“Aozora Bunko” is a Japanese digital library established in 1997 in response to copyright law changes in Japan. Its primary purpose is to provide free access to a vast collection of Japanese literature and written works that have entered the public domain or have been voluntarily submitted by their authors. The Aozora Bunko collection includes a diverse range of literary genres, such as novels, essays, poems, and children’s stories, all in digital format.
The project was founded by Michio Tomita, who, along with a group of dedicated volunteers, started converting literary works into digital text files.
One of the crucial aspects of Aozora Bunko is its compliance with copyright laws. Most works featured in the library have entered the public domain, which means their copyright has expired, making them available for public use without any legal restrictions. In Japan, copyright protection typically lasts for 50 years after the author’s death, although this can vary depending on the type of work and other factors. Aozora Bunko carefully curates its collection, ensuring that every addition to the library is legally available.