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National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku): Museum (博物館)


General Information

National Museum of Ethnology
Att: Minpaku Collections Help Desk,
10-1 Senri Expo Park, Suita, Osaka 565-8511

About the Museum:

The Museum was designed to provide space dedicated to specific purposes.  The first floor is provides state-of-the-art storage for thousands of fragile and delicate ethnographic artifacts and records.  The second level is dedicated exhibition space of great interest to visiting individuals and groups, especially school tours.  The 3rd and 4th floors are dedicated to research by individuals and research groups. Elevators and staircases provide direct access between these floors.   The layout of the museum allows visitors to choose a circular trip through all the exhibitions, or to visit specific exhibits of greatest interest.

There are two categories of permanent exhibitions: regional and thematic. The regional exhibitions focus on Oceania, the Americas, Europe, Africa, West Asia, Southeast Asia, Central/North Asia, and East Asia, and the thematic exhibitions are dedicated to the subjects of on Language and Music, the latter housing some of the museum's most popular artifacts.

Related Link(s)

Resources & Facilities

Summary of Collection(s)

Permanent Exhibition:

  • West Asia: Also called the Middle East, a region that has been a major cultural melting pot for Muslim, Jewish, and Christian culture. The exhibition focuses of religion, desert life, women's clothing, and music and entertainment.
  • South Asia: India and the surrounding areas exhibit great social, cultural and linguistic diversity. The exhibition focuses on the diversity of ethnic cultures both in their traditional and modern forms, as parcticed in urban areas, through agriculture in rural regions, and through religious practices. 
  • Southeast Asia:Influenced by India, China and other cultures, Southeast Asia has a long and complex history. The exhibition focuses on representation of the diverse and integrated aspects of Southeast Asian cultures, with emphasis on rice growing and spirital worship.
  • Korea: Based on shamanism, Korean culture has been influenced by the diverse foreign cultures of Buddhism, Confucianism and Christianity. The exhibition focuses on the history and culture of modern Korean society. In the patio, there is a re-creation of a traditional pub-restaurant (酒幕 shumaku). 
  • China: The exhibition focuses on the lives of people in various parts of China, including Taiwan, highly multi-ethnic and multicultural in composition, and diverse in life styles. This includes traditional festivals and entertainment unique to specific ethnic groups. 
  • Japan: The exhibition focuses on a variety of lifestyles of different areas in Japan, low-land, mountain and fishing villages from across the country. This includes showing the relationship between festivals and the performing arts in different locales.
  • Ainu: The Ainu (アイヌ) also called Aynu (Aino アイノ) are indigenous people or groups in Japan and Russia. The Ainu lived in Hokkaidō, the Kuril Islands, and much of Sakhalin (蝦夷 Ezo). The Ainu exhibition displays a traditional house with a thatched roof, as well as exhibits on the fishing and hunting life of the Ainu, the bear ceremony, crafts, and the modern life of Ainu people. 
  • Central and North Asia: The exhibition covers vast regions of Central Asia, east of the Ural Mountains and the Caspian Sea, to North Asia including Mongolia and Siberia. The exhibition features Kazakh and Mongolian tents and introduces the Turkmen and Kirgiz pastoral cultures, the Uzbek and Tajik farming cultures, and Siberian hunting and fishing life. Siberian shamanism is featured to round out the exhibition. 
  • Music: The exhibition features instrumental ensembles developed in Asian countries. This includes displays of Japanese musical instruments, and the cultural contexts of their use, as well as examples from Buddhist music, classical music and folk music. 
  • Language: The exhibitions includes multimedia displays that introduce the number of speakers, distribution, literary tradition, and social status of over 200 world languages.

Note: The Guide uses the ALA/LC standard romanization, however, it also reflects a different romanization system used by an individual institution or collection



How to Use the Facility

Using the Museum

Admission: Please refer to "Admission fees, group tour, and closed days".

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