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

A study of the generation and regeneration of ethnicity and regions through the analysis Of National Hero movements

Joint Research Coordinator TSUDA Koji

Reserch Theme List


national heroes, regions and ethnicity, invention of culture


In today’s Indonesia small regions and ethnic groups responding to democratization of the central government and delegation of authority to localities by creating their own cultures and histories and seeking recognition at the national level are popping up everywhere. This research will compare these movements across a variety of regions and ethnic groups that are turning to cultural self-expression as they grope for new relationships between themselves and the central government. We will investigate how “region” and “ethnicity” that are not tied to returning to any particular geographical area affect the emergence and re-emergence of social groups from multiple perspectives: cultural, historical, political, and developmental. Concretely we will examine designation of national heroes as a means of promoting national unity: (1) reassessing the formation of the modern democratic nation state; (2) current national hero movements that move in a different direction, revitalization of regional loyalties and creation of regional cultures; and (3) aiming to clarify through investigation of local motives and background as well as shared historical process the role of “region” and “ethnicity” in decentralizing nation states, from the perspectives of global political economy and democratization.