|Links for Online Databases and Virtual Exhibitions of Nishiki-e
Many libraries and museums in Japan and around the world hold collections of nishiki-e depicting industrial scenes, some of which are available online through digital databases or virtual exhibitions. We have gathered a list of links of these databases, exhibitions, and other information on nishiki-e of industrial scenes as well as Japanese woodblock prints in general, old photographs, and other related or useful topics. All links are to English-language pages unless marked otherwise.
The links have been divided by holding institution and listed alphabetically within each category. We do our best to make sure our links are up to date but since they are external we cannot guarantee they have not moved or disappeared. If you notice a dead link or have any suggestions for other links that should be included, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Last updated on November 7, 2012
“Picture for Children Depicting Occupations Concerned with
Clothing, Food, and Housing” 1873
(From the collections of the Shibusawa Memorial Museum)
National Diet Library – Rare Books Image Database (Japanese only)
This database allows users to search part of the rare book collection of the National Diet Library. Records include both images and bibliographical information. The National Diet Library also provides useful information and links on the nishiki-e page (Japanese only) in their topic-based research tips section.
Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library – Osaka as Seen in Nishiki-e (Japanese only)
This database includes images and descriptions of roughly 250 late Edo and Meiji period nishiki-e as well as other prints depicting the city of Osaka from the collections of the Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library.
Shizuoka Prefectural Central Library – Ukiyo-e Electronic Library (Japanese only)
The Electronic Library contains a searchable database of woodblock prints from the Uemura Ukiyo-e Collection and other collections held by the Shizuoka Prefectural Central Library. The database is in Japanese only, but an English-language top page is available.
Tokyo Metropolitan Library – Image Database of the Special Collection (Japanese only)
This database allows users to search for and view images from the collections of the Special Collections Room (Japanese only) of the Tokyo Metropolitan Library.
Keio University Library – HUMI Project Treasures, Japanese Woodblock Prints (Japanese only)
The Japanese Woodblock Print Database of the HUMI Project at the Keio University Library is currently only available in Japanese but other databases can be searched in English. The George S. Bonn Collection of Meiji period nishiki-e (Japanese only) includes a large number of nishiki-e of industrial scenes.
Nagasaki University Library – Metadata Database of Japanese Old Photographs in Bakumatsu-Meiji Period
The Metadata Database includes approximately 7000 photographs from the late Edo and Meiji periods in the collection of the Nagasaki University Library. The database allows for searches by photographer, category, location, and keyword. Records include information in Japanese and English. The collection also includes photographs from the same time period taken in Canada, mainland China, Macau, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand.
Ritsumeikan University – Collections of the Art Research Center
The searchable collections database of the Art Research Center at Ritsumeikan University comprises 5,011 images (as of August 2010) including woodblock prints from the Center’s collections and others in private collections. The Center’s Ukiyo-e Related Links Database (Japanese only) includes over 270 websites from Japan and abroad. The links database can be searched by website name and institution name as well as by free-keyword search.
Tokyo Gakugei University – Sugoroku Collection (Japanese only)
145 items (as of September 6, 2010) from the Tokyo Gakugei University Library illustrated sugoroku game collection have been made available online.
University of Tsukuba Library – Educational Colored Woodblock Prints
The University of Tsukuba Library collection of ‘Educational Colored woodblock prints’ are listed by subject with titles in English. The collection includes multiple copies of many of the prints, which can be viewed online and compared with each other.
Waseda University Library – Kotenseki sogo Database of Japanese and Chinese Classics (Japanese only)
Images of the contents as well as bibliographic information on old books in the collections of the Waseda University Library are available through this searchable database. The Bakumatsu-Meiji Media Exhibit collection (Japanese only) includes detailed explanations of newspapers, nishiki-e, and hikifuda (fliers) from the late-Edo and Meiji periods.
Library of Congress, United States of America – Fine Prints: Japanese, pre-1915
The more than 2500 Japanese prints and paintings from the 17th to 19th centuries held in the collections of the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress can be searched and viewed online. Nichibunken (the International Research Center for Japanese Studies) provided funding for part of the digitization process and hosts a Japanese version of the database (top pages in English and Japanese, search feature in Japanese only).
The Library of Congress website also includes the Floating World of Ukiyo-e Exhibition with images of woodblock prints accompanied by interpretive explanations. The section on “Japan and the West: Artistic Cross-Fertilization” includes woodblock prints and other types of documents depicting late Edo and early Meiji interactions between Japan and the rest of the world.
Gas Museum – World of Meiji Nishiki-e Database (Japanese only)
The Meiji period nishiki-e collections of the Gas Museum are available in a digital database. Over 200 prints are listed with basic information and can be searched by artist, theme, or general keyword.
Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History – Yokohama Ukiyo-e (Japanese only)
The Digital Museum (Japanese only) of the Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History (Japanese only) includes images, prints, and other documents in the collections of the museum. Of particular interest in the ukiyo-e section are the Yokohama Ukiyo-e with lists of woodblock prints of foreigners (Japanese only) and of the city of Yokohama (Japanese only).
Museum of Fiber Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
In addition to a virtual tour of the museum, the website also has lists of their ukiyo-e holdings. Title, author, and date of production are provided in English along with images for approximately 600 items.
Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University – Ukiyoe Viewing System
The collections of the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University include over 47,000 nishiki-e (as of September, 2010). The Ukiyoe Viewing System has an English top page and search page but Japanese words must be used to search as the records are in Japanese only.
Yamaguchi Prefectural Hagi Uragami Museum Collections Search (Japanese only)
More than 5,000 nishiki-e from the collections of the Yamaguchi Prefectural Hagi Uragami Museum can be searched in an online database. The information provided varies from work to work, but detailed information and high-quality images are available for many prints. Although English titles are listed for some works, the search page and search function are only in Japanese. The Museum also hosts the Ukiyo-e Research Database (Japanese only), a searchable index of over 8,000 ukiyo-e prints, including those held elsewhere and those where holdings information is unknown.
Edo-Tokyo Museum Collections Database
The Edo-Tokyo Museum has separate English and Japanese versions of their collections database.
National Museum of Japanese History Nishiki-e Database (Japanese only)
The Nishiki-e Database covers the nishiki-e collections of the National Museum of Japanese History. Records include titles and other basic information in English and can be searched in English by specific case-sensitive keyword or browsed by genre. The keyword IndustryEresults in 59 entries.
Nature and Science Museum Ukiyo-e List (Japanese only)
The Suzuki Collection of the Nature and Science Museum of the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (Japanese only) includes 600 ukiyo-e on the subjects of sericulture, spinning, and weaving. The list includes images and information on all of the prints.
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria Collection Database
The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria online collection database covers the gallery’s holdings of more than 17,000 works (as of September 2010) including the Japanese art collection, one of the most comprehensive in Canada. A range of virtual exhibits can be found on the AGGV website, including a number on Japan. In particular: Meiji: Tradition in Transition uses woodblock prints of modern scenes; and the “Meiji: Enlightened Rule” section of Exploring Japan uses Meiji period woodblock prints and other works of art to teach children about Japanese history (teacher’s guide also available). A brief background on Japanese woodblock prints is also available.
British Museum Collection Database
The online database of the collections of the British Museum is an ongoing project, with over 1,800,000 objects currently available (as of September 2010). The search string “Japan woodblock,” for example, returns over 10,000 records.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston EJapanese Prints Collection Tour
This interactive tour of the Japanese Prints collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston provides information on 186 works, including many prints depicting modernization and industrialization. The Asian Art Collection also includes the Spaulding Collection and other Japanese woodblock prints. The Museums entire collection can also be searched through the advanced search function.
Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery – Japanese Prints and Drawings
The collections of the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery of Scripps College can be searched by keyword or browsed by subject, object category, or artist. The collection of Japanese Prints and Drawings is divided by time period and individual records contain detailed information on the work as well as links to related items.
V&A Collections Database
The online database of the Victoria and Albert Museum includes 1.1 million records (as of October 2011) with information being added on a regular basis. The search string “Japan woodblock,” for example, returns more than 1,000 records. The V&A website also includes an article about ukiyo-e, a Study Resource on Japanese prints, and a reading list on Japanese prints.
Wriston Art Center Galleries Japanese Woodblock Prints
This site lists ukiyo-e from the 17th to the 20th centuries in the collections of the Wriston Art Center Galleries at Lawrence University with thumbnail images as well as providing background on artists and different types of ukiyo-e.
Historiographical Institute of the University of Tokyo – Catalogue Database of Visual Depictions (Japanese only)
The Visual Depictions Database is a “dictionary” of pictures of clothing, objects, and architecture compiled by the Historiographical Institute of the University of Tokyo. Specialized terminology is not required as the database can be searched by simple keyword search as well as browsed by time period or other topic.
Kyushu University Digital Archives – Great Japan Products Prints (Japanese only)
The Digital Archives (Japanese only) of the Kyushu University Museum have uploaded images for 45 nishiki-e from three volumes of the Dai-nippon Bussan Zukai (Great Japan Products Prints) held in the collections of Leiden University Library. A Korean version of the site is also available.
Nara University of Education Library – Bakumatsu and Meiji Ukiyo-e (Japanese only)
Late Edo and Meiji period prints donated to the Nara University of Education Library (Japanese only) have been made available on the Library’s website with explanatory information.
National Institute of Japanese Literature – Museum of Japanese Business History Collection Database (Japanese only)
This is a database of prints and other items collected in preparation for the establishment of the Museum of Japanese Business History. The Museum was the idea of Shibusawa Eiichi’s heir and grandson, Shibusawa Keizo, who also began collecting items for the museum. The lead-up to WWII interrupted this, however, and the items collected were donated by the Shibusawa Seien Memorial Foundation – Ryumonsha (today the Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation) to a precursor of the National Institute of Japanese Literature (Japanese only), which still houses the collection today.
Shinshu University Faculty of Textile Science & Technology Digital Archives – Sericulture Nishiki-e (Japanese only)
The collection of nishiki-e related to sericulture owned by the Faculty of Textile Science & Technology of Shinshu University have been made available online along with similar collections of Japanese documents on various aspects of sericulture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Visualizing Cultures Image Database
The Visualizing Cultures Database comprises images from the collections of various institutions, including the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution. Each of the five chapters is based on a different theme and includes an introductory explanation, images with descriptions, as well as lists of subject keywords and of titles and medium of the works included. Of particular interest are the woodblock prints in the section “Yokohama Boomtown: Life in Treaty-Port Japan (1859-1872).”
University of California, San Francisco – Japanese Woodblock Print Collection
The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Library owns a collection of woodblock prints on a range of health-related themes. The collection can be searched by keyword or viewed by theme, for example Foreigners and Disease. Alternatively, the collection is also available through a guide and listings on the Online Archive of California (OAC). The OAC includes nearly 240,000 items from over 100 institutions across the state of California.
University of Vienna – Ukiyoe Caricatures
Funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), “Ukiyoe Caricatures 1842-1905” is a database of the collections of the Department for East Asian Studies of the University of Vienna that can be searched in German, English, or Japanese. The site also includes bibliographical information, a glossary of terms, biographical information on the artists included, explanations of the types of works, and a background of the historical time period.