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

Reconsideration of Knowledge on Education of Cultural Anthropology in Japan

Joint Research Coordinator OKADA Hiroki

Reserch Theme List


The objective of this research project is to investigate anthropological education in the schooling process and in general outline texts, especially within universities and general society, the history of its spread, present conditions and the outstanding problems, so as to be able to determine problem aspects of the present situation about knowledge of anthropology in Japanese society. In addition, we intend to investigate related issues about how Japanese anthropologists have been using ethnographic materials for education and distribution. The knowledge we gain from these studies should allow us to gather together basic materials for improving instruction in anthropology-related lecture courses, and look into the possibilities for a digital database for educational purposes. We also would like to investigate viewpoints and problems for analyzing the present situation to show the direction we should go in the future.

Research Results

In this research, not only did we rely on the format of previous research groups, whereby discussions followed presentations made by guest speakers and team members, we also featured joint work by team members and continuing research concerning such work. We opened up to the outside in terms of the research process and data, and we tried to research and create content of a kind that would invite participation in the discussions. We brought together basic materials which might be used to improve instruction in anthropology-related lecture courses, and investigated the possibilities for a digital database. Some of our findings were collected in “Verification of the Frequency of Appearance of Key Terminology in Postwar Anthropology Texts in Japan and Various Issues with Creating a Data Base,” editorial supervision by Hiroki Okada, Kiyoshi Kawamura, et. al. (2005 Shibusawa Ethnography Promotion Project of the Public Service Trust Fund for the Promotion of Ethnological Studies). We then investigated the orientations and viewpoints of the data obtained. These research papers are scheduled to appear in a volume containing MINPAKU reports.
Secondly, this joint research committee invited as special lecturers some of their forerunners responsible for postwar anthropological education in Japan. These lecturers raised controversial points. At the same time, they participated in the discussions, leaving behind historical declarations concerning the present state of anthropological education in Japan. Together these discussions hopefully helped us to identify goals for future investigations of problems. However, due to changes in the composition of the joint research committee, official duties and other reasons we were not able to hold a sufficient number of meetings. We were able to only interview a few individuals.