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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 2.104

A Case Study on “National Ainu Museum and Park” in Japan: A Transformation of Ethno-Museums and Indigenous Rights Movements


  • Sakurako KORESAWA

Primary authors


It has been recognized in Japan that cultural institutions such as ethno-museums have strong connection with indigenous rights movements. However, little attention has been given to the fact that preserved ethnic culture in museums has gradually transformed their meaning by indigenous peoples through these movements. Focusing on a case study on “National Ainu Museum and Park”, this paper discusses the transformation of meanings which were given to preserved ethnic culture in museums. Over the last several years in Japan, the interest with construction of “National Ainu Museum and Park” for 2020 has been growing. Through these new projects, the scope of ethnic culture was expanded from museums to huge spaces such as national park. And the scope of meanings of museum materials was also expanded from being preserved to being used such as the Ainu’s culturally important landscape, plants and animals. It also will be discussed in this paper that indigenous peoples “find” meanings on preserved objects in cultural institutions by regaining “forgotten historical memories”. Recently, several social movements for “stolen ethnic culture” such as “return movements of Ainu’s ancestral remains” happened. In these movements, indigenous peoples regained “forgotten historical memories” that anthropologists excavated Ainu’s ancestral remains from their tombs for “research purpose”. The meaning of “stolen” were given on Ainu’s ancestral remains which had been preserved in these institutions for long time.