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11. 人物情報を探す/Find Biographies: English


Biographical information can be found on the internet. However, when you use them academically, you have to gain accurate information by referring to several reliable sources which you can clearly specify.

Historical Figures

The information about historical figures and also stil-living persons who made remarkable achievements can be found in general biographical dictionaries, which cover wide ranges of fields and eras, and also in encyclopedias.

General Biographical Dictionaries and Encyclopedias (Japan)

  • Nihon Jinmei Daijiten (book) *in Japanese only
  • Nihon Jinmei Daijiten (Library subscription database [JapanKnowledge Lib]) *in Japanese only
    The largest Japanese biographical encyclopedia. Originally published as Kodansha Nihon Jinmei Daijiten (2001).
  • JapanKnowledge Lib [Net Advance] (Library subscription database)
    Comprehensive database of encyclopedias and dictionaries. The database has access to numerous contents, including "Nihon Daihyakka zensho (Nipponica)", "Sekai Daihyakka Jiten", Nihon Kokugo Daijiten", "Ji-tsu(Great Dictionary of Chinese Characters)", "Encyclopedia of Japanese Historical Place Names", "Kokushi Daijiten", "Random House English-Japanese Dictionary", "Innovative Multi-Information Dictionary", "Annual Series Encyclopedia of Contemporary Words", "Weekly Economist", "Kaisha Shikiho", "Toyo Bunko" etc.

General Biographical Dictionaries and Encyclopedias (Worldwide)

When You Cannot Find the Biographical Information You Want

  • Jinbutsu Refarensu Jiten (Index of Japanese Biographical Encyclopedia) (book) *in Japanese only
  • Gaikoku Jinbutsu Refarensu Jiten (Index of Non-Japanese Biographical Encyclopedia) (book) *in Japanese only
    Unified indexes of historic Japanese figures listed in leading Japanese biographical dictionaries, encyclopedias, and history encyclopedias, with which you can search for the sources to refer to.

Still-Living People

General biographical dictionaries and encyclopedias cover the information about the peoples whose achievements are already recognized as historical, so the completeness of the data on people in our time tends to be not enough. In such cases, Who’s Who and other similar resources which cover particularly still-living people are useful. Who was Who and other resources specialized in people who recently past away should also be referred to.


  • Nihon Shinshiroku (Japanese Who’s Who) (book) *in Japanese only
  • Jinji Koshinroku (Biographical Directory) (book) *in Japanese only
    These are the oldest who’s who in Japan. They had provided the biographical information in various fields since Meiji era. However, Nihon Shinshiroku ended its revision and publication in 2007 with the 80th edition; so did Jinji Koshinroku in 2009 with the 45th edition.
  • Gendai jinmeiroku (Contemporary Who’s Who) (Library subscription database [YOMIDAS REKISHIKAN]) *in Japanese only
  • Jinbutsu Database (Biography Database) (Library subscription database [Asahi Shimbun Cross-Search (Kikuzo II visual)]) *in Japanese only
    Who’s who included in Japanese newspaper databases. Provides biographical information of people likely to appear on papers.
  • YOMIDAS REKISHIKAN [The Yomiuri Shimbun] (Library subscription database)
    Archival database for Yomiuri Shimbun
  • Asahi Shimbun Cross-Search (Kikuzo II visual) [Asahi Shimbun Co.] (Library subscription database)
    A Newspaper database for Asahi Shimbun. In addition to newspaper articles, "AERA" (from the first issue), "Shukan Asahi" (from April 2000), "Contemporary Words Chiezo", "Who's Who database", and "Historical Photo Archive" are available.


Other Countries

Besides the Who’s Who of England, Waseda University also holds country-specific Who’s Who. You can find them by searching WINE with key words such as "Who's Who" or "Who was Who".

  • Who’s Who (England) (book)
    Published since 1849. Entries include judges, civil servants, politicians and notable figures from academia, sport and the arts. Who was Who includes the entries of people now deceased, who were included in previous editions of Who's Who.
  • Canadian Who’s Who (Canada) (book)
  • Wer ist Wer (Germany) (book)

Person in Specific Field

There are so many people who made remarkable achievements in specific fields but are not included in general biographical dictionaries or who's who. In such cases, the biographical sources specialized in the fields should be referred to.

Biographical Dictionaries in Specific Fields

Nikkei's business newspapers, Japanese company information, and who's who directory.

  • researchmap (public web site)
    Provides approximately 220,000 profiles of researchers (as of Apr, 2014). You can search for researchers from "Researcher Search".
  • Nikkei Who's Who [Nihon Keizai Shimbun] (Library subscription database [Nikkei Telecom 21]) *in Japanese only
    Who’s Who on the presidents, directors, executives, and division heads of Japanese companies. Similar information can be found in other library subscription databases too.
  • Nikkei Telecom21 [Nihon Keizai Shimbun] (Library subscription database)
    Nikkei's business newspapers, Japanese company information, and who's who directory.

Information from Dictionaries, Almanacs, Handbooks in Specific Fields

Not only from biographical dictionaries, biographical information sometimes can be obtained from dictionaries, almanacs, and handbooks of specific fields.

  • Nihon Kindai Bungaku Daijiten (Dictionary of modern Japanese literature) (book) *in Japanese only
    The most complete reference book on modern Japanese literature. Vol. 1-3 are the biographies of authors.
  • Bijutsu Nenkan (book) *in Japanese only
    Contains the list of Japanese contemporary artists.
  • Contemporary Authors (Library subscription database [Gale Literature Resource Center])
    Biographical and bibliographical data on today’s most influential novelists, poets, playwrights, nonfiction writers, journalists and scriptwriters.
  • Gale Literature Resource Center [Gale Cengage Learning] (Library subscription database)
    A complete literature reference database. Includes biographical information, overviews, full-text literary criticism, and reviews.

Biographies And Other Sources

Besides biographical dictionaries and who’s who, the materials written about specific persons such as biographies, critical essays, and memoires are also helpful, especially when you try to find detailed biographical information. To find such sources, books listed below are useful.

Catalogs for Finding Biographies And Other Sources

  • Nihon Jinbustu Bunken Mokuroku (Catalog of Biographical Materials in Japan) (book) *in Japanese only
    Includes biographical materials published from early years of Meiji to 1966.
  • Jinbustu Bunken Mokuroku (Catalog of Biographical Materials) (book) *in Japanese only
    Annual bibliography of biographical materials. Published every year since 1980.
  • Denki Hyoden Zen Joho (Comprehensive Catalog of Biographies and Critical Biographies) (book) *in Japanese only
    Comprehensive bibliography of biographies and critical biographies published after 1945.
  • Biographical books (book)
    Includes the list of biographies, autobiographies, collective biographies, letters, and diaries.


If you search for the last and the first name of the person you are interested in with the Subject search from Advanced search on WINE, you can look for the books written about the person. e.g. "Takata Sanae"

Find Biographical Dictionaries and Related Sources

The sources we could not introduce here can be searched with the materials below.

  • Jinmei Jiten Daijiten (Dictionary of Biographical Dictionaries) (book) *in Japanese only
    Includes about 20,000 entries of biographical dictionaries, directories, and related works. Field-specific editions, region-specific editions, and overseas editions are available.
  • Meibo Meikan Zenjoho (Complete List of Biographical Directories in Japan) (book) *in Japanese only
    The general catalog of the registries and directories published in Japan between 1945 and 2004, including who’s who and biographical dictionaries.
  • Nihon Jinmei Joho Sakuin (Index of Japanese Biographical Information) (book) *in Japanese only
    Government personnel lists, member lists of industry groups, and registries with detailed profiles of actors and sports athletes.
  • Biographical Dictionaries and Related Works (book)
    The second edition published in 1986 covers about 16,000 biographical dictionaries, biographical directories, and encyclopedias of all the countries of the world.