Scope and Goals



The Japanese Text Initiative (JTI) intends to put online on the Web texts of classical Japanese literature in Japanese characters. Our primary audience is English-speaking scholars and students. Where possible, the Japanese texts will be accompanied by English translations. All JTI texts will be tagged in Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), according to Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) standards, and converted to HTML or XML for display on the Web. An important purpose is to make JTI texts in both Japanese and English searchable, both individually and as a group.

Generally, the electronic texts at the E-Text Center site are not intended to be substitutes for authoritative printed editions. We do not put on the Web copyrighted texts, unless we have permission from the copyright holders. With some exceptions, the texts of current scholarly editions of literature in English, French, German, Japanese, and other languages are not freely available for sites such as ours. As a result, we use texts without copyright constraints, such as editions for which copyright has expired. These e-texts are therefore useful as supplements to current scholarly editions. What the e-texts add to those editions is the capability of rapid searching for words and characters, which would take considerably longer in printed texts.

In a few cases e-texts have been newly edited for this Web site, and so can be considered authoritative texts. Examples can be found in the British Poetry category at the E-Text Center, as well as our own edition of Kokinshu.


In the short term, we hope to put online most or all of the Twenty Classical Works in J. Thomas Rimer's A Reader's Guide to Japanese Literature, revised edition (New York: Kodansha, 1999). A longer-range goal is to add a wide range of pre-twentieth-century works. We also hope to add twentieth-century literature that does not have copyright restrictions.


Advisors for the Japanese Text Initiative are Professors J. Thomas Rimer and Mae J. Smethurst of the University of Pittsburgh and Professor Lewis Cook of Queens College of the City University of New York.

An Invitation:

We are actively soliciting participation in the Initiative by scholars of Japanese literature who can contribute Japanese texts or English translations. A knowledge of SGML or HTML is not required; staff assigned to the Initiative can do tagging of texts. If you are interested, please contact the Initiative's Coordinator, Sachiko Iwabuchi at the University of Virginia.

Japanese Text Initiative
Electronic Text Center | University of Virginia Library
PO Box 400148 | Charlottesville VA 22904-4148
434.243.8800 | fax: 434.924.1431
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Last Modified: Tuesday, September 01, 2015
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