Toshiba Library for Japanese Legal Research (東芝日本法研究図書館)

Explore the premier collection of Japanese law materials housed at a university in the United States.

The Toshiba Library for Japanese Legal Research, located on the second floor of the Arthur W. Diamond Law Library, is the largest Japanese law library among U.S. academic institutions. Its expanding collection holds approximately 40,000 volumes, including 22,000 monographic and 600 serial titles. It provides four online legal databases of legislative materials, indexes to cases and periodical articles, full-text journals, e-books, and cases from the end of the 19th century to the present. These databases are TKC Law Library, D1-Law, Westlaw Japan, and Lexis AS ONE, and are available to Columbia University affiliates and visitors to the Law Library. “Links to Sources to Japanese Law” may be viewed under “Foreign Law” in the Law Library’s Research Guide.

 The Toshiba Library is home to the private collections of two former Supreme Court Justices of Japan, Justice Jiro Tanaka (Tanaka Collection田中二郎コレクション) and Justice Itsuo Sonobe (Sonobe Collection園部逸夫コレクション), as well as the private collection of Koichi Kikuta, Professor Emeritus of Meiji University (Kikuta Collection菊田幸一コレクション).

In accordance with Law Library policy, materials published prior to 1989 are housed offsite and are available upon request, while those published after 1990 are shelved onsite in the open stacks. Questions regarding the Toshiba Library collections should be addressed to the Arthur W. Diamond Law Library.

History of the Toshiba Library

The Toshiba Library owes its existence to the grand vision of Professor Walter Gellhorn ’31 and to a large number of enthusiastic supporters, including Columbia Law School alumni in Japan and Professor Gellhorn’s former students and friends such as Ken Tsunematsu ’58, Yoshihiko Wakumoto, Morio Uematsu, Shin’ichi Saito ’77, and Nobushige Ukai. Their goal was to create an outstanding Japanese law center at Columbia Law School.

In 1982, two years after the Center for Japanese Legal Studies was founded with the endowment from the Fuyo industrialists group, Professor Gellhorn secured a gift of Japan’s finest private legal collection from the family of late Justice Jiro Tanaka (Tanaka Collection). The collection contained more than 16,000 volumes of books, reports, and journal issues from the early 1910s through the early 1980s. Its serials holdings and treatises on public law were particularly exceptional.

In 1984, with funding from the Tokai Bank (currently MUFG Bank), the Law Library created a position of Japanese Law Curator and began the development of a comprehensive Japanese law collection to support research and teaching at the Center for Japanese Legal Studies.

The transfer in 1986 of monographs and serials on Japanese law held by Columbia’s C.V. Starr East Asian Library to the Law Library resulted in the integration of the Tanaka Collection, gift books solicited by Professor Gellhorn and Professor Michael K. Young (the first director of the Center for Japanese Legal Studies), and all other Japanese legal materials on campus.

In 1991, the Japanese law collection was renamed the Toshiba Library for Japanese Legal Research to honor the endowment from the Toshiba Corporation in Tokyo. Many additional  monetary, material, and database gifts ensued, including the private collections of Professor Koichi Kikuta and Justice Itsuo Sonobe in 1998 and 2003, respectively. Other major supporters from the 1990s through the 2010s include: Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu; Mitsui, Yasuda, Wani & Maeda; the Japan Foundation; Toshiba International Foundation; Fujitsu, Ltd.; Nissho Iwai Foundation; and the Faculty of Law at Meiji University.

Today, numerous publications continue to arrive from the Supreme Court of Japan, the Ministry of Justice, Japanese Institute of International Business Law, and other Japanese institutions and individuals. Since 2014, the Toshiba Library has been centrally managed within the Law Library’s organization structure, rather than by a curator.

Selected Japanese Law Resources

December 2019

Gazette - 官報 (Japanese)

Session Laws - 制定法律 (Japanese)

Statutes, Ordinances, Orders, Rules, and Regulations - 現行法令 (Japanese)

Japanese Law Translation: Statutes, Ordinances, and Orders (English)

Treaties - 条約 (Japanese and English)

Legislative History - 日本法令索引 (Japanese)

Cases - 判例 (Japanese)

Cases (English)

Index to Papers, Periodical Articles, and Cases -

論文・雑誌記事・判例索引 (Japanese)

Research Guide (English)

Tables of Contents for Recent Issues of Selected Law Journals

雑誌最近号目次 (Japanese)