Select Language

A Study on the Formation and Use of Pacific Ethnographic Collections by the Japanese: Focusing on the Toshio Asaeda Collection of the National Museum of Ethnology

Research period:2021.10-2024.3

NIWA Norio


collection,ethnographic photo,Japanese


The Toshio Asaeda Collection of the National Museum of Ethnology is comprised of some 6,000 photographs concerning the Pacific islands societies and their enviroment along with such supplementary materials as his diaries and paintings. These records that Asaeda—who had been a member of an expedition in the US—left behind are precious resources that tell us about natural and cultural features that have been lost. However, owing to the fact that the original materials scattered around Europe, Japan, and the US have not been fully organized and analyzed, as well as the fact that they have not been carefully examined by researchers on the Pacific region, this collection has not been fully put to use. This research project on MINPAKu’s Toshio Asaeda Collection could attempt to settle these problems.
The project brings togethers scholars with vast knowledge of Pacific history and cultures to carefully examine the collection’s anthropological and ethnographic information and look at the record of how it has been made use of in the past. At the same time, from the perspective of this being a collection amassed by a Japanese, the project seeks to both locate place of the Toshio Asaeda materials in the history of Pacific collections in Japan and analyze their present-day significance. By conducting a multifaceted and comprehensive investigation, the project will attempt to touch on the ethical side of the act of collecting. In addition, by gaining the insights of related collections held in other oversea museums and source communities, the project will elucidate the characteristics and issues of Pacific collections amassed by Japanese .