Teruko Sekiguchi - Embassy Librarian

Teruko Sekiguchi (far right) at the meeting of the Japan Library Group

Teruko Sekiguchi has been working at the Embassy of Japan for almost 20 years and has been the librarian since the early nineties. Last month, the Embassy hosted a meeting of the Japan Library Group, a group made up of representatives from over 20 libraries across the UK with books on Japan. We took the opportunity to ask about her work.



Tell us about the JICC Library. What does your role involve?

The JICC library is a comparatively small collection of roughly 4,000 items covering Japanese literature and a wide range of educational, historical and cultural topics related to Japan in both English and Japanese as well as publications from various branches of the Japanese Government.

My main role is the running and maintenance of the library. This includes various responsibilities: cataloguing books, deciding upon new acquisitions, giving advice and general assistance to library visitors. The Library also acts as a great resource for those interested in diplomatic studies with foreign policy publications and similar items.


Who uses the JICC Library?


The Library has received enquiries from such famous personalities as Uri Geller, Jeffrey Archer, Sir John Gielgud and a descendant of Arthur Waley: a well known translator of 'Tale of Genji'. There is an increasing trend nowadays for younger visitors to the library who are interested in Japanese manga, fashion, film, design etc. In particular there are increasing numbers of 6th form students who come to study areas of Japanese history such as Edo and Meiji period.

Teruko Sekiguchi (second from left) helping a visitor to the library


Our library is open to all who express an interest in Japan and its culture.
I am always delighted to assist anyone who wishes to deepen their understanding and knowledge of Japan. The library is supported by the Enquiry section of the JICC who are able to provide knowledge and expertise in many areas.


What is the Japan Library Group? Whos involved?

The Japan Library Group was established in 1966 with the purpose of concentrating and exchanging knowledge and expertise in the field of Japanese studies and librarianship.

It consists of representatives from 20 libraries all over the UK and meets twice a year in order to discuss current issues regarding Japanese academic collections in the UK. Currently the individual libraries are struggling with developing collections and providing access to information in the face of decreasing budget and staffing levels. Users want access to e-resources and online databases but many libraries simply cannot afford to pay for them. The Japan Library Group provides a forum where libraries can address such challenges and collaborate to find solutions.


JICC Library Information
The Embassy library is open to the public from 9.30 to 12.45 and from 14.00 to 17.00, Monday to Friday and is closed for British National Holidays and Embassy holidays.


The library stocks a variety of books in both Japanese and English. Daily newspapers in both languages are also kept in the library as well as a range of periodicals and government papers. Books (maximum of two) may be borrowed for up to two weeks on presentation of identification and an introductory letter on headed paper. We regret that there are no photocopying services available. The library is also able to provide a free video-viewing service and we also have a CD listening station where visitors can listen to all kinds of Japanese music. We invite you to come to the Embassy and see for yourself!