Written by Professor Stuart Kells
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The Diet is Japan’s national parliament, and the National Diet Library is Japan’s national library.
The Tokyo Main Library is the Diet Library’s principal site. Located in Chiyoda, a civic and parliamentary precinct whose buildings and streetscapes recall the centre of Washington DC, the library serves members of parliament and is also open to members of the public, who must register before entering.
The building itself features boarded concrete beams, stained glass and chunky tiles. The style is eighties high brutalism. The library is rich in Japanese and foreign literature, rare books, technical volumes and a multitude of other holdings. The total collection numbers in the tens of millions of items, making it one of the world’s most important.
Professor Stuart Kells is the author of The Library: A Catalogue of Wonders (Text Publishing), which was shortlisted for the Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award (for non-fiction) and the NSW Premier’s Literary Prize (general history), and is being published around the world.