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


Sasaki, Komei
Research on the Ethnogenesis of the Japanese People: Review and Outlook
Ota, Shimpei
Blood and Occupation: on Scholar-Bureaucrat Identity And Its Modern Change in Korea
Sketches of Hagiography: From the Deeds of the Guiding Beings to the Final Realization

Research on the Ethnogenesis of the Japanese People: Review
and Outlook
Komei Sasaki
This paper outlines the development of post-war era research concerninghe ethnogenesis of the Japanese people, beginning with theories advocated by Masao Oka and Kunio Yanagita, the “Comparative Analyses of Japanese Ethnogenesis,” undertaken by the National Museum of Ethnology, up to the “Interdisciplinary Study on the Origins of Japanese Peoples and Cultures,” led by the International Research Center for Japanese Studies. This paper also summarizes how theories concerning ethnogenesis have changed over the years and points to some problems pertaining to research on this theme. In conclusion, this paper presents the following four observations:
1. Through continued research on this topic, we have come to share the recognition that Japanese culture cannot simply be defined as a single, homogeneous, rice-growing one. Instead, it is a combination of several cultures with different origins and is multi-dimensional and multi-layered in nature.
2. The evolution of archaeology, anthropology, genetics, and other relevant sciences, as well as cooperation with researchers specializing in these fields, has contributed to remarkable progress in ethnogenetic research. While such a cooperative approach will take on greater importance in the future, successful implementation of comprehensive multi-disciplinary research of this kind requires high-caliber personnel capable of coordinating research efforts, as well as large-scale research organizations that can support such activities.
3. In Japan, the efforts of researchers committed to exploring the identity of the Japanese people have been the driving force behind the development of research on the ethnogenesis of this group. Against the backdrop of recent globalization, there has been growing demand for this type of ethnogenetic research within society, and it is the responsibility of the academic community to address this demand.
4. However, what makes us most anxious at the moment is not the problem of organization, but the problem of personnel. As Taryo Obayashi has already remarked, the decreasing interest among younger ethnologists in the formation of Japanese culture is a serious problem. In what manner will Japanese ethnologists address the subject of ethnogenesis and other historical, anthropological issues in the future?
Key Words:Ethnogenesis, Historical ethnology, Identity of Japanese, Multi-disciplinary resarch

Blood and Occupation: on Scholar-Bureaucrat Identity And Its Modern Change in Korea
Shimpei Ota
Yangban is academically and socially defined as well as recognized as aKorean noble privileged class without any occupation. However this definition was invented through a series of case representations of Neo-Confucians and the scholar-gentry (rural sajok) class, and reflected the modern Japanese style of Orientalism. On the other hand, I here describe the family history of the anti/non Neo-Confucian scholar-bureaucrat (urban sajok) class which has been hardly referred to before, and insist on the importance of rethinking the yangban concept and even the academic and social recognition of Korean tradition.
It is concluded that to work as bureaucrats in higher ranking positions was one of the most important requirements for the urban sajok class to maintain their privileges. Therefore although academically and socially we made light of occupation, it is suggested that the core of sajok identity might consist of occupational status as much as the descent status which we usually make so much of. Moreover the process through which the contemporary urban sajok class came to be unemployed, becoming conscious of the invented requirements of the yangban class, demonstrates an important problem of reflexive knowledge. Recently the academic and social knowledge of the sajok reflects the sajok identity of the people concerned, and changes their life courses.
Key Words:anthropology, Korea, yangban (sajok class), tradition, reflexive knowledge

Sketches of Hagiography: From the Deeds of the Guiding Beings to the Final Realization
Shin'ichi Tsumagari
Bon is a religious tradition which originated in Olmo Lungring, a region west of modern day Tibet; it then spread east to the Zhang Zhung kingdom and finally, to Tibet where it took root. Since the Zhang Zhung kingdom was incorporated into the Tibetan empire in the 7th century, the Bon religion, while receiving influences from the Buddhist tradition, has developed on its own and carried on the tradition of ancient spirituality in Tibet. Shenrab Mibo (hereinafter called “Shenrab”) is regarded as the most sacred person by the followers of the Bon tradition living in the Tibet Autonomous Region, Sichuan, Gansu, Qinghai, Yunnan province in China, and the southern foot hills of the Himalayas.
The National Museum of Ethnology (Japan) houses fifty-one religious paintings (Thangkas) of the Bon tradition that have been collected through the research of the Bon brGya monastery in Qinghai, China, and twelve of them illustrate Shenrab's life history. I have already explained the first six of twelve paintings in: “Sketches of Hagiography: From the Descent of Shenrab Mibo to the Birth of his Sons” (Bulletin of the National Museum of Ethnology, vol. 33, no. 4, 2009). The aim of this paper is an attempt to explain the other six pictures, which illustrate the second half of Shenrab's life on the basis of descriptions in gZer Mig, one of the principal scriptures in the Bon tradition. The present study should be significant not only for Iconographical Research but also for the study of the pantheon and rituals in Bon tradition because these paintings depict various kinds of ritual articles, images of Gods, and mandalas.
Key Words:Tibet, Bon Religion, gShen-rab-mi-bo, gZer-mig, Thangka