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

Anthropological Study of Circum-Japan Sea Culture Focusing on the Environment, Resources and Trade

Joint Research Coordinator OHTSUKA Kazuyoshi

Reserch Theme List


The ocean around Japan has given birth to a wide diversity of microclimatic zones and biological strata. Against this background, within these ocean regions various human groups using the diverse natural resources have coexisted. While establishing ties of coexistence or confrontation through trade and other forms of contact, they have engaged in fast-changing and repetitive patterns of unification and splitting. With these patterns of unification and separation having attracted attention, speculation has arisen that based upon the distribution and properties of key natural resources, relations with China, Russia and other major powers, and other factors, we could see the circum-Japan Sea region divide into a number of clusters. Based on such an hypothesis, the establishment of small culture zones within this circum-Japan Sea region to understand regional history could be a beneficial approach to forecasting contemporary international relations.