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East Asian Studies: References, Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Updated on Summer 2023

How to Develop Research Questions/Topics

Before you begin the search,
Think about
1) Which topic in this class are you interested in? 
-- think about all the readings, anything you find it useful
2) What are the current scholarships on this topic?
-- from the topic, try some search on Summon, Google Scholar or OBIS to start with.
3) What are the arguments/thesis of these scholarship? Do they agree with each other or against each other?
4) Which side of the argument you agree or disagree? Do you have your own argument?
-- from what you have found, extend your search, using Subject Heading search in OBIS, or particular database search for alternative keywords.
Search Tips: how to use "AND" "OR" and "NOT"; 
Each result contains all search terms.
Each result contains at least one search term.
Results do not contain the specified terms.
The search heart and lung finds items that contain both heart and lung.
The search heart or lung finds items that contain either heart or items that contain lung.
The search heart not lung finds items that contain heart but do not contain lung.

Encyclopedias, Dictionaries and References

Resources for East Asian Language and Thought

by Charles Muller, Professor from University of Tokyo
It provides some valuable resources related to Muller's own research in Chinese thoughts, and translation of some East Asian religious texts. 

Korean encyclopedia

Wikipedia - Please use with caution. Not all entries are reliable.

CJK Romanization System

OBIS DOES NOT support the search CJK language material using Chinese/Japanese/Korean characters. 

  • Romanization for CJK languages (Chinese/Japanese/Korean) 
  1. Libraries use China’s pinyin system but have significant variations. Please refer to the Library of Congress New Chinese Romanization Guideline 2011 for a quick reference. The guideline also provides reference to Wade-Giles and Pinyin conversion.
  2. For Japanese Romanization system (2022).
  3. For Korean Romanization system (2009).
  4. For Tibetan Romanization system (2015).


If you need any further help, please email me!

Other Reference Tools

Selected Dictionaries in Japanese, Chinese and English (Last updated November 2017)
A blog provides substantial information on different subjects, including Japanese maps, dictionary, regional names, Kanji dictionary etc.
For English
For Chinese
For Japanese

Other online dictionaries

  1. Japanese Buddhist Dictionary A to Z     
  2. MDBG English to Chinese Dictionary             
  3. Online boost tools for studying Chinese Grammar