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The Oya Soichi Library

Ōya Sōichi Library

General Information

Japanese Name: 大宅壮一文庫
Address: 3-10-20 Hachiman Yama Setagaya-ku Tokyo-to 156-0056
Japanese Address: 東京都世田谷区八幡山3丁目10番20号 〒156−0056
Phone Number: 03−3303−2000
Online: http://www.oya-bunko.or.jp/
Database Search: Only available by subscription or while in the library.
Opening Times: M-S, 10-18 (requests for photocopies up until 17:45)
Closed: Closed Sundays, holidays, the end of the year and the beginning of the new year.
Entrance Fee: 500 Yen (See below)
Information Last Confirmed: February 11, 2004


The library is about 8 minutes walk from Hachiman Yama station on the Keio line. It takes about 12 minutes on the rapid (快速) line from Shinjuku or about 6 minutes from Meidaimae. There is one exit to the station. You can find a map of the area to the left but the library is not marked. As you exit the station you will be facing Akazutsu-dori (赤堤通り). Turn to the right and follow the road continually for about 8 minutes. You will pass several medical facilities on your left, a Koban and the Matzuzawa hospital (都立松沢病院). The library is directly on your right along the road as you pass the hospital, before you get to a dry cleaners.


The library costs 500 yen for entry but this only gets you the right to request the viewing of 10 articles from its collection. Upon entering you must fill out your name and address on an application form and submit this with your payment. Students have a reduced fee of 300 yen only if they have both their student ID and a letter of introduction from their university. Searches of the database and other indexes can be done on the first floor, and photocopies are also picked up from this location.

The reading room on the 2nd floor is where you submit your request slip for articles, pick up these articles, read them, and submit forms for photocopies. After submitting a request for a photocopy, should you not have any other articles to read or request, you will be asked to wait downstairs for the copies to be finished. Payment for photocopies is done when picking them up.

The reading room has two reserved tables for photographing materials (presumably with your own camera), but a sign says that this is only permitted by appointment, during the morning, and requires a fee of 105 yen per picture (5 yen more than a monochrome copy).

If you want more than 10 articles you need to fill out the entrance form again and pay another 500 Yen. You can repeat this process for a total 50 articles per day. Only members of the library can request more articles per day.


Card Catalogs: No, but there are many index books for articles prior to 1988, and computer databases for everything after this time.
Computers: Around 25 computers. Some of these connect to a web based database on their intranet (articles from 1988-the current year, but not the current issues), dos/unix based database interface (articles from 1988-the current issue), and a few computers with CD-Roms with an index from 1988 to 2002. There is also a computer with digital versions of the first issue of a great number of magazines. Microfilm for Taisho and Meiji magazines.
Reading Room: Yes, on the second floor, crowded with about 50 seats, somewhat loud as the archivists are often talking to visitors or calling them up.
Photocopy Machines: None, photocopies are requested by application. You must submit requests for color and monochrome copies on separate application forms, available on the 2nd floor.
Photocopy Prices: 100 Yen for monochrome, 200 Yen for color, 500 Yen for computer printouts (can this be?). If you have entered as a student (see above) monochrome copies are 60 Yen per page. Color copies take longer. For a considerable surcharge, copies can be sent to you. See their web page on photocopy information at http://www.oya-bunko.or.jp/siryo.htm Also, photocopies of the most recent issue of a magazine is not permitted.
Vending Machines: None, drink vending nearby on the road.
Bathrooms: On the first floor on the right.
Nearby Food: Food is available near the station. Mos burger, sushi, and a bento store to the left, a bakery and grocery stores to the right, and behind the station exit, under the tracks are a few cheap Japanese restaurants, and a stationary store.

Collections of Note

The library has a considerable collection of magazines and journals from the Meiji period on. A list of the magazines available can be found on their web site at http://www.oya-bunko.or.jp/sakuin.htm.

Other Related Links

Other Notes, Comments and Experiences

  • The collection is impressive, and their database search, even though it only goes back to 1988 is wonderful, since they also have a good number of keywords for their article search, and include page numbers. The archivists are very helpful. You are totally hosed on the photocopies and you can't easily print out search results to carry home (I was told I could "borrow" the print outs of my search results and on a second occasion I was told it would cost me 500 yen per page to take them home. I must have misunderstood but regardless, this also requires the filling out of an application form. I recommend copying down all articles from your search that you are confident you might be able to find in other libraries you might have free access too with less draconian photocopying rules and prices. -K. M. Lawson (Last Visit: February 11, 2004)
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