Enter search words in the top right hand search box. Enter ‘Kokka’ to limit search results (the database contains other articles published by Asahi Shimbun).

Nihon no bijutsu
List of feature articles in Nihon no bijutsu