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

The Anthropology of Materiality, Focusing On Physicality, Sensuosity, and Ontology

Joint Research Coordinator FURUYA Yoshiaki

Reserch Theme List


Even in the human and social sciences we are seeing how the spread of virtual reality through the Internet and other technologies has led to a rapid decline in the importance assigned to material reality. Humanity continues, however, to live in a material world of organic and inorganic, natural and artificial things. The materiality of this world is conveyed to us through our senses, which are themselves thoroughly material phenomena. This project grew out of the recognition that despite the material realities that are foundational for human lives, materiality is a topic neglected by anthropology. Thus, our aim is to radically rethink the significance of materiality from the perspectives of physicality, sensuosity, and ontology. In addition we aim to explore materiality through case studies based on fieldwork that involves tactile feel, and to provide examples for further research.