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

The Transition of Japan to a Multiethnic Society

Joint Research Coordinator SHOJI Hiroshi

Reserch Theme List


This research was launched during the last fiscal year with the goals of providing support for research for the special exhibition scheduled to open at MINPAKU in the spring of 2004 entitled “Multiethnic Japan – Life and History of Immigrants,” and seeing the results reflected in the exhibition. The exhibition will reconfirm the changes in Japanese society and the consciousness of the Japanese people against the backdrop of a rapid rise in the number of foreigners living in Japan over the past decade or so. The exhibition also seeks to identify ways for the Japanese to live cooperatively with foreigners, as Japan is expected to continue becoming more ethnically diversified.
When established last fiscal year to carry out preparatory research for this special exhibition, we began collecting various kinds of research materials defining the historical circumstances behind the shift to ethnic diversity, trends in multicultural and pluralistic coexistence arising from social, political, cultural, administrative and ideological factors, the backgrounds to the arrival in Japan of several different ethnic groups, the course of their setting down roots, lifestyle patterns and relations with Japanese society. We also investigated effective exhibition methods that would facilitate receptivity to the concept of living together in harmony. During this fiscal year, in addition to putting in order this research, we are evaluating the ideals of the exhibition and the actual form of exhibition that it will take as well as comprehensively evaluating exhibitions on multiethnicity.