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

Seminars, Symposia, and Academic Conferences

Thursday, January 18 ~Friday, January 19, 2007
《Symposia and Forums》Colloquium "Preserving the Cultural Heritage of Africa: With Special Reference to the Situation of Mali, Tanzania, and Madagascar"

Date: January 18-19, 2007
Place: Seminar Room No. 6, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka

* This colloquium is open to the public.


JSPS Platform Program "Preserving the Cultural Heritage of Africa"

Today the outflow of cultural heritage of archeological or artistic values from Africa is emerging as a serious issue. In some cases looting has reached such a scale as to destroy archaeological sites totally. Few complete objects are kept in the original country, while many fine pieces can be found in major museums outside Africa including Japan. Meanwhile, there is a vigorous movement in many parts of Africa to build museums for the purpose of preserving and presenting on-site cultural heritage. This movement also challenges museums outside of Africa to review the prevalent one-sided approach to exhibitions of African treasures. It is now rather common for any museums to have close collaborative relationship with the people who are represented in the exhibitions.

Last year, we, the National Museum of Ethnology, intiated a 3 years project entitled 'Preserving the Cultural Heritage of Africa : from Memories to Histories' as one of the JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) Asia Africa Science Platform Program. The aim of the JSPS AA Science Platform Program is to create high potential research hubs in selected fields within the Asian and African region. It does this by establishing suitable collaborative relations among universities, research institues and museums in Japan and other Asian and African Countries. Our particular project, 'Preserving Cultural heritage of Africa' aims to construct a better international cooperation system for collection, analysis, exhibition and preservation of cultural heritage in Africa, with researchers' participation from African, European, American and Japanese institutes and museums.

In this colloquium, after sharing the purpose and general outline of the project among participating members, we plan to identify issues and agendas concerning the preservation and presentation of cultural heritage in Africa, with special reference of Mali and Madagascal, and to clarify strategies to overcome some of the issues in the remaining period of our project.

The National museum is now planning to renovate her permanent galleries, including African Gallery, by updating the contents. We also would like to take advantage of this occasion and get advice from African colleagues for the composition of the new exhibition.

We do believe that this colloquium is an important occasion for forming the foundation of a research hub which plays positive roles in preservation and presentation of cultural Heritage of Africa.


January 18(Thu.), 2007
10:30-11:45 "Outline of the Project" Kenji Yoshida & Tetsuya Kamei
11:45-12:00 Courtesy Visit to the Director
12:00-13:30 Lunch Break
13:30-16:30 "Cultural Heritage in Mali" Samuel Sidibe', Mali
"Cultural Heritage in Madagascar" Jean-Aime' Rakotoarisoa, Madagascar
January 19(Fri.), 2007
9:30-11:00 "Archaeology and Cultural Heritage in West Africa" Shouichiro Takezawa
11:00-12:30 Evaluation of Minpaku Africa Exhibition
12:30-14:00 Lunch Break
14:00-17:00 General Discussion
17:00 Closing

Participants from overseas

Director, Musee National du Mali
Jean-Aime' Rakotoarisoa
Director, Muse'e des Arts et d'Arche'ologie, Universite' d'Antananarivo

Participants from Japan

Kenji Yoshida
Professor, National Museum of Ethnology
Shoichiro Takezawa
Professor, National Museum of Ethnology
Yukiya Kawaguchi
Associate professor, National Museum of Ethnology
Naoko Sonoda
Associate professor, National Museum of Ethnology
Kazunobu Ikeya
Associate professor, National Museum of Ethnology
Hitomi Date
Associate Professor, Kyoto University of Art and Design
Tetsuya Kamei
Research staff, Open-Air Museum Little World
Taku Iida
Assistant Professor, National Museum of Ethnology
Shingo Hidaka
Assistant Professor, National Museum of Ethnology
Rumi Umino
Lecturer, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
Yukino Iwai
Lecturer, Waseda University
Naoaki Kobayashi
Lecturer, Ryukoku University
Mari Higaki
Lecturer, Waseda University
Noa Nishimoto
PhD Student, Kyoto University