Asian Books Space (ABS) is a special department of Library of Vytautas Magnus University, located in Vaclovas Biržiška Reading Room (Daukanto g. 52). The main objective of ABS is to fulfill the needs of students of East Asian studies programs (BA and MA level) and to manage the library funds regarding Asian studies systematically in Vytautas Magnus University.

History

Chiune Sugihara Reading Room was opened in November, 2008 (official opening was in October, 2009) and was one of eight Reading Rooms of VMU Library. This Reading Room, together with Centre for Asian Studies, was functioning in the historic building of Japanese diplomat Ch. Sugihara until 2016.

Owing to the processes of modernization, in summer of 2016 all the funds of the Ch. Sugihara Reading Room were moved to the central campus of university. The change of premises also enabled the consolidation of the funds for Asian studies. Now all the materials, located in V. Biržiška Reading Room, are joined to the ABS thus making it easier to find the necessary books. The opening of ABS took place on the 30th of September, 2016.

Library funds:

Since 1994 the collection is being supplemented with books donated by Lithuanian and Japanese people, diplomatic representatives from Asian countries and various foundations (The Japan Foundation, Korean Foundation, Nippon Foundation, Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation and others). Recently we make efforts to purchase more literature on East Asian issues written in English.

The reading room houses:

  • almost 7000 items of academic and fiction literature, which cover the fields of philosophy, religion, sociology, political science, education, art, history and others. Here you will find the biggest collection of literature on contemporary East Asian politics, international relations and economics in Lithuania. The collection of literature on Korean studies is the biggest in Baltic States. The majority of books are registered in (on-line catalogue of VMU library). Presently the ample collection of books donated by R. Neimantas is being processed;
  • Academic journals and magazines (Journal of Asian Studies, Acta Orientalia Vilnensia, Rytai-Vakarai, Logos, Regioninės studijos, Nichibunken, Nipponica and others);
  • Collection of articles on Asian and African countries, compiled by the famous Lithuanian author Romualdas Neimantas (1939-2009), which counts more than ten thousand pieces. The bibliography of Oriental studies in Lithuania together with publication copies was carefully collected in the period of 1959-2009 and it is the only bibliography of this kind in Lithuania. It includes the majority of published articles from Lithuanian newspapers and magazines of that time regarding Africa, Arab countries, Armenia, Georgia, India, Iran, Japan, China, Korea, Turkey and other countries of the Orient. The bibliography is a useful tool for researchers analyzing history of contacts between Lithuania and different Oriental countries or representation of these countries in Lithuanian media during a particular time period;
  • Japanese manga corner (about 700 books) – the only manga collection in Lithuania;
  • Textbooks, dictionaries, glossaries and other methodical resources for learning Asian languages;
  • DVD, video cassettes and other audio-visual materials. These materials include a lot of Korean and Japanese music and films;

Funds are expanding constantly by approximately 740 items a year. Presently, there are books in 27 languages for various topics but humanities in English consist the biggest part of it.

Support for the Library

  • 1994: Under the initiative of visiting professor R. Kojima VMU library recieved about 100 books on Japan. This was the start of collection compilement;
  • 2005: Chargé d‘affaires at the Embassy of Japan to Lithuania Mr. E. Kaneyasu donated a multi volume selection of M. Ogai writings;
  • since 2007: every year library receives book donations from the Japan Foundation;
  • 2008 Sept.: lecturer Jinseok Seo donated 50 books and dictionaries in Korean language;
  • since 2008: every year library receives book donations from Korean Foundation;
  • 2009 Oct.: Embassy of Japan to Lithuania donated a big part of books, displayed during Vilnius Book Fair (more than 600 items), which had been presented by Japanese Publishers‘ Association for cultural exchange;
  • 2009-2011: library received the collection of books “100 Books for Understanding Contemporary Japan” from Nippon Foundation;
  • 2010 Sept.: visiting professor Y. Ikegami donated about 50 books on Japanese culture and language research topics. Among them there is a multi volume Kodansha Encyclopedia (English edition);
  • 2010 Dec.: Embassy of People‘s Republic of China donated about 500 books on Chinese culture, history and contemporary issues;
  • since 2011: Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation (Taiwan) has been supporting the library by donating the books on Chinese and Taiwanese history, politics and economics;
  • 2011 Oct.: Embassy of Japan to Lithuania donated about 200 books;
  • 2011 Nov.: reading room was donated a significant collection of books on Asian and African countries (about 1500 volumes), as well as article collection (more than 10 000 items) compiled by the famous author of Oriental studies Mr. Romualdas Neimantas;
  • 2014 Jan.: vice-minister at the Minister Cabinet of Japan Mr. Yasutoshi Nishimura donated 200 books on modern Japanese politics, economics and society;
  • 2014 May: Confucius Institute donated 100 books on classical Chinese studies;
  • 2015 January: Literature Translation Institute of Korea (LTI Korea) donated 42 books, translated from Korean to English, Russian, Lithuanian. Books are dedicated to Korean literature – poetry, fiction, history of Literature;
  • 2015 May: 110 books were donated by Prof Kumiko Yamada (Rikkyou University, Tokyo). Majority of the books are dedicated to literature, art, history, social sciences;
  • 2015 December: about 200 books, which were donated by Dr Agnė Budriūnaitė, were introduced to Reading Room users. Collection was given to CAS according to Agne’s will. Great proportion of the collection is dedicated to Taoism, also religion, philosophy, culture;
  • 2016 April: Japan Foundation granted the funding for almost 150 books (cost exceeding 10.000€); books were delivered in April, 2017;
  • 2016 December: grant for expansion of library funds was granted by Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation; the grant covers 3 years, resulting in more than 120 books for Chinese studies;
  • 2016 October: Korea Foundation, continues the support, providing books for 2 000 000 Korean Won.

We also express our sincere thanks to all the people in Lithuania and other countries, who have contributed to the expansion of Library funds. Among them we would like to express a special gratitude to prof. A. Andrijauskas, dr. E. Sakurai, dr. M. Watanabe, R. Miseliūnas and others.


Supporting VMU library funds is one of the activities of the Centre for Asian Studies. If you wish to contribute to Centre‘s reading room funds, please contact the librarian of the reading room Mr. Arvydas Kumpis (e-mail: arvydas.kumpis@vdu.lt ).