Historical Recordings Collection

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About the Historical Recordings Collection


This site

This website enables you to find and play only historical recordings collection within the NDL Digital Collections.

The nickname of this website is Rekion, an abbreviation of 歴史的音源 (Historical Recordings Collection), pronounced rekishiteki ongen in Japanese.


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

Note:The National Diet Library does not own the original 78-rpm phonographs, metal discs, or other media from which the digital sound recordings of the Historical Recordings Collection were made.
 In some cases, however, it does have 78-rpm phonographs of the same title.

Press releases of HiRAC and articles of the National Diet Library Monthly Bulletin on the Historical Recordings Collection can be read here. #Text language is Japanese.

Copyrights/Access restrictions

Copyright (and related rights) of recordings belongs to the copyright (and related rights) holder of each sound recording.

Recordings, whose right of public transmission has been cleared, are available on the Internet.→Recordings available online

Other recordings are available only at the Rekion partner libraries and the National Diet Library.→All Recordings

Historical Recordings Streaming Service to libraries

We mainly provide the service of streaming all historical recordings to public libraries in Japan. To join the Rekion partner libraries which can listen to all historical recordings, your library should apply to the NDL.

Detailed information of the Historical recordings streaming service to public libraries can be found at this page.

List of the current Rekion partner libraries

Number of recordings/Lists

Current number of recordings can be checked in the search results.

All recordings  Recordings available online

List [CSV format] All recordings (as of January 27, 2021) [9.50MB] | recordings available online (as of January 27, 2021) [1.05MB]

List [XLSX format] All recordings (as of January 27, 2021) [3.56MB] | recordings available online (as of January 27, 2021) [406KB]


The metadata (the information regarding each recording) will be displayed on the left-side of the audio play screen.

Metadata of each recording are based on the data described by the HiRAC. (Recording companies made metadata such as Title, Creator, Label Name, Subject, etc., when they digitized historical recordings.)


This site enables you to find recordings by genre. About genres (broad category, sub-genres) described in metadata, see the List of genres in the Historical Recordings Collection (Japanese).

List of recordings by broad category can be shown at “Browse by Genre” on the top page of Rekion. Recordings by more detailed category (sub-genres) can be shown using advanced search.

Notes for searching by genre
  • In the Search Results, up to 3,000 records will be shown per one search. If more than 3,000 records are hit, please refine the results using the facets in the left-hand column.
  • In some of the recordings, genres were not assigned.
  • “劇音楽”(Theatrical music) includes opera, musical, ballet and film music.
  • “三味線楽(浄瑠璃)”(Shamisen music and narratives (Joruri)) includes古浄瑠璃(old joruri), 義太夫節(gidayu-bushi), 河東節,一中節,宮薗(薗八)節,荻江節,常盤津節,富本節,清元節,and 新内節.
  • Genres of each recording can be shown on “Subject” in the detailed record of metadata displayed on the left-side of the play screen.
    “Subject” has two types of description. One is the subject which was described by the HiRAC, the other is the term of genre controlled and assigned by NDL. In the latter case, it will be described as “統制語:XXX”(“統制語” means controlled-vocabulary. XXX is a term of genre), and it had been assigned automatically based on the subject described by the HiRAC.
    In advanced search, finding recordings by the subject described by HiRAC is possible by using the search field, “Genres”. However, to obtain the search results of the same genre free of orthographic variation between each recording company or period (e.g. “民謡” and “俚謡”, “歌謡曲” and “流行歌”), terms of the broad category or sub-genres assigned by NDL should be used.

Recommended environment / How to use

See Help page.


In case of linking each recordings, please use the URL like this https://rekion.dl.ndl.go.jp/info:ndljp/pid/{number} on the browser’s address bar.

URL of the front page is https://rekion.dl.ndl.go.jp/?__lang=en.

For linking, the banner below is available.



NDL does not provide the service for reproduction. Recordings are available only by streaming.


See “disclaimer” in the site policy on the NDL website.