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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)

General Biographical Dictionaries and Encyclopedias (Worldwide)

  • Iwanami Sekai Jinmei Daijiten [Iwanami Shoten] (book) *in Japanese only
    The largest non-Japanese biographical encyclopedia.
  • Encyclopedia of World Biography [Gale] (book)
  • Biographies on notables from every part of the world and from all time periods.
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography [Oxford University Press] (Library subscription database)
    Provides biographical information on key figures in British history. Contains the full-text of all 60 volumes of the 2004 printed edition, and also the past 33 editions printed between 1884 and 1996.

When You Cannot Find the Biographical Information You Want

  • Jinbutsu Refarensu Jiten (Index of Japanese Biographical Encyclopedia) [Nichigai Associates] (book) *in Japanese only
  • Gaikoku Jinbutsu Refarensu Jiten (Index of Non-Japanese Biographical Encyclopedia) [Nichigai Associates] (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) [Kojunsha Shuppankyoku] (book) *in Japanese only
  • Jinji Koshinroku (Biographical Directory) [Jinji Koshinjo] (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) [Yomiuri Shimbun] (Library subscription database [Yomidasu Rekishi Kan]) *in Japanese only
  • Jinbutsu Database (Biography Database) [Asahi Shimbun] (Library subscription database [Kikuzo II Visual]) *in Japanese only
    Who’s who included in Japanese newspaper databases. Provides biographical information of people likely to appear on papers.


  • Gendai Gaikoku Jinmeiroku (Non-Japanese Who’s who) [Nichigai Associates] (book) *in Japanese only
    The only non-Japanese who’s who in Japan published every four years. 2016 edition includes approximately 10,000 biographies.
  • Marquis Biographies Online [Marquis] (Library subscription database)
    Contains about 1.4 million biographies taken from Marquis’s 25 field-specific biographical dictionaries such as Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the world published after 1985.

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) [A. & C. Black] (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) [University of Toronto Press] (book)
  • Wer ist Wer (Germany) [Schmidt Römhild] (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

  • researchmap (public web site)
    Provides approximately 220,000 profiles of researchers (as of Apr, 2014).
  • 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.

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) [Kodansha] (book) *in Japanese only
    The most complete reference book on modern Japanese literature. Vol. 1-3 are the biographies of authors.
  • Bijutsu Nenkan (Japanese Art Annual) [Bijutsu Nenkansha] (book) *in Japanese only
    Contains the list of Japanese contemporary artists.
  • Contemporary Authors [Gale] (Library subscription database [Literature Resource Center])
    Biographical and bibliographical data on today’s most influential novelists, poets, playwrights, nonfiction writers, journalists and scriptwriters.

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) [Heibonsha] (book) *in Japanese only
    Includes biographical materials published from early years of Meiji to 1966.
  • Jinbustu Bunken Mokuroku (Catalog of Biographical Materials) [Nichigai Associates] (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) [Nichigai Associates] (book) *in Japanese only
    Comprehensive bibliography of biographies and critical biographies published after 1945.
  • Biographical books [Bowker] (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) [Jinmei Joho Kenkyukai] (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) [Nichigai Associates] (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) [National Diet Library] (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 [Gale Research Co.] (book)
    The second edition published in 1986 covers about 16,000 biographical dictionaries, biographical directories, and encyclopedias of all the countries of the world.