KL has its fair share of libraries, but did you know that there’s one dedicated exclusively to promoting Japanese language, arts and culture? And it’s been around since the 1990s!
The Japan Foundation Kuala Lumpur Library is located on the 18th floor of Northpoint in Kuala Lumpur, and was established by the Japan Foundation Kuala Lumpur (JFKL) – a semi-government entity under the Foreign Ministry of Japan, which seeks to promote mutual understanding of Japan in other countries, mainly through the areas of arts and culture. Back in the day, the Internet was not as readily accessible as it is today, and the library was setup to provide students of the Japanese language in Malaysia with learning resources. Today, it boasts an impressive collection of over 14,000 books, CDs, DVDs and other materials.
The library’s Japanese decorations are immediately apparent, from the traditional wall hangings that feature subjects such as dragons and tigers, to the dolls dressed in elaborate kimonos that greet visitors at the counter. There’s even a tatami room, complete with sliding doors and papier mache lanterns to give it that Zen vibe.
As for reading material, they come in various genres, in both English and Japanese: from novels and literature from bestselling authors such as Haruki Murakami and Keigo Higashino, to Japanese language books, exercise books for learners, the latest magazines in fashion, entertainment and travel, manga, as well as cookbooks.
Children’s books section.
A quiet corner with a view of the city. Members (you can sign up by providing two passport sized photos and pay a RM10 annual fee) can utilise the audio /visual equipment to listen to recordings, or watch films and documentaries.
My favourite section was definitely the manga corner, which had tatami mats where you can lounge with a book in hand. They’ve got popular titles such as Slamdunk, Bleach and One Piece, to name a few.
Verdict: The library isn’t massive, but I like how fun and educational it is, especially for lovers of Japanese culture. The only downside I can think of is that it’s not very accessible, even though it’s open to the public. Since it’s part of the JFKL, the library is located within an office building, and you’ll need to register at the security office before you can proceed to the 18th floor. Parking is also difficult to get if you’re driving, so I suggest parking at Mid Valley and walking over from the connecting bridge, or just taking a Grab.
JAPAN FOUNDATION KUALA LUMPUR LIBRARY
18th Floor, Northpoint, Block B, Mid Valley City, No 1, Medan Syed Putra, 59200, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Opening hours: Tuesday–Friday (10.30 a.m.–6.30 p.m), Saturday (10.00 a.m.–6.00 p.m). Closed on Sunday, Monday and Public Holidays.
Contact: 03 2284 6228 (ext. 401/402/403) or email firstname.lastname@example.org