Japanese Studies Research Guide: Find Biographical Information

Reference and research resources in Japanese

Nichigai WhoPlus (Online Resource for Columbia Users)

WhoPlus:  http://www.columbia.edu/cgi-bin/cul/resolve?AVF0649    Quick Guide in Japanese is available here.

WhoPlus consists of WHO database and 人物レファレンス事典.

WHO includes over 300,000 prominent historical and contemporary figures in various areas. Selection criteria is based on the inclusion in biographical reference sources as well as appearance in mass media.

人物レファレンス事典 section includes the reference sources listed here. Over 370,000 Japanese and 270,000 non-Japanese are included from those sources in WhoPlus.

<Information about reference sources included 人物レファレンス事典 section (on Japanese figures only)>

For the most up-to-date information on the WhoPlus contents, check this page.

Updated: 2021/01/26

JapanKnowledge (Online Resource for Columbia Users)

JapanKnowledge: http://www.columbia.edu/cgi-bin/cul/resolve?clio5998333 

JapanKnowledge includes section on 人名・文化・宗教/Biography, Culture, and Religion


Sample entries

Sample entries

Sample entries

JapanKnowledge also includes 270 volumes of 人物叢書/Jinbutsu Sosho (Japanese Biography Series)  (日本歴史学会責任編集. 吉川弘文館刊行). Print edition of the new edition (新装版) of the series were published between July 1985 - January 2014.

<Biographees by period>:

Updated: 2021/01/26

Subject Headings

This box is under construction and will be moved to more appropriate section later.

Useful to find primary sources in CLIO and other library Discovery Tools:

  • Biography
  • Correspondence 
  • Diaries
  • Facsimiles
  • Interviews
  • Manuscripts
  • Personal narratives
  • Pictorial works
  • Sources
  • Speeches


Also keywords like, Fukkoku*, "Shiryo shusei," etc. can be useful to find Japanese language resources.

National Diet Library Resources

The National Diet Library provides information and tools to assist your biographical research.

Updated: 09/25/2023


Take advantage of HathiTrust's full-text search to look up biographical information in print reference sources. Don't forget to check the resources listed under All Items. We may be able to place a Scan request for the needed chapter or section or use BorrowDirect to get the item.

Updated: 2021/01/26

Yomidasu Rekishikan (Online Resource for Columbia Users)

ヨミダス歴史館/Yomidasu Rekishikanhttp://www.columbia.edu/cgi-bin/cul/resolve?clio7991730

If you are searching CLIO to access this database, use "Yomidasu," not "Yomidas."

Yomidasu includes 現代人名録/Contemporary Who's Who which contains profiles of 26,000 well-known individuals in Japan as well as overseas. 

At the bottom of personal details display, Contemporary Who's Who includes icons to search newspaper sections for the individual.


Updated: 2021/01/26

Kikuzō II bijuaru for libraries (Online Resource for Columbia Users)

朝日新聞クロスサーチ/Asahi shinbun kurosu sāchihttp://www.columbia.edu/cgi-bin/cul/resolve?clio16657276

Asahi shinbun kurosu sāchi includes 人物/Who's Who section.

According to its help file, it offers the brief biographical information on approximately 35,000 individuals in the following groups.

1.Scholars, economists, cultural figures, mass communications, entertainment industry, and sports figures.


3.Government Officials (central government ministries and agencies、prefectural and city governments)


Search Tip: Uncheck 故人を除く/Exclude the deceased box.

Updated: 2022/08/01