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Resources: Traditional Arts, Crafts and Culture

This page introduces open-access resources related to traditional Japanese arts, crafts and culture that are accessible in English.

The Clough Collection of Kuchi-e (Frontispiece Prints)

The National Library of Australia holds a fully digitised collection of over 400 kuchi-e illustrations from popular Meiji and Taishо̄ era novels. 

The Clough Collection of Kuchi-e (Frontispiece Prints) overview
Browse the Clough Collection

Database of Folklore Illustrations

Produced by Japan’s International Research Centre for Japanese Studies (also known as ‘Nichibunken’), this database displays items such as ukiyo-e prints, illustrations, books and scrolls from the Edo period that are related to folklore and held in the Nichibunken collection. English-language functionality is limited to browsing level only.

Database of Folklore illustrations

Gion Festival Digital Museum 2020: The Past, Present and Future of the Gion Festival

This resource combines a rich selection of visual, audiovisual and other materials related to Kyoto’s annual Gion Festival. It was created by the Art Research Centre (ARC) at Japan’s Ritsumeikan University to offer a virtual experience based on the ARC’s digital archives of the festival. Menu-level navigation is available in English, however English-language detail is limited. 

Gion Festival Digital Museum 2020

Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System (JAANUS) Online Dictionary

JAANUS is an open-access Japanese-to English dictionary of specialist terms related to Japanese architecture, arts and crafts, and their multiple genres and sub-fields.

JAANUS website

KaoKore Facial Expression Dataset

Created by Japan’s Centre for Open Data in the Humanities (CODH), KaoKore is a dataset of facial expressions extracted from pre-modern Japanese visual sources including picture scrolls and rare books. The resource is designed to support research in art history, particularly in the comparative study of artistic styles. The dataset contains over 5,000 images of facial expression cropped from objects held in the collections of the National Institute of Japanese Literature, Keio University Media Center and Kyoto University Library Network.

KaoKore overview
KaoKore database search (Japanese only)

Ukiyo-e Portal Database

Hosted by Ritsumeikan University’s Art Research Centre, this database facilitates detailed searches of ukiyo-e that are catalogued in the pubic domain. Users can search according to censor’s seal, publisher, printer, characters depicted, and can also drill down into details of kabuki performances depicted, using fields for searching specific actors, play titles, theatres and performance dates.  

Ukiyo-e Portal Database

Ukiyo-e Search

Ukiyo-e Search is a database which allows users to search over 220,000 online records of ukiyo-e, thereby locating similar prints across different collections. In addition to standard text-based searches, the site also allows users to search by uploading an image of a work. The database aggregates data from a range of institutional and commercial sources.

Ukiyo-e Search

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Main image: Ehon saiyūki hyakki yagyō no zu [detail], Tamakuni, date unknown, via Database of Folklore Illustrations (Source).

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