Aozora Bunko

Aozora Bunko (Japanese青 空 文库, dt "Library of the blue sky " ) is a Japanese project to build an electronic library of freely accessible texts, similar to the Project Gutenberg. On the website are literary works of Japanese writers and poets, primarily from the Meiji and early Showa period, the copyright has expired, or where the copyright has been transferred to Aozora offered free of charge. In addition, translations of foreign works, and even edited by the authors of works of contemporary literature are offered. The project was launched by the publisher and author Michio Tomita 1997.


In Japan, the copyright has been running 50 years after the author's death. Therefore, there is on the side of earlier texts as, for example, the Project Gutenberg. In connection with the improvement of trade, the U.S. and Japanese governments began in 2003, the U.S. Japan Regulatory Reform and Competition Policy Initiative. This initiative saw among other things the Japanese copyright law for individuals to 70 to extend the legal persons to 95 years. The project was opposed to the extension of copyright to 70 years, collected from 2007 signatures against the extension. With the change of government from the LDP to the Democratic Party in 2009, this initiative has been tipped by the Cabinet Yukio Hatoyama.

The contents of the presented works ranging from politics to poetry to crime fiction and popular fiction. Most the complete works of an author is not available, but are also writings with small scale out, which can serve as introductory material. About the beginning of 2011 the project step, the number of 10,000 documents.

The source is a loose format text file without pictures and illustrations, as the author of the illustrations and the text are often different persons and, therefore, the duration of copyright is different. The texts are available as either text file encoded with the character set JIS X 0208, or as XHTML file in a Aozora own formatting. In the XHTML files, the Ruby extension of the W3C is used. The files also can be used on mobile phones and PDAs.

A problem with the Aozora project fights from the beginning, is the lack of volunteer proofreaders. The lyrics are also input by volunteers and edited and proofread and improved in a second step by the group of proofreaders. The texts will be made ​​publicly available until after the completion of the correction. The lack of proofreaders always led to the fact that a large number of texts as declared waiting for correction and so are not accessible.


The website of the Aozora project offers both a property, as well as an index of persons. The data can be downloaded as a list in CSV format and as a compressed ZIP file. Details can also be called as a web page as follows:

  • Xxxxxx is the six-digit identification number of the person sought ( with leading zeros)
  • Yyyyyy is the up to six-digit identification number of the required work Example: Setting the Faraday no (ID: 46340 ) Aichi, Keiichi (ID: 1234) gives:

In addition there is a separate collection of essays ( Zuihitsu ).