Bibliography of the Herpetology of Japan – Introduction

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THROUGHOUT HISTORY one of the chief problems facing investigators in the natural sciences has been the communication of their ideas and the results of their work to fellow investigators. The main difficulty in this respect may date back to Biblical times when at Babel “the Lord did there confound the language of the earth.” Much duplication of research has resulted from the fact that records of earlier work in other countries have been unavailable to investigators.

Recognition of the fact that this condition existed in regard to the fauna of Japan was forcibly brought to my attention during the course of a year’s stay in that archipelago. Of the large numbers of excellent papers, monographs, and books published in Japan on the subject of herpetology, only a small fraction has been listed in the Zoological Record and similar publications in occidental countries. Western authors dealing with the fauna of these regions have had to depend on the small amount of material published in European languages and on the few translations they could obtain. The Japanese language is exceedingly hard to master, and most Japanese authors have unfortunately neglected to supply resumes in one of the Congress languages for the convenience of fellow investigators. This has tended to increase the confusion.

For these reasons the desirability of compiling a bibliography of the herpetology of that zoogeographically interesting region became apparent. I have started this project with the full realization that its eventual completion must depend on the cooperation of herpetologists, both here and in Japan, since language difficulties make it improbable that this list is complete. It is more incomplete perhaps than any bibliography has a right to be, but it should be considered more as an initial compilation to be added to later, than as an exhaustive bibliography. I would appreciate it if those who either have information concerning items not included herein, or know of the location of any paper marked “not seen” (*), would communicate with me through the Department of Amphibians and Reptiles of the American Museum of Natural History. A supplement to, or perhaps a revised edition of, this Bibliography will be published if the response warrants it.


The papers included have been confined to those dealing with recent reptiles and amphibians of the chain of islands lying off the coast of Asia, enumerated as follows: the four main islands of Japan (Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku), the Kurile, Bonin, and Riu Kiu archipelagoes, and the islands of Tsushima and Formosa. For purposes of comparison a few papers dealing with the fauna of Quelpaert Island and that of the southern half of the island of Sakhalin have been included. However, the great mass of papers published in Japan on Korean, Manchurian, Chinese, as well as European and American species has not been included. General natural histories and material of a similar nature have also been omitted. The period covered is from 1782 to November, 1947.


The papers listed are arranged alphabetically under the authors’ names. To eliminate confusion, in both single and joint authorships the surname is always given first. No title has been changed in any way, with the exception of Japanese items that have been translated.

An Index to scientific names of species found within the area covered, and to their synonyms mentioned by authors, will be found at the end of the Bibliography. Scientific names whose changed spelling was of an obviously typographical nature have been listed under the correct name to avoid unnecessary complications and to facilitate the use of the Index.


Abbreviations are used for the title of all journals or serials except those in which only a few papers dealing with the herpetological fauna of Japan have appeared. A Table of Abbreviations is given at the end of the Introduction. If one of the items listed in the Bibliography was originally published in a language other than that of its title as given herein, a note, such as JAP/G Res (i.e., Japanese with German resume), has been included immediately after the title. Numbers after a publication title, and separated from such abbreviation by a comma, indicate in this order: series (Arabic in parentheses), volume (Roman), number (Arabic), article (Arabic in parentheses), and pagination (Arabic after colon).

Abstracts in the Japanese Journal of Zoology and other publications have been listed only under each paper, and no reference is included under the name of the abstracting author. The only exception to this rule is in cases where a review appeared in an American journal and no abstract is available. Neither abstracts nor reviews have been listed for any paper which originally appeared in one of the Congress languages.

An asterisk (*) before a reference indicates that the article was not seen by me and that the reference was obtained from another bibliography; for this reason, many references are incomplete. Information as to where copies of such articles could be consulted would be greatly appreciated.

The entries in this Bibliography have been numbered serially. These numbers, listed before the date, refer solely to the Index. Deletions from and additions to the list account for the gaps in the numerical sequence and the duplicate numbers with identifying letters.

The following example should clarify the methods of abbreviation’ used:

SMITH, JAMES *1947. Notes on Japanese frogs. JAP TIZ, LXVII 12: 249-57. Abs: 0. Moti, JJZ, XXV: (37-8).

This means that a paper in Japanese by James Smith entitled “Notes on Japanese frogs” was published in 1947 in volume 67, number 12, on pages 249 to 257 of the Tokyo Igaku Zasshi, abstracted by 0. Moti on pages 37 to 38 of the abstracts section of volume 25 of the Japanese Journal of Zoology, and that I was unable to obtain a copy for examination or for inclusion in the Index.


I am most grateful to Mr. Charles M. Bogert, Chairman of the Department of Amphibians and Reptiles of the American Museum of Natural History, for use of departmental facilities, and to Dr. James A. Oliver, formerly of the same institution, for his help and many pertinent suggestions during the course of the work. My thanks are also extended to Dr. Masamitsu Oshima, who helped with the translations and also obtained for me many rare items, to his brother, Mr. Rinzo Oshima, who was instrumental in procuring most of the Japanese translations and without whose most generous help this work would never have been completed; and to Miss Ruth Tyler, Editor of Scientific Publications of the. American Museum of Natural History, for her aid with the manuscript and the proofs.

I desire likewise to express my heartiest thanks to the following individuals and institutions; Miss Hazel Gay and other members of the staff of the American Museum Library, Mr. Arthur Loveridge of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard College, Mrs. Ruth Sprecher, Reference Librarian of the Iowa State College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts, the Farlow Reference Library of Cryptogamic Botany at Harvard, the Libraries of Columbia University, the New York Academy of Medicine Library, the New York Public Library, the Boston Medical Society’s Library, the Library of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, the United States Department of Agriculture Library, the Library of Congress, and the War Department Medical Library. I should like to extend my appreciation to all these and to others too numerous to mention, who assisted in this work.

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