A Message from the Director, the Library of Economics

The Library of Economics at the University of Tokyo is a library for the Graduate School of Economics and the Faculty of Economics, with a collection of books and materials primarily on economics and management. With approximately 840,000 volumes and 856 titles in the current collection (as of end March 2016), this is one of the largest special libraries for economics and management in Japan. Our collection today is diverse – there are the latest books regarding economics, business administration, and related fields, as well as rare books and materials, many of which can only be found here or in precious few other libraries around the world. On top of conventional books and materials in printed form, we have also been revamping our collection of electronic materials.

The Library of Economics is a true asset that the Graduate School of Economics and the Faculty of Economics of the University of Tokyo is proud of, and its value can be fully appreciated with the enthusiastic use of the facility.

This library was founded in 1919, when the Faculty of Economics was formed, by being separated from the Faculty of Law. The collection, which belonged to the College of Law’s Economic Statistics Seminar and the Commercial Materials Library, became the core of the current collection. The collection of books on economics at the University of Tokyo started around 1878 when courses on economics were first offered. Thus the Library of Economics is the culmination of 140 years of unrelenting efforts. Through its history, this library has continually amassed books and materials despite numerous sufferings and tribulations, such as the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, censorship which inhibited acquisitions, and the evacuation of books to protect them from wartime bombings. Our collection includes rare books mainly consisting of collections and manuscripts previously owned by famous economists such as Adam Smith. We also hold valuable private collections of the professor emeritus of this faculty – such as Arisawa Hiromi and Wakimura Yoshitaro, as well as former collections of economic research institutes such as historical documents taken over by the Mitsubishi Economic Research Institute. Moreover, since pre-World War II, this library has always been systematically acquiring articles of incorporation, annual reports of Japanese enterprises and publications from government agencies. In recent years, we have assertively collected, stored and conserved primary resources owned by corporations, organizations and private citizens – for example, the Records of Yamaichi Securities and the Records of Yokohama Specie Bank; ours is regarded as one of the largest corporate archives in the world. Further, as a point of unique interest, the library also holds a historical coins and bills collection that is considered second only to that of the Bank of Japan.

By consistently providing academic contents, this library works as an infrastructure of educational and research activities for our graduate school and faculty. Our aim is to meet the needs of users in this university and those across Japan, as an accessible library. As such, we are putting our efforts in enriching our functions and services. We have also been strengthening our partnership with internal and external libraries: in June of 2014, we signed a mutual use agreement with the Institute of Development Economies (IDE) Library. Further, we have reinforced our function as a digital library through the effective use of information technology. As a part of this effort, on April 2014 we published the Syllabus Book List with links to the University of Tokyo Library OPAC, e-Books and e-Journals on our website. Similarly, the “Engel” database serves as a portal to academic contents on economics, such as corporate materials, national/local government/labor-related materials, and materials on financial policies. Databases of annual reports and financial reports of Japanese enterprises, historical coins, historical bills and Records of Yamaichi Securities can also be viewed on our website.

The library is currently located in two buildings: the Akamon General Research Building and the Economic Research Annex, or Kojima Hall. General books and periodicals can be studied in the Reading Room on the 3rd floor of the Akamon General Research Building, and primary materials such as Rare Books, special materials, corporate materials and historical manuscripts are available in the Resources and Historical Collections Office (Shiryo-shitsu) Reading Room in the 3rd floor of the Kojima Hall. The Shiryo-shitsu specializes in the organization, restoration and the preservation of materials, actively driving both the conservation and access to materials; it also has one of Japan’s leading archival functions. The Kojima Hall was completed in 2009, made possible by a donation from Kojima Ryojiro, President of the Kojima Industries Corporation, for “the advancement of the library.” There is a complete temperature- and humidity-controlled room housing the closed stacks in the basement of this hall.

Recognizing that the Library of Economics at the University of Tokyo stands on the bastion of tradition built by the wisdom and ambitions of our ancestors, we are determined to continue developing our information infrastructure function and our services. Our next step is to further carve out our role which can respond to the emerging needs of a new era, through active dialogue with our users.

We hope you will fully maximize the opportunities offered by this library.
April 1, 2017
Tomoji Onozuka
Director, the Library of Economics, the University of Tokyo

Comments are closed.