Tohoku University Library Opens New Platform to Search for Historical Documents

Tohoku University library has launched a new digital archive platform - ToUDA - creating a one-stop resource for researchers to comb through the Tohoku University's rich array of cultural and academic resources. The archives are open and free to access for all, with a Japanese and English interface.

Launched at the beginning of the academic year, ToUDA contains digital records of two of Tohoku University's prized historical collections: the tenth volume of the Records of the Grand Historian (Shiji) and the 25th volume of the Ruiju Kokushi.

Shiji covers over two thousand years of Chinese history, with the tenth volume focusing on Emperor Wen, the fifth emperor of the Han Dynasty. The volume on record contains annotations made during the Heian Period (794 - 1185) and is the oldest dated copy of the Shiji in Japan. Meanwhile, the Ruiju Kokushi is a historical text that chronicles the official history of ancient Japan. Written during the Heian period, the 25th volume includes references to historical

The library has also imported a collection of documents belonging to Tohoku University Archives. The documents relate to the long 1960s, a period marked by considerable economic growth which saw significant political, social and economic upheaval.

Plans to create a new, centralized digital archive for the treasure trove of documents owned by the university began in 2019, with the process getting underway in 2022. This involved painstakingly scanning and uploading delicate documents in various data formats, a process that Director of Information Service Division at Tohoku University Library, Tomoe Hanzawa, notes was no easy task.

"With large files of data stored in different formats that were digitized in different points in time across multiple departments, unifying this extensive catalogue into a single, easy-to-use portal proved to be challenging, but one we overcame through extensive planning and coordination."

Tohoku University library will expand the collection over the coming years, with plans to add documents related to the Tibetan Buddhist canon, Japanese classics, and adding further materials to the existing Soseki Natsume collection, including Western Books that were owned and annotated by the famous novelist himself.

Future collaboration to strengthen the database is also on the horizon. Tohoku University Library will work with the Hasekura League - an international interdisciplinary Japanese Studies network established between Tohoku University and 25 member universities - and the Center of Integrated Japanese Studies. This will make ToUDA a powerful tool within the disciplinary community of Japanese studies.


Information Service Division,
Tohoku University Library

Page Top