Asian Studies

Resources and facilities

Libraries, collections, cultural and social spaces, on campus and in the city.

On campus

When you are on campus, you can expect to spend most of your time in the University of Edinburgh's Central Area - in class (if taking a taught course), in the library, or in one of the University’s many social and support spaces.

The Central Area is located on the edge of Edinburgh's historic Old Town, surrounded by lots of green space.

Take a virtual tour of the Central Area

Libraries, collections and centres

East Asian Studies Collection

The University's East Asian Studies Collection is one of the most significant of its kind in the UK and the only one of its kind in Scotland.

Established in 1966, it now contains around 60,000 resources, both print and digital, published mainly in China (including Taiwan), Japan, and Korea. 

The Collection includes:

  • over 45,000 titles in the Chinese language
  • over 5,000 holdings in Japanese
  • a dedicated Korea Collection supported by the Korea Foundation

In addition to more than 600 films in the East Asian Studies Collection, our School's Learning Resource Centre has several hundred feature and documentary films related to China, Japan and Korea.

Browse the University's holdings in East Asian Studies

The Main University Library subscribes to around 50 online resources in the English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages. Formats include:

  • bibliographic indexes
  • e-books and e-journals
  • digitised classics
  • full-text dissertations
  • newspaper archives

Browse databases in East Asian Studies

Centre for Research Collections

Based in the Main University Library, the Centre for Research Collections brings together:

  • more than 400,000 rare books
  • six kilometres of archives and manuscripts
  • thousands of works of art, historical musical instruments and other objects

The Centre's treasures include over 100 rare and pre-1900 Chinese and Japanese books including a commentary on the classic Chinese text Yi Jing (Book of Changes). Written by the scholar Hu Guang c. 1413, this was printed in 1440 using block printing and donated to the University in 1628. It is the oldest printed book in the University's collections.

Events and activities

The Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA) supports more than 300 student-led societies and clubs.

From acting to dancing, making friends in language cafes, to campaigning on global issues, these student-led groups offer lots of ways to engage.

Societies typically include:

  • the Anime Society
  • the China Futures Society
  • the Japan Society

EUSA also supports Peer Support Groups for both Chinese Studies and Japanese Studies, where students across year groups help each other with specific study skills, topics or themes.

The Tandem Language Exchange provides opportunities to pair up with native speakers for language exchange and practice.

Mandarin speakers can hone their speaking skills by joining the Mandarin Debating Team, which competes in the UK and internationally.

Find a Student Society or Peer Support Group on the Edinburgh University Students' Association website

Find out more about the Mandarin Debating Team on the team's blog site

Staff-led events

Our Asian Studies seminar series features visiting speakers from around the world. The seminars are also a great way to meet students and staff in Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

Other events in Asian Studies include film screenings, guest lectures, performances and student workshops, including with visiting Noh masters from Japan.

We encourage and facilitate our students to get involved in international competitions, including The Chinese Bridge, Mandarin Debating Championships, and the British Association for Teaching Japanese's Japanese Speech Contest. These competitions test both language proficiency and cultural knowledge and typically offer great prizes, as well as opportunities to travel and meet new people.

Explore what's on in Asian Studies

In the city

Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections.

The city's resources for studying literatures, languages and cultures are exceptional.

Many of them are located close to the University's Central Area, making them easy to access between classes.

Highlights include:

  • National Library of Scotland
  • National Museum of Scotland
  • Scottish Poetry Library
  • Scottish Storytelling Centre
  • Filmhouse cinema
  • The Cameo cinema
  • Traverse Theatre
  • Writers’ Museum

Discover more about the city's cultural resources