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

An Interdisciplinary Study of Children’s Culture and Society from the Viewpoint of Their Artifacts in Modern Japan

Joint Research Coordinator KORESAWA Hiroaki

Reserch Theme List


modern Japan, view on children, children's society


The Tada Collection (known as the "Toys of the Times"), housed at the National Museum of Ethnology, is an archive of more than 50,000 different kinds of child-related objects, mostly toys, that spans from the Edo Period to the years following WWII. These objects vividly illustrate how the people and society of each era perceived children. However, in modern times toys and other child-related objects have become marketed as consumed commodities, and thus the lack of remaining specimens makes it difficult to understand their true nature. The Tada Collection holds special value, because it serves as a rare example of a comprehensive assortment of child-related goods.
In this study, specialists from various fields, such as specialist in children's behavior, art historians, toy researchers, historians, folklorists, cultural geographers, and conservation scientists, assembled to examine the collection. The materials will be analyzed from various angles and from a broad perspective to understand better the entire collection. In addition, the collection will be used to provide a specific and detailed portrayal of the true state of the culture and the society of children in modern Japan. This is a topic that is only vaguely understood. Based on the results of the analysis, an up-to-date view of children will be proposed, and an exhibition organized to present this new view to the general public.