The National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku) is a research center for ethnology and cultural anthropology.

Minpaku Kids’ World: Objects as Ties between Children and Their Society

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Minpaku Kids' World: Objects as ties between Children and their Society

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Belly button Hill Blessings: Presents for Children
Blessings: Japanese Wishes for the Healthy Development of Children
Children in Japan: Changes in Their Learning and Play
[First Floor]
On the first floor, with the theme “Gifts for Children”, we think of the relationship between children and adults through the objects which children use in various regions of the world. Then, we look at the ways Japanese children’s learning and play have changed through history.
We pass through to the main Exhibition Hall through a long, dimly-lit tunnel, listening carefully, and walking in the direction from which we can hear the sound of human voices.
Bellybutton Hill
Here, we are all newborn babies. First, we get our umbilical cords cut and are given our first bath. Then, we let the surroundings know we are born.
We newborn babies are now given our names and people recognize that we have come to join their society. Each name has its own significance and forms part of our identity.
In many societies, the cradle is the first place where children live. In this section, we compare the shape of cradles from various regions of the world and imagine the baby developing there.
Blessings: Presents for Children
A child grows up receiving a variety of gifts from many people, such as parents, brothers and sisters, and relatives and neighbors in the society. These gifts carry with them kind thoughts from those who care about the child.
Blessings: Japanese Wishes for the Healthy Development of Children
In Japan, some rites of passage, such as that for a new-born baby (Hatsumiyamairi) or those celebrating the coming of age, such as that for a 20-year old (Seijinshiki), have been passed down for many generations, people pray for the healthy growth of their children. The relationship between children and adults can be perceived through these caring customs.
Children’s Perception of Their Natural Environment
Children perceive nature differently from adults. We may discover something that we have overlooked in nature through appreciating the drawings of landscapes by our children.
Children’s Perception of Their Environment Viewed through Posters
The posters exhibited in this section are contributions from children all over the world to the United Nations’ International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment. These enable us to see how things we take for granted in our own country are perceived by children in other countries.
Children in Japan: Changes in Their Learning and Play
Schools, text books, toys and the games children play change through the time. We compare text books and toys which were used in different periods. Were these objects used sometime by somebody in your family?
Admission Charges (good for an admission for both Permanent and Special Exhibition Halls):
Adults ¥420 (Individual) / ¥350 (Group: 20 persons or more)
Students ¥250 (Individual) / ¥200 (Group: 20 persons or more)
Children ¥110 (Individual) / ¥90 (Group: 20 persons or more)
* A discounted rate is applicable for the following visitors (an ID is required): Visitors doing research for university coursework (conditions apply), repeat visitors within 3 months, and people over 65. For more details, please check our website or contact us.
* Admission is free every Saturday for primary school, junior high school, and high school students.
* Admission is free on May 5.