National Diet Library Digital Collections

Historical Recordings Streaming Service to libraries

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This page provides information of the Historical Recordings Streaming Service to libraries.

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About Historical Recordings Collection

To prevent loss of the sound recordings due to scatter and deterioration of 78 rpm records which are historical and cultural resources as recordings made in the early years, the Historical Records Archive Promotion Conference (HiRAC) was established in 2007. HiRAC had digitized approximately 50,000 recordings of music and speeches etc. from 78 rpms and metal discs produced from around 1900 to 1950 in Japan.

The affiliated bodies of HiRAC (at the time of the foundation):

  • Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK: Japan Broadcasting Corporation)
  • Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC)
  • Japan Council of Performers Rights & Performing Arts Organizations (GEIDANKYO)
  • Japan Traditional Cultures Foundation
  • Visual Industry Promotion Organization (VIPO)
  • Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ)

In May 2011, the National Diet Library launched the release of the Historical Recordings Collection to make these valuable recordings available to the public. Approximately 50,000 recordings digitized by HiRAC had been released up to September 2013.

HiRAC press release (on the website of RIAJ)

National Diet Library Monthly Bulletin No.606 (September, 2011)

Handing down the history of music (P.4-) [PDF: 3.32MB]

  • P.4- Digitizing 78 rpm records: for use and preservation / So Fujimoto (Director, Japan Traditional Cultures Foundation)
  • P.7- Providing historical recordings / Digital Library Division, Kansai-kan of the National Diet Library
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All recordings are available at the Rekion partner libraries

Some of the historical recordings, whose right of public transmission has been cleared are available on the Internet. However, most of the historical recordings except those described above are available only at the National Diet Library (NDL, Japan) and the Rekion partner libraries. The Rekion partner libraries enable us to provide all historical recordings to library users by streaming (Downloading is not allowed), and this service is free.

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About recordings in Rekion and Lists

The Historical Recordings in Rekion have a variety of genres, such as Rakugo, Nagauta, Musical composition (Guitar, Koto, Shakuhachi), Opera, Joruri (Gidayu-bushi, Kiyomoto-bushi, Tokiwazu-bushi), Naniwa-bushi (also called Rokyoku), popular music, speeches, jazz ,etc.

A recording titles can be viewed in the lists below. In the lists, each recording has the data of the subject described by HiRAC and also the subject assigned by NDL using controlled terms.

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Rekion libraries

  • Public libraries provided in for Article 2 ,Japanese Library Act
  • Research libraries and institutions approved by RIAJ (Recording Industry Association of Japan) and NDL

We will provide streaming service to the libraries which agree the regulation of participation [PDF:276KB] and send application documents to us.

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How to join the Rekion partner libraries

  1. Prepare a PC connected to the Internet.
    Prepare headphones as well if needed.
  2. Check computer compatibility with the service.

    *Recommendations for optimal performance
    ・Please use the latest version of a web browser/player which supports HTTP Live Streaming (HLS)*.
     *Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Safari, or the preinstalled player of Android/iOS
     (Internet Explorer is not supported.)

    ・We have confirmed operations in the environments below:
     Mozilla Firefox 55, Google Chrome 60, Safari, preinstalled player of Android 6/iOS 10

    Please access the following website and confirm whether you are able to stream recordings via the Internet.
    You can stream recordings if you can see the picture below and hear sound.
  3. Check network compatibility with the service.
    You need to inform us of the global IP address of the computer terminal to be used for the service.
  4. Disable any retransmission and copying from the PC.
    • Disable any USB ports on the computer
    • Disable installation of software for retransmission and copying
  5. Fill out the application for participation (DOCX:19KB) and the checklist for computer and network compatibility (XLSX:14KB), and send them by email.
    Email address: rekion4Lib{at} National Diet Library Kansai-kan, Digital Library Division, Historical Recordings Collection (Please change {at} to @.)
    *At this point, you do not need to send an official signature, but please send us the official application with a signature by mail after the test.
  6. Test
    After checking your application and checklist, we will email you to decide the date of test, and will send you test tools and documents about how to test.
  7. Send the application for participation by mail
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Contact information

Inquiries and comments about the Historical Recordings Streaming Service to libraries can be sent to the following address.
If you have any questions about compatibility, we would be grateful if you send the “Checklist for computer and network compatibility”.

  • Email address: rekion4Lib{at} (Please change {at} to @.)

If you have other questions about the NDL digital collections, please see the “Contact Us” page.

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