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Japanese newspapers: historical sources

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Listed below is an overview of reproductions of the three major Japanese daily newspapers, the Yomiuri shimbun, the Asahi shimbun, and the Mainichi shimbun.

These historical newspapers are available in three major forms, as CD-ROMs, as microfilm, and as shukusatsuban (縮刷版, literally, "reduced-sized print editions"), which is a technology popularized by Asahi shimbun in the 1930s as a way to compress and archive newspapers by reducing the size of the print to fit multiple pages of a daily newspaper onto one page, thus making newspapers easy to store in libraries and archives. "Shukusatsuban" are usually organized and released by month.

These resources are available at many leading research universities throughout the world (usually universities with reputable Japanese studies programs). One will need to check an individual library's collection for their availability. Eureka [1] and/or WorldCat [2] are good starting points (password required).

Yomiuri shimbun[edit | edit source]

In 1999, the Yomiuri shimbun released a CD-ROM titled "The Yomiuri shimbun in the Meiji Era," which provides a searchable index of news articles and images from the period. Subsequent CD-ROMs, "The Taisho Era," "The prewar Showa Era I" and "The prewar Showa era II," were completed eight years after the project was first conceived. "Postwar Recovery," the first part of a postwar Showa Era series that includes newspaper stories and images until 1960, is forthcoming. Issues of Yomiuri shimbun printed since 1998 are also available as an online resource through Lexis-Nexis Academic.

Asahi shimbun[edit | edit source]

The Asahi shimbun has a CD-ROM database consisting of an index of headlines and sub-headlines from the years 1945-1999. A much more expensive full-text searchable database is available only at the Harvard-Yenching Library at Harvard University, which notably includes advertisements in its index. Researchers using other university libraries would probably have to first use the CD-ROM index and then look into the microfilm or shukusatsuban versions. Microfilm versions are available from 1888; shukusatsuban versions are available from 1931. Issues of the Asahi shimbun printed since August, 1984 are available through Lexis-Nexis Academic.

Mainichi shimbun[edit | edit source]

Microfilm versions of the Mainichi Shimbun are available for the years 1984-2005, and shukusatsuban are available from 1950-1983. Issues of the Mainichi shimbun printed since March 27, 1998 are available through Factiva.

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