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

Minpaku Special Research Projects

Minpaku Special Research Projects are international joint researches implemented with a solution-focused approach to tackle urgent challenges facing our contemporary civilization. The Research started in fiscal year 2016 and will continue for the six years of the third mid-term objective period, under the umbrella theme of “Contemporary Civilization and the Future of Humanity: Environment, Culture and Humans.”

The Western civilization constructed with sciences, technologies, politico-economic systems, social organization, and ideologies that originated in modern Europe has been believed to influence many other countries and areas of the world. Likewise, scientific and technological developments have been believed to enrich the human lives and societies. However,we can also argue that the price for this civilization in the form of population explosion, environmental destruction,war, resource depletion, water shortage, air pollution, and more. This has been a huge burden on human societies. Environmental destruction and population explosion are major challenges that need to be resolved. The former is apparent in all aspects of human life, from living space, to food supply and biodiversity to wars, pollution, global warming and disasters. Population explosion is a two-sided problem: the world’s population will exceed 10 billion in 2060 and approach the Earth’s environmental carrying capacity of 12 billion in 2100. In developed nations, fewer births and aging population have brought about significant difficulties in the sustenance and survival of families and human groups. Against this backdrop, we position the Special Research as research focusing on the analyses of, and solutions to, challenges faced by contemporary human societies. It is necessary to, hypothesize cultural phenomena that way directly and indirectly cause global-scale changes in environmental problems and the world's population, and to rethink contemporary civilization from the point of view of ‘wisdom’ of local communities that have responded to the civilizations. The aim is to answer the question on how we could create, from the conventional (traditional) set of values, a society that guarantees the coexistence of multiple sets of values and to present a vision of a future focused on the solutions of the problems that the human societies can select, by approaching the research subject as a contemporary system of problems in the multi-tier living space comprising the global space, community space, and societal space.

Historical Ecology of Biocultural Diversity: Use and Conservation of Endangered Animals, Plants, and Habitats(July 2016-March 2019)

Project Leader:IKEYA Kazunobu・KISHIGAMI Nobuhiro

 

Human and natural history on system of food production(April 2017-March 2020)

Project Leader:NOBAYASHI Atsushi