Book Reviews in the Japanese Language

Book reviews are short essays in which a reviewer critiques a book. When looking for book reviews, one should know the book's title, author, and year of publication.

Numbers shown in brackets 【 】 indicate the NDL call number for an item.

[Range] indicates the range of years for which reviews have been indexed for the book in question.

1. Searching with Book Review Indexes

Book review indexes can be used to find reviews of a particular book and to ascertain in what newspaper or magazine a review was published.

1-1. Indexes on the Web

  • Shohyo ni Notta HonLeave the NDL website. (
    [Range] December 2010-present 
    Comprises information on book reviews (publication date, reviewer, etc.) from 90 newspapers and magazines, including "The Asahi Shinbun" , "The Yomiuri Shinbun" , "The Nihon Keizai Shinbun" , "The Mainichi Shinbun" , "The Sankei Shinbun" , "The Tokyo Shinbun" and "The Chunichi Shinbun".
  • Shohyo NabiLeave the NDL website. (Dokushojin)
    Users can view or download the 'Nikkanshi no shohyo annai' printed in the ["Shukan dokushojin"](/en/books/R100000002-I000000056738 with reviews from the last two months or so.
  • Shohyo KensakuLeave the NDL website. (Tosho Shinbun)
    Users can search by keywords for book reviews and look up article titles and publication dates from the "Tosho shinbun" starting with issue number 2843, dated October 27, 2007. A subscription is required, however, to browse book reviews online.

1-2. Booklet Indexes

2. Searching with Article Indexes

2-1. Journal Article Indexes

Please refer to the Article Index of Periodicals in Japanese. The following databases, in particular, have the feature of enabling display of book review articles only.

2-2. Newspaper Article Indexes

Users can search the full texts of newspapers such as "The Asahi Shinbun" (*searchable range: Meiji period-present), "The Yomiuri Shinbun" (*Meiji period-present), "The Nihon Keizai Shinbun" (*October 1981-present), "The Mainichi Shinbun" (*1987-present), "The Sankei Shinbun" (*September 7, 1992-present), "The Chunichi Shinbun" (*April 2010-present), and "The Tokyo Shinbun" (*April 2010-present) with the databases subscribed to by the NDL, but searching for old book reviews with the materials below affords a greater degree of certainty.

3. Getting a General Overview of Posted Book Review Content

3-1. Newspaper Websites

The following websites are major newspaper book review sites.

3-2. Bookstore Websites

Kinokuniya BooklogLeave the NDL website. (Books Kinokuniya)

3-3. Publisher PR Magazines

Publisher PR magazines include book reviews of their own publications and author self-critiques (book reviews by authors themselves). One can use the publication year of a book as a clue to acquire an overview. Examples of PR magazines by major publishing companies are listed below in Japanese alphabetical order.

  • "Tosho" (Iwanami Shoten November 1949-present monthly 【Z21-184】)
  • "Hon no tabibito" (Kadokawa Shoten [November 1995]-present monthly 【Z21-B367】)
  • "Hon" (Kodansha February 1976-present monthly 【Z21-805】)
  • "Seishun to dokusho" (Shueisha [1967]-present monthly 【Z21-398】)
  • "Hon no mado" (Shogakukan early spring 1978-present monthly 【Z21-1337】)
  • "Nami" (Shinchosha January 1967-present monthly 【Z21-124】)
  • "Sobun" (Sobunsha August 1962-autumn 2016 monthly)
  • "Chikuma" (Chikuma Shobo May 1965-present monthly 【Z21-235】)
  • "UP" (Tokyo Daigaku Shuppankai November 1972-present monthly 【Z21-392】)
  • "Hon no hanashi" (Bungei Shunju July 1995-October 2011 monthly 【Z21-B300】)
    Currently, this has relocated to the web site Bungei Shunju BOOKSLeave the NDL website. .
  • "Misuzu" (Misuzu Shobo September 1959-present monthly 【Z21-66】)
  • "Mirai" (Miraisha quarterly 【Z21-353】)
  • "Shosai no mado" (Yuhikaku June 1953-present bi-monthly 【Z21-183】)

3-4. Specialist Journals

One can also gain an overview by surveying related specialist journals.

3-5. Omnibus Reviews

In some instances book reviews are recompiled and published as a book. Some recent examples are listed below.

  • Kyodo Tsushin Bunkabu, ed., "Shohyo taizen" (A collection of book reviews) (Sanseido 2015 【US61-L110】)
    [Range] March 1998-March 2014
    Textual compilation of approximately 5,000 book reviews originally distributed by Kyodo Tsushin (Kyodo News Service). In transmission date order. Includes indexes (book title, author and editor, translator and translation supervisor, photographer, etc., reviewer, publisher, keyword).

Some examples of prewar book review collections are listed below.

  • "Shoko" 9 vols. (Reprinted edition Ryokuin Shobo 1992 【Z21-B207】)
    [Range] 1930-1938
    Various newspaper book reviews have been summarized and reprinted in the 'Book review list/Book review survey' column. There is no index, so users must get a general overview from the publication year.

Though omnibus reviews are assumed to have begun around the time of Jun Tosaka's "Dokushoho" (Mikasa Shobo 1938 【特501-202】) (National Diet Library Digital Collections), there are few books with which one can search cross-sectionally the book review contents collected in the omnibuses. Searchable in the National Diet Library Digital Collections if the table of contents data has been registered.

3-6. Meiji-Taisho Period Literary Books

In the Meiji-Taisho period, some books were reprinted with book reviews at the back of the book. Unfortunately, however, there are few such examples in the NDL based on the legal deposit system.

Otowasei, "Ruiran no toyo :* seiji shosetsu"* (The perilous predicament of the Orient) (5th edition Matataro Ohashi 1899 【71-395x】)
Approximately 40 or so book reviews have been printed at the back of the book (between the epilogue and the colophon).

Sometimes when an author published multiple books through the same publisher, reprints of book reviews for previous books would be appended to the back of the latest book.

Yosaburo Takekoshi, " 2500* nenshi*" (A history of 2,500 years) (Revised and enlarged edition Niyusha 1916 【73-86ヘ】) (National Diet Library Digital Collections