Visual Sources

Museum Websites:

Online Museum Resources for Asian Art Digital images of collections from Kyoto National Museum, Nara National Museum, and cultural heritage institutions. Website all in Japanese language

British Museum: Items related to Japan found through the “Collection database search”

California Museum of Photography, University of California, Riverside: Japan, hand-colored prints, ca. 1880

Nagasaki: The Johnson Family Albums, ca. 1895-1910: Photographs taken by a Methodist missionary family. Collection held at California Museum of Photography, UC Riverside

Cleveland Museum of Art–Japanese Art: Includes lesson plans

Cleveland Museum of Art–Chinese Art

Cleveland Museum of Art–Korean Art

e-museum: Items from four national museums in Japan

Honolulu Museum of Art–Japanese Woodblock Prints Collection

Union Catalog of the Collections of the National Art Museums, Japan

Minneapolis Institute of Arts–The Art of Asia

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Online Museum Resources on Asian Art

Academic Projects:

Brown University Center for Digital Scholarship: The Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923

Brown University Center for Digital Scholarship: Perry in Japan: A Visual History

Indiana University at Bloomington–Japan in America: The Turn of the Twentieth Century

MIT Visualizing Cultures

The University of Hawaii at Manoa–The Great Kanto Earthquake Japan, 1923

World Images: Images from across the globe, including Japan, China, and Korea

Library and Academic Websites and Digital Archives:


Asia Art Archive

Asia and the Eastern Pacific Rim in Early Prints and Photographs (New York Public Library, USA)

The Asia Collection (Hamilton Library, University of Hawai’i, USA)

Asian & Pacific Studies – Historical Photographs

Digital Silk Road (Mainly relates to China)

East Asia Image Collection: From Lafayette College, this online database is an open-access archive containing visual media, including photographs, negatives, postcards, rare books, and slides

Frederick Williamson Collection (Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge University, USA): Photos and film taken by British Political Officer Frederick Williamson in Sikkim, Bhutan, and Tibet, 1930s

Harvard University: Botanical and Cultural Images of Eastern Asia, 1907-1927

Old Asia Photography

World Digital Library (Filters set for East Asia in link url)


China 1974-76: Taken by Michael Rank in the 1970s

Edwards Bangs Drew Chinese Maritime Customs Service Photographs (Harvard College Library, USA): Taken in China in the 1860s.

Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Historical Photographs of China

Joseph Needham Photographs (Needham Research Institute, United Kingdom): Taken by Joseph Needham in the 1940s in China

Photography of China: Resources Page

Reginald Murphy in China: Taken by journalist Reginald Murphy in 1972

Robert Henry Chandless Photographs (University Libraries, University of Washington, USA): China, early 20th century

Shackford Collection of Photographs of China (University of Hawaii, USA): Taken by John Scackford during his travels as an English teacher in China, 1920s and 1930s

Sidney D. Gamble Photographs (Duke University, USA): Photographs taken in early 20th century China

Sir Robert Hart Collection (Queen’s University, Belfast, United Kingdom): Photographs and diaries of Sir Robert Hart, Inspector General of the Imperial Customs in Beijing, 1863-1908

T.C. Chamberlin Collection – Beloit College: Collection of Rollin Chamberlin’s photos taken in China as part of the Oriental Education Investigation Commission, 1909-1910

Tea Industry Photograph Collection (Baker Library, Harvard Business School, USA): Photos of China’s 19th-century tea trade

Travels in Southwest China, 1899-1917: The archive of Fritz and Hedwig Weiss: German Consul Fritz Weiss and wife Hedwig Weiss lived and travelled in China from 1899 to 1917

University of Chicago China digital archives

The Virtual Cities Project: This database contains visual media of Beijing, Hankou, Saigon, Shanghai, Suzhou, and Tianjin. After clicking on one of the cities, use the menu at the top of the page to view images, maps, film, etc.

Werner von Boltenstern Shanghai Photograph and Negative Collection (The William H. Hannon Library, USA): Taken in Shanghai from 1937 to 1949

Yang, Etudiant Ouvrier en 1920: Yang Tche Chen travelled to France in the 1920s during the Diligent Work-Frugal Study Movement. Website in French but easy to navigate without French-language ability


A-Z Photo Dictionary of Japanese Sculpture and Art

Duke University Visual Resources for Japan

Gertrude Bass Warner collection: Lantern Slides

Japan Center for Asia Historical Records

Japanese Historical Maps (East Asian Library, University of California, Berkeley)

Library of Congress P&P online catalog: Fine prints, Japan, pre-1915

National Diet Library Exhibitions

National Diet Library Digitized Contents

Nosatsu (Votive slips)

Online Resources for Japanese Archaeology and Cultural Heritage: Includes lessons plans and questions for student discussion

Old Photography Japan: The March Collection, an archive of Yokohama prints

University of Chicago Japan digital archives


1964 Korea: Taken by US Soldier Klaus Moser

Digital Archive for the University of Hawaii East Asian Studies Program

Old Photos of Korea

Reconfiguring Korea: Roger Marshutz’s Photographs of Pusan, 1952–1954

Sea Women of Jeju Island (Magnum Photos)

University of Chicago online digital archive (mainly maps)