The National Library of Finland has two Japanese special collections. In addition, the library’s basic collections also have Japanese books or books in Japanese. Until now, the Japonica collection and the Buddhist collection have only been catalogued on paper, and it has not been possible to access them in electronic search services.

The collections are currently being catalogued to the National Library of Finland’s search service Finna. The Japonica collection can already be found there in its entirety. The entry of the Buddhist collection to the search service started in April 2021. You can now also search for books from these collections in Japanese (authors and titles are written in both Japanese and the Latin alphabet).

The Japonica collection is a collection of Japanese books donated to the University of Helsinki in the early 20th century. It consists of a collection from several donors — perhaps the most famous of which is the collection of G. J. Ramstedt, Finland’s first Chargé d’affaires in Japan and professor at the University of Helsinki. Because the collection has many donors, it includes a variety of subjects, and chronological works are from the time period between the late 19th century to the 1960s. The collection has approximately 620 titles and more than 1,400 volumes. 

The Buddhist collection is a donation from Komazawa University and Aichi Gakuin University from 1968, supplemented in 1973. This collection consists mainly of literature on Buddhism, in addition to which the collection includes philosophical, cultural historical and language-related (Sanskrit, Tibetan, etc.) material.  The collection’s Buddhist works highlight the Sōtō Zen school. 

The services of the National Library of Finland are available to all persons residing in Finland. Foreign researchers can obtain access to the library for the duration of their stay in Finland. Books from special collections can be borrowed to the library’s Special Collections Reading Room.  For this, the customer must get a library card from the National Library of Finland’s customer service. Home loans or interlibrary loans are not possible from these collections. 

The collections can be browsed by clicking the links below. 

Japonica Collection: JAPONICA

Buddhistica Collection: BUDDHISTICA

You can book presentations of the Japanese collections from the National Library of Finland for e.g. student groups. At the moment, presentations are carried out on Zoom. All individual questions, comments and error notes are also welcome.

For further information, please contact: 

Librarian Pauliina Vuorinen, 

Advice regarding special collections: