The National Museum of Ethnology, Japan (Minpaku) is the only research institute of cultural anthropology and ethnology in the world, that is equipped with one of the world’s largest museum facilities as well as post-graduate educational facilities. This year, we are celebrating its 40th anniversary.
Human civilization today is facing the greatest turning point in several centuries. Up until recently, the group that was regarded as central watched and ruled in a unilateral manner the group regarded as peripheral. The dynamics of this power relationship seem to be changing now. These days, we witness that contacts, interactions and amalgamation, including the creative and the destructive, are occurring worldwide in a bilateral manner between those two entities, one used to be regarded as central and the other peripheral. I believe that the wisdom of cultural anthropology is needed now more than ever to establish a world where, while respecting diverse cultures, we will be able to live a peaceful life by bridging the gap between differentlanguages and cultures.
Acknowledging those changes in global trends, Minpaku carried out 10 years of overall renovation of its permanent facilities to exhibit cultures of various regions of the world in the Main Exhibition Building.The renovation was completed in March 2017. In addition, we also carried out overall renovation of our organizational structure. We are going to start promoting our research activities this April with the new structure that will meet the needs of the times. Our new sections are comprised of the Department of Human Basic Theories, the Department of Cross-disciplinary Field Science, the Department of Human Civilization Journals, the Department of Global Phenomena, and the Research and Development Center for Scientific Resources. Every section will cooperate with universities and research institutes in Japan and abroad. Its collaboration will extend to those who are in the source community, that is, the community of those who will become the direct subjects of research or from whom scientific materials will be collected.Minpaku will thus further the development and promotion of research activities based upon cooperation through global networks.
The design of the area for Main Exhibitions, which underwent a major renovation, is also stepping onto a new stage. Starting with the exhibit of researched information, which has been accumulated and maintained in the National Museum of Ethnology, Japan until present, we will develop and complete, in the near future, a system, with which users and researchers can freely extract researched information based on their particular interests, and efficiently employ it to further develop their investigations.
Through these activities, the National Museum of Ethnology, Japan is trying to establish, in a more evolved and substantial manner than ever before, the forum of wisdom. That is, a place where countless people will enjoy having intellectual interactions, sharing their discoveries and engaging in collaborative work.
I earnestly pray that all of us, hand in hand, will be able to keep developing the new National Museum of Ethnology, Japan. I sincerely ask for your cooperation and support.
April 1, 2017
Director-General of National Museum of Ethnology, Japan
The National Museum of Ethnology, known as Minpaku, was founded in 1974 and opened to the public in November 1977. Its goals are to conduct cultural anthropological and ethnological research and to increase awareness and understanding of societies and cultures around the world based on that research.