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

Research Center for Cultural Resources

NOBAYASHI Atsushi [Ethnoarchaeology, material culture, Austronesian cultures; East Asia, Formosa]
NOBUTA Toshihiro [Social anthropology, Southeast Asian Studies]
YOSHIDA Kenji [Anthropology of expressive culture; Africa, Europe, Japan]
Associate Professor
FUKUOKA Shota [Ethnomusicology; Southeast Asia, Indonesia]
HAYASHI Isao [Social structure, cosmology, risk and disaster; Melanesia, Polynesia, Japan]
HIDAKA Shingo [Conservation science]
ITO Atsunori [Social anthropology, Native American studies, indigenous arts and intellectual property issues]
UEBA Yoko [Textile and handcraft; South Asia, Middle East]
YAMAMOTO Yasunori [Museum informatics]
Assistant Professor
KAWASE Itsushi [Visual anthropology]
TERAMURA Hirofumi [Culture and information science, Archaeological information]


The Research Center for Cultural Resources was opened in April 2004 with a view to conducting basic and developmental research to facilitate the systematic management of cultural resources, digitize such resources, share them with other research institutes, and use them for the good of society. The Center is also involved in planning and coordination in promoting the implementation of research projects. By making cultural resources widely available to researchers and society, the Center hopes to deepen public understanding of human cultures.

Cultural resources include a diverse variety of materials, both tangible and intangible, such as artifacts, information, knowledge, skills, know-how, human and organizational networks, and intellectual properties.

If such resources are to be shared with other organizations and used for the good of the public, they have to be managed systematically. The process requires a framework of alliances and international contributions.

Process of the collection of cultural resources and their sharing with society

The Research Center for Cultural Resources is responsible for conducting the basic and developmental research required for each of the above steps, and for undertaking the planning and coordination of programs suggested by the research. The Center hopes to thus enhance the value of cultural resources as shared intellectual properties of mankind and promote greater cross-cultural understanding.

The Center aims to establish a new museology that allows museums to engage with a wider range of stakeholders, and to explore new possibilities in cultural development.

Project Management System

At the Research Center for Cultural Resources, we aim to operate with clearly defined purposes, procedures, budgets, and responsible parties. Upon completion of projects, the results are evaluated to assist future project development.

These resource projects are carried out by relevant research and education staff members. Expert staff members of the Research Center for Cultural Resources and the Information and Documentation Center provide support and cooperation to the relevant staff in order to effectively promote these projects. Shown below is the relationship between developmental research projects/programs and the system to promote them.

Cultural Resource Projects

The purposes of the Cultural Resource Projects can be roughly divided into the following five categories.

  1. Survey and Collection Projects: To collect artifacts, audio-visual materials, and written materials through fieldwork.
  2. Materials Management Projects: To store and maintain cultural resources.
  3. Documentation and Digitization Projects: To digitize materials and produce multimedia content.
  4. Exhibition Development Projects: To plan for and organize exhibitions for the National Museum of Ethnology and other institutes.
  5. Community Alliance Projects: To forge networks with research institutes, museums, educational institutes, local communities, and industry, both in Japan and overseas, and to facilitate development and sharing of cultural resources through the networks.

Cultural Resource Projects in each category are carried out by researchers of the National Museum of Ethnology, through mutual cooperation.

Relationships among Cultural Resource Projects in each category

Other projects implemented under the leadership of the Rearch Center for Cultural Resources are shown below.

  • JICA Group Training Program: Administration of the Comprehensive Museology Course
  • Min-pack
  • Museum-School Partnership Program: Teacher Training Workshop 2007
    Held during the summer vacation every year, this program is designed to explore various possibilities in museum-school partnerships, focusing on the practical cases of using the exhibition halls and collections of the Museum for school education.
    In this, the third year of the implementation of the program, it is one of the events commemorating the Museum's 30th anniversary.
  • Volunteer activities
    Minpaku Museum Partners (MMP)
    the Earth's Story-telling Villege