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

An Anthropological Study of the Administration of Sacred Spaces

Joint Research Coordinator NAKAMAKI Hirochika

Reserch Theme List


Minpaku joint research has in the past considered such topics as the sacred space of corporations in terms of their Shinto shrines (jinja) or cemeteries, as well as corporate museums. In this research project, we would like to expand the scope of study to dig deeper into such themes from the sacred sites associated with corporate foundations and intra-company ceremonies to more extensively local ceremonies and urban management. At the same time, we want to advance the research from the standpoint of what relationship sacred religious sites have with companies. 

Concerning local ceremonies, we intend to examine the question of how the existence of companies demands certain essential rites, analyze the administrative side of how a city can be temporarily transformed into sacred space, and research the symbiotic relationship between economic activities and lifestyles. Especially in connection with urban administration, we want to pursue research focusing on creative cities and multicultural policies in connection with such themes as companies and their employees, local residents and foreigners living in Japan. We would like to see the kind of participation there has been in community-building regarding sacred space, as well as how cities have provided direction in this regard.

Concerning religious sacred space, our analysis will concentrate on areas that are the sacred space of religious community or are registered world heritage sites, from the standpoint of management, not just in terms of those parties connected with the religion in question but also in terms of corporations and administrative authorities.