Kiyo are journals published by Japanese academic institutions. As a scholarly communication medium, they have inherent problems such as limited accessibility and lack of quality control. Despite these problems, they have evolved to comprise the majority of academic journals published in the humanities and social sciences in Japan because they fit well within the culture of Japanese academia. Recent developments in digitization and open access to kiyo will help mitigate their limited accessibility. The increased availability of kiyo articles in electronic format to a wider range of scholarly readers may encourage improvements in quality.