The Library of Economics is currently hosting a commemorative program called “Pick up and Pass the ‘Baton:’ The Intellectual Heritage from Generation to Generation,” which celebrates the history of this library. 2020 marked many anniversaries of the library’s origins: it was the 120th year since the establishment of the Economic Statistics Seminar at the College of Law, the 110th year since the installation of the Commercial Materials Library, and the 100th year since the donation of the Adam Smith Collection by Nitobe Inazo. 120 years of history was marred by many challenges such as the Great Kanto Earthquake, censorship, and air raids during the war. Through it all, this library has persevered and amassed books and materials.
As a result, we now have approximately 840,000 volumes, 786 titles of current periodicals (as of April 2019), making this one of Japan’s leading specialist libraries for economics and management. On top of the significant quantity, the library also has items of exceptional quality. For example, in our Rare Books category you will find books and manuscripts previously owned by renowned economists such as the Adam Smith Collection and Engel Collection, only known existing copies of precious books, and social science classics. We also hold collections and materials owned by former professors and professors emeriti such as Nitobe Inazo, Arisawa Hiromi, and Wakimura Yoshitaro, and collections that once belonged to economic research institutes such as the Mitsubishi Economic Research Institute Collection. Further, since its early days, this library has always been systematically acquiring publications and materials issued by government agencies, economic organizations, and companies. In recent years, one of our notable measures is to assertively collect, store and conserve primary resources owned by corporations, organizations, and private citizens. As a result, we now own a sizable collection of private and corporate materials, such as the Records of Yamaichi Securities and Records of Yokohama Specie Bank, which are regarded as the most comprehensive corporate archives in the world, and the Ishikawa Ichiro Documents, compiled by the first Chairman of Keidanren. The library also owns a historical coins and bills collection, which is considered second only to the Bank of Japan’s Currency Museum.
We have also been reinforcing our function as an information library, in response to the advances in IT. A part of this effort is the Subject Gateway Service called Engel, a search system with access to socioeconomic materials and digital archives owned by this library. Engel serves as the gateway to corporate materials, national/local government /labor-related materials, materials on financial policies, and other academic content on economics. Other databases that are viewable on the website include corporate annual reports/financial statements, historical coins and bills, and the Records of Yamaichi Securities catalog. If you open the “Searching Resources” tab on our home page, you can also see the wide variety of accessible e-information such as e-Journals, e-Books, and the Syllabus Books Lists.
Currently, the library is 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 on the 3rd floor of the Kojima Hall. The Resources and Historical Collections Office or the Shiryo-shitsu specializes in the organization, restoration, and preservation of materials and is one of the leading archival functions in Japan. The Economic Research Annex was completed in April of 2010, made possible by the donation from Kojima Industries Corporation for the advancement of the library. It has a closed stack in the basement that is completely temperature- and humidity-controlled.
The Library of Economics is a true asset that the University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Economics and Graduate School of Economics can be proud of. Its value will only increase with users assertively taking advantage of the library’s qualities. We are, however, forced to make adjustments due to COVID-19, such as reduced operating hours or seating restrictions. Despite these limitations, we are seeking ways to meet your needs as much as possible. Our goal is to continue to be the bastion of studies, education, and research for the Graduate School and Faculty of Economics, while contributing to society and academia as a library that is open to academics both in and out of the University of Tokyo.
We look forward to your enthusiastic usage of our library.
April 1, 2021
Director, the Library of Economics, the University of Tokyo