The Native Worlds Building

Racial ranking at 1903 Osaka National Industrial Exposition

By William Wetherall

First posted 24 September 2010
Last updated 25 July 2011

Applied anthroplogy Eugenics Nihon Minzoku Eisei Gakkai (1930) Nihon Minzokugaku Kai (1934) Minzoku Kenkyōsho (1943) Etonosu (1974) National Museum of Ethnology (1974) National Museum of Japanese History (1983)
World fairs Fifth National Industrial Exposition (1903) Louisiana Purchase Exposition (1904) Japan-British Exhibition (1910)
Jinruikan reports Tokyo jinrui gakkai zasshi Osaka Asahi shinbun Fuzoku gaho
Jinruikan protests Chinese government Korean visitors Okinawan papers Chinen Seishin's "Jinruikan"
Ishido Tokuichi's report Ishigaki, Lushun, Taiwan Figurines and postcards Unity and universality
Sources Yosha Bunko Yoshimi 1992 Okamoto and Takahashi 2003 Jinruikan 2005 Internet Starr 1904 bahaha2008 Ishidō 2009

The evolution of anthropology

Anthropology -- the study of humans and their condition past and present -- has rapidly evolved over the past two centuries. Whether it has truly advanced as a "science" of humankind remains unclear, for anthropological "interests" continue to be strongly influenced by social politics.

Anthropology then

By 1900, anthropologists were heavily invested in racial and social classification based on concepts of evolution and differentiation of physical and cultural traits, leaving some races more advanced than, if not superior, to others. Some anthropologists measured body sizes and other physical traits. Others observed family and communal organization and behavior as manifestations of cultural systems.

Explorers, missionaries, traders, soldiers, and settlers who took an interest in the languages and ways of life of the people they encountered in distant, sometimes conquered lands, recorded and reported their findings and views in journals and books. Graphic magazines published drawings and photographs of exotic natives. Museums displayed native implements and artifacts, mockups of scenes of village life, sometimes even life-size figures of people in their daily and ceremonial dress. Traveling circuses and world fairs displayed "live exhibits" of people of curious races for purposes of both entertainment and education.

The quest to describe and understand the human condition was not at all knew. All civilizations known from antiquity -- while killing each other in territorial and other wars -- had compared and ranked themselves with friends and foes. People everywhere have always measured themselves against others, near or far, toward whom they feel some attraction, curiosity, apprehension, or fear.

Applied anthropology

What was new to the late 19th and early 20th century studies of homo sapiens was the positivism of the emerging biological, medical, social, and cultural "sciences" that drove the studies -- first by Europeans and Americans, then also by Asians and others applying and sometimes innovating Euro-American theories and methodologies. Anthropology -- the budding and thriving "science" of humankind -- offered hope of understanding alien, exotic, mysterious, heterogeneous peoples -- and anthropologists willing to work for governments that sought to control such people in their domestic and colonial catchments found themselves in great demand.

If the United States government had its Bureau of Indian Affairs, staffed by bureaucrats responsible for overseeing laws and policies related to Federal treaties with recognized Indian nations, the Civil Affairs Department of the Government of Formosa (Government-General of Taiwan) had its Bureau of Aboriginal Affairs, which partly based its treatment of Taiwan's several indigenous tribes on ethnonological surveys directed by Interior anthropologists.

Anthropology now

Today, ten years into the 21st century, the "traditional" concerns of anthropology have all but been totally deconstructed along lines of "critical" interests. Academia, once hijacked by the interests of industrial development and colonial expansion, is not apt to conduct research to support highly politicized social movements concerned with the "human rights" of ethnic minorities, women, gays, and others who are seen as victims of older social orders encouraged by social sciences that justified the imperialist expansionism that swept the world from the 18th to the early 20th centuries.

Today, anthropologists are likely to espouse moral relativism in their bid to champion the equality of "people of color and women" in their studies of historical and present-day human "communities". Some schools of anthropology endorse the notion of "culture" as a "heritage" of racioethnic or ethnonational descent, with undertones of biocultural determinism.

Race boxes

Ancestry, once a fate, has become an obligation of blood. Empowerment of "the people" has made it more difficult for people who don't have a race box or have several. And people who appear to belong in one race box, but choose to identify with another race box, are just as likely, today, to be viewed as "traitors" by those of their apparent race, or "pretenders" by those of their chosen race.

Japan is somewhat different from the United States in that it does not have race boxes, at least not formally. Japan's laws are not concerned with race or ethnicity, only with nationality, a purely civil status. In everyday life, of course, people personally racialize each other, as they do in other countries, and appearances create expectations. People who don't "look" Japanese are not supposed to speak Japanese, or at least not well, and vice versa.

Tsurubei in Okinawa

The rakugo storyteller Shōfukutei Tsurubei (笑福亭鶴瓶 b1951), while shooting an episode of his weekly NHK program "Kazoku ni kanpai" in Okinawa in 2009, spotted a couple of women in a parked car, and approached the car to talk to them. As he got closer they rolled down the window, and he did a double take, and asked if they were foreigners, and they laughed and said no, they were Okinawans, and he laughed and said they looked like foreigners, and went on with his question, which was that he was looking for local beauties, and if they knew any, which drew more laughter.

There was no visible tension in the exchange. Tsurubei -- direct, frank, and funny -- is not the sort of entertainer to stand on ceremony. And the women, who seemed to be in their twenties, and seemed to recognize him, were jovial in their responses. They didn't seem particularly suprised, much less upset, to be regarded with curiosity by someone they could immediately mark -- by his dress, mannerisms, and speech -- as a tourist from the main islands. Most likely they recognized Tsurubei -- followed by his camera crew and handlers as he ambled toward their car -- for anyone watching NHK now and then would have seen his program, which has been running since 1995 and is very popular.

Had the two women been walking along a street in Tokyo, many if not most people passing them would also probably have taken them for Southeast Asians or even Latin Americans, on the basis of their physical features -- not thinking of Okinawa, where their features are not at all uncommon. Never mind that Japanese come in all colors and hues and physical types. Never mind that the variation of physical features among Okinawans, who are Japanese, is arguably greater than that of Japanese in other prefectures. Minds are not set by civil realities. People grow up in a stew of racialist generalities, and when encountering strangers, they spontaneously make assumptions based on racialist impressions.

Okinawa as a commodity

Regardless of whether a country has formal race boxes, or social policies based on racioethnic status, "heritage" and "culture" and "ethnicity" -- all code words for "race" or "racioethnic" nationality -- have become established commodities in the education systems and entertainment industries of all countries. "Okinawa" -- and "Okinawans" in the flesh -- sell.

Okinawan food and souvenirs are usually sold without political fanfare. But the themes of folksongs, poems, novels, plays, and movies are likely to include historical and even current events that are linked with something unfortunate or tragic in Okinawa's status as a prefecture of Japan.

Minorities, as victims, also sell well in journalism and academia, which now embrace multiculturalism and postcolonialism. Both are also fashionable in Japan, and in studies of Japan in other countries. Okinawa and Okinawans are on practically everyone's short list of past and present issues in Japan involving imperialism, militarism, and identity.

Almost everything written on Okinawa or Okinawans today, by journalists or academics, will touch upon something about the fate of Okinawa and Okinawans as a result of Japan's nationalization of the islands and its people in the 19th century, during years of empire, World War II and the Battle of Okinawa, and America's administration of Okinawa from 1945 to 1972, and the continuation of US military bases in Okinawa after its return to Japan in 1972 down to the present.

Academics and journalists also conform to a bell curve. Writers deviate just far enough from the norm to appear to be original and clever, while remaining safely within the limits of acceptability as defined by their editors and peers.

Okinawans as living exhibits

Hence readers of present-day commentary about the participation of Okinawans in the Human Pavilion at the 1903 National Industrial Exposition in Osaka, and other anthropological exhibits of Okinawan people in the flesh or as figurines during the heydays the Empire of Japan, will usually find strong condemnations of such events and their organizers. Articles and plays by Okinawan activists, and writing by people in other parts of Japan and abroad, are predictably sympathetic to the notion that Okinawans were then, if not still, victims of racism.

So it is highly interesting to find, in 2009, an Okinawan observer who qualifies his understandable discomfort with the display of living human beings as racioethnic artifacts -- with his appreciation for the fact that there is more to be seen in the past than evil, malicious intent, or even wrongfullness.



Anthropology, like other putative sciences, always bend with the winds. The winds blow in different directions, and anthropologists divide themselves into schools that move accordingly. This is as true today as in the past. The main difference, if there is one, is that mainstream anthropology today is critically focused against state politics in favor of the politics of those regarded as past and present victims of state politics.

States, though, and suprastate organizations like the United Nations, are also subject to ideological blow and blowback. Hence they, too, respond to demands by publicists for "human rights" to reflect the interests of people who define themselves as "minorities" within mainstream national societies.

Physical anthropology blossomed in the early 20th century as a science of both human evolution in the past and human development today. Within anthropology, the field of "ethnology" or "race studies" (民俗学 minzokugaku) was pressed into the practical service of improving the biological and social quality of the racioethnic "nation" (民族) through policy based on a scientific understanding of Japanese as human beings.

"Eugenic" studies sought to identify ways to reduce defects and disease and otherwise improve the human condition in the Empire of Japan for the sake of maximizing its collective demographic strength. All racioethnic cohorts within the complex cachement of "Japanese" as subjects and nationals of Japan were objects of study. Japanese cohorts were commonly compared with one another and with non-Japanese cohorts, in order to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each cohort, and to identify factors that could be modified by social policy, from nutrition and sanitation to marriage and reproduction.

The focus of eugenics on "race" in both the narrower "skincolor" sense (人種 jinshu) and broader sense of "racioethnic" descent (民族 minzoku) was guided by theories of racial supremecy resulting from biological and/or sociocultural factors. As an applied science, eugenics in Japan, while strongly influenced by eugenics in Europe and the Americas, developed along lines that facilitated Japan's imperial needs -- which stressed racial assimilation, integration, and mixing more than segregation.

The 1930s witnessed the origin of a number of "ethnology" and "race studies" organizations in Japan. Some focused on research within the realms of cultural, physical, and social anthropology. Others focused on research that facilitiated governmental improvement of the health and welfare of the national population. Most "eugenic" studies in Japan would have qualified as research in fields like public health, social medicine, or medical anthropology today.


Japanese Association of Race Hygiene

"The Japanese Association of Race Hygiene" (日本民族衛生學會 Nihon Minzoku Eisei Gakkai) was founded in 1930 by the physiologist Nagai Hisomu (永井潜 1876-1957), who played a central role in promoting the field of eugenics in Japan and the National Genetics Law (國民優生法) of 1940. Its editorial and executive office was located at the Physiological Institute of Tokyo Imperial University in Hongō. "Association" in the English name later became "Society".

Then -- according to personal correspondence in Japanese from Toyokawa Hiroyuki -- at its general meeting in October 1982, the society's councilors decided to change the English name of the society to "The Japanese Society of Health and Human Ecology". The name of the Journal changed to "The Japanese Journal of Health and Ecology" from Volume 49, Number 1 (January 1983).

I was aware of these name changes, as I had examined past and present copies of the journal. And I had sent a written query to the society's office at the medical department of Tokyo University in 1988 asking why the name had been changed. Toyokawa, then in charge of the society's general affairs, wrote that "the reason the name was changed was because the meaning of Race corresponds not to Japanese 民族 (minzoku) but 人種 (jinshu), and it was decided that from an international viewpoint changing the English name was desireable" (29 August 1988, my translation).

The reply to my letter came from Tōhō University, as Toyokawa Hiroyuki (豊川裕之 b1932) had just moved there from Tokyo University. At Tokyo University he had been teaching epidemiology, and at Tōhō he was teaching public health (hygiene), in their departments of medicine. Both fields were among the central concerns of eugenics as a science of population improvement.

As of this writing a quarter of a century later, Toyokawa continues to serve as the society's overall representative. The last paragraph of his description of the society's history reads like this (3 December 2010, my translation).


Due to the world situation at the time of its founding this society was sometimes misunderstood as a society of racialistic eugenics, but [at the time] it maintain[ed] a distance from the elemental-reductionism [reductionistic] · human-body-machine-theory [mechanistic] and deterministic paradigms that, at the time, were crushingly [overwhelmingly] predominant, and it continues today to be a society that inclines toward inclusivism · human-body-organic-body-theory [organicism] and stochastic paradigms.

Toyokawa describes the society as a medical research group which analyzes the relationship between humans and their environment comprehensively -- not only in terms of DNA, cells, organs, body, groups, and [racioethnic] nations (民族 minzoku), but more comprehensively in terms of differentiation and integration, and in terms of the environment -- by which he means the environement of "culture" as a creation of humans, in contrast with the environment of "nature". Medicine, he says, does not define "culture" in terms of "[spiritual] culture" (精神文化 seishin bunka) or "[material] civilization" (物質文明 busshitsu bunmei) as in the humantistic and social sciences, but bioscientifically.

It is somewhat interesting that it took the society half a century to change its English name but not its Japanese name. It was never my intention to dispute the name-change with Toyokawa, but merely to establish the society's reasoning, and he very kindly responded to my question.

"Race" in the broader, older, anthropological sense of the term seems to me to have been valid translation of "minzoku" in the older, broader, anthropological sense of the word. "Nation" in the narrower racioethnic sense of the word would also have been appropriate. Even "hygiene" was a perfectually good word at the time, though today it is as musty as "race" is distasteful.

When I first became affiliated with the "National Institute of Mental Health" in Japan in 1975, its name was "Kokuritsu Seishin Eisei Kenkyūjo" (国立精神衛生研究所). A few years into my 20-year association with the organization, "eisei" (衛生) became "hoken" (保健) -- which seemed closer to what was meant by "health". The institute, when founded after World War II, was named after its American counterpart. At the time, "eisei" had long been the standard term for "hygiene" and "sanitation" -- as in "public sanitation" and "public hygiene".

Though "eisei" lost to "hoken" in connection with "mental" health and hygiene, it continues to be used in "kōshū eisei" (公衆衛生) -- meaning what is today called "public health" -- which very much concerns itself with "sanitation" and "hygiene" as means of preventing the spread of contageous diseases and controlling epidemics. The terms are metaphorically different enough -- "eisei" meaning "guard life" and "hoken" meaning "maintain strength" -- that they can be combined as "hoken eisei" (保健衛生), which can be translated "health and hygiene".

The transformation of "race hygiene" to "health and human ecology" as an English dub for "minzoku eisei" (民族衛生) -- literally "guarding the life of the [racioethnic] nation" -- is no more implausible than the spread of "ethnicity" and "heritage" and "culture" as code words for "race" or racioethnic "nation" in, say, the United States. The "crushingly predominant" concern is still with human societies as essentially biological collectivities.

Arguably, though, "biology" is what life is all about -- and "social medicine" and "medical anthropology" and "cultural biology" today stem from the same seeds as "eugenics" and "racial hygiene" in the Empire of Japan.


Nihon Minzokugaku Kai

The "Nihon Minzokugaku Kai" (日本民族學會) -- "Japan ethnology society" or "The Japanese Society of Ethnology" in English -- was established in 1934 in Hongō, the home of Tokyo Imperial University. From the beginning of the following year, the society began publishing a quarterly journal titled simply "Minzokugaku kenkyū" (民族學研究) -- "Ethnolgoy research [studies]" but "The Japanese Journal of Ethnology" in English.

The subsequent history of the journal reflects wartime and postwar reorganizations of the society and changes in the volume numbering. I will divide the discussion of the journal into three parts, corresponding to the original series, new series, and resumption of the original series.

Japan Ethnology Society journal
Original series, 1935-1943

The original series, a quarterly, was scheduled to come out in January, April, July, and October. Eight full volumes of the series were published from 1935 through 1943, though issues of the wartime volumes were subject to from slight to considerable dealys. Volume 5 (1939) had an extra combined issue of Numbers 5 and 6.

The issues of Volume 6 (1940) came out on time. The first three issues of Volume 7 came out in 1941 but the 4th issue was delayed until June 1942. This was the last volume to show an English table of contents on the back cover.

Only one issue of Volume 8 came out in 1942, owing to the reorganization of the society as an incorporated association from August. The association began publishing a monthly journal under the same title as the society's quarterly journal, but under its editorship, and as a new series, from January 1943 (see below). However, the remaining three issues of Volume 8 of the quarterly journal, as edited by the society, were also published in early 1943.

Number 1 of Volume 8 was printed on 10 July and published on 15 July 1942. The remaining three issues were delayed by the reorganization, then all three were published in a short period of time. Number 2 was printed on 15 January and published on 22 January 1943. Number 3 was printed on 20 January and published on 25 January 1943. Numver 4, the final issue of Volume 8, was printed on 28 February and published on 5 March 1943. All four issues of the volume were were published under the editorship of the Japan Ethnology Society, and were printed by Sanseidō, which had printed all earlier issues of the original series.

The manner in which the remaining issues of Volume 8 were published suggest that business at the society-turned-association continued pretty much as usual. The remaining three volumes were probably already in various stages of planning and production.

Publishing cycles of quarterlies and monthlies are somewhat different, as they are for weekly and daily periodicals. Editorial teams are always planning and working on future issues as they ready the next issue for press. Electronic editing and printing has reduced the minimum lead times required for various stages of planning and production, but the final months of 1942, and the early months of 1943, must have been a very busy time for society/association staff as they shifted from their familiar quarterly routine to the new monthly schedule.

First issue of journal as quarterly
Volume 1, Number 1 (January-March 1935)

The publishing particulars of Number 1 of Volume 1 (January-March 1935) of "The Japanese Journal of Ethnology" are as follows (based on Yosha Bunko copy).

日本民族学会 (編輯)
第一巻 第一号
昭和九年十二月二十五日 印刷
昭和十年一月一日 発行
2 (目次)、222 (本文), 1 (奥付) ページ

Nihon minzokugaku kai (editing)
[Japan ethnology society] <The Japan Society of Etnology>
Minzokugaku kenkyū <Minzokugaku-Kenkyu>
[Ethnology research (studies)] <The Japanese Journal of Ethnology>
Volume 1, Number 1 <Vol. 1 January-March, 1935 No. 1>
Tokyo: Sanseidō
Printed 25 December 1934

Published 1 January 1935

2 (contents), 222 (text), 1 (colophon) pages
Price 80 sen

The information in <angle brackets> is from the back cover, which consists of an English table of contents. The representative editor was Furuno Kiyoto (古野清人). Sanseidō both published and printed the issue, as it did later issues in the series. The colophon is followed by five pages of publisher ads, the first two of which are of Sanseidō books. The journal is A5 in size (about 15 x 21 cm).

The contents of this inaugural issue are as follows. I have transcribed the author names and titles in present-day kanji but shown the kana as received. The romanizations of the titles and the title translations in [square brackets] are mine. The romanizations of the author names and the English titles enclosed in <angle brackets> are as shown on the back cover of the journal, which is in English).

Takasago zoku no keifu
[genealogy of Takasago tribes (in Taiwan)]
<Mabuchi Tôichi>
<Genealogy among the Formosan Aborigines>

Ikei-zoku kō
[On atypical (unusual) tribes]
<Matsumura Takei>
<On the Genesis of Monstrous Tribes>

宇野円空 (円 < 圓)
Maraishia no shūkyō josetsu
[Introduction to religions of Malaysia]
<Uno Ynekû [sic Yenkû]>
<Introduction to the Study of Religions in Malaysia>

Hokkyoku kennai no sho-minzoku
[The various nations (peoples) within the north pole area]
<Koyama Eizô>
<Hyperborean Peoples: a Brief Survey>

Roshia ni okeru Kookasasu sho-minzoku
[The various Caucasion nations (nationalities, peoples) in Russia]
<Moteki Takeichi
Present State of Linguistic Studies of Caucasian Peoples in USSR

Ataiyaru-zoku no kubigari
[Head-hunting of the Atayal tribe (in Taiwan)]
<Okada Yuzuru>
<Head-hunting in the Atayal Tribe of Formosa>

Taiwan banzoku no kaigashi no isshu ni tsuite
[On one kind of shell money (cowry) of Taiwan savage tribes]
<Miyamoto Nobuto>
<On a Certain Kind of Shell-money among the Aboriginal Tribes of Formosa>

Kamadogami ni kan suru shinkō
[Beliefs concerning kitchen (hearth) gods]
<Kin Kô-kei>
<Belief in Hearth-god in Korea>
Note   "Korea" in English title reflects "Chōsen" (朝鮮) in article]

WG Laot'achih-hsing ch'uanshuo chi fashengti
PY Laotazhi-xing chuanshuo zhi fashengdi
[Place of origin of Laoleichi-type legends
<Chung Ching-wên>
<Birth-place of the Legends of Lao-lei-chi 老獺稚 -type>
Note   The article, like the title, is in Chinese.

宮良当壮 (当 < 當)
Tōhoku hōgen gaisō
[General state of Tōhoku dialects]
<Miyanaga Masamori>
<General View of the Tohoku Dialects>

古野清人 ラディンの「民族学の方法と学説」について Radin no "Minzokugaku no hōhō to gakusetsu" ni tsuite [On Radin's "The Method and Theory of Ethnology"] <Furuno Kiyoto> <On Paul Radin's The Method and Theory of Ethnology, 1933>

石田幹之助 ラウファー博士の民族学的業績 Raufaa hakase no minzokugaku-teki gyōseki [Dr. Laufer's ethnological achievements] <Ishida Mikinosuke> <The Late Dr. B. Laufer and His Contributions to Ethnology and Folk-lore>

新刊紹介・学界彙報 Shinkan shōkai · Gakkai ihō [New publication introductions · Academic world reports] <Book Review (sic) / News & Notes>

Quality of English

The quality of the English representations is very high and fairly consistent in usage -- hence "peoples" for "shominzoku" (諸民族).


The names of all the authors are represented family-name first as shown. "Kin Kê-kei" (金孝敬) is in Sino-Japanese as he was a Japanese national. "Chung Ching-wên" (鍾敬文) is in Wade-Giles romanization (Pinyin "Zhong Jinwen").

Kin Kokei

Kin Kōkei had authored a number of anthropological articles related to Chōsen and China. In 1934, he reviewed a work by Murayama Chijun (村山智順 1891-1968), published by the Government General of Chōsen (朝鮮総督府 Chōsen Sōtokufu) in 1933 as "Research materials No. 37" (調査資料第三十七輯), called "Divination and prophecy in Chōsen" (朝鮮の占卜と予言 Chōsen no senboku to yogen). In 1932, he had reviewed No. 36 in the same series, called "Female and male shamans of Chōsen" (朝鮮の巫覡 Chōsen no fugeki), which was part three of a series on popular beliefs. In 1934 his Korean translation of a book on Hōnen by Yabuki Keiki (矢吹慶輝 1879-1939), a scholar of religion (especially Buddhism) and social worker, was published by a Hōnen group. In 1940, San'yūsha (三友社) published boxed edition of a book by him called "Shina seishin to sono minzokusei" (支那精神と其の民族性) or "The spirit of China and its national (ethnic) character (nationality, ethnicity)". Kin Kōkei, like Kin Eiken (see below), are studied today as scholars who were active in Japanese anthropological studies of the 1930s and 1940s.

Chung Ching-wen

Chung Ching-wen (1903-2002) is widely regarded as the "father" of Chinese folklore. Chung studied in Japan at Waseda University between 1934 and 1936 with the mythologist and anthropologist Nishimura Shinji (西村真次 1879−1943). His article is dedicated to Hattori Unokichi (服部宇之吉 1867-1939), a scholar of Chinese philosophy, and Nishimura. The dateline at the end states that "Western calendar 1934-year 8-month 31-day / Written at house in Chiba-ken, Tateyama-machi". That article was published in Chinese suggests that the editors thought at least some of the journal's readers, schooled as to some extent most had been in Chinese classics and Japanese-style Sinific writing, would have been able to understand its drift. Mainstream newspapers and magazines intended for more literate readers sometimes published untranslated excerpts from Chinese sources.

Number 2

Number 2 of Volume 1 (April-June 1935) leads with -- Religious Ceremonies among the Manchu Nobels formerly belonging to the "Banners" -- The Civilized Aborigines of Formosa (臺灣熟蕃 Taiwan jukuban) -- Notes on Manchurian Shamanism -- Dance and Music in the Marshall and Caroline Islands -- The Buriat Mongols -- On Some Japanese Domestic Deities ["Japanese" not reflected in title] -- Medicine-man among the Formosan Aborigines (高砂族 Takasago-zoku) -- On the Custom of Wife-Lending -- Gods of Territorial-Group and Gods of Blood-Group -- et cetera.

Numbers 3 and 4 of Volume 1, and later issues during this period, are similarly full of reports of studies of various peoples, mainly within Japan's sovereign empire (Interior, Hokkaido Ainu, Saghalien Orokho and Gilyak (樺太土人ギリヤーク・オロッコ Karafuto dojin Giriyaaku·Orokko), and Formosan Aborigines), Japan's legal empire (Micronesia), and areas of Asia within the sphere of Japan's regional interests (Southeast Asia, China, Manchuria).

1942 reorganization of society as incorporated association

On 21 August 1942, anticipating the formation of "Minzoku Kenkyūsho" [Nations research institute] (see below) under the Ministry of Education, the society was reorganized as a legally incorporated foundation (財団法人 zaidan hōjin) called "Nihon Minzokugaku Kyōkai" (日本民族學協會) [Japan ethnology association] -- though it would remain "The Japanese Society of Ethnology" in English. The first director of the association was Shinmura Izuru (新村出 1876-1967), best known today as the compiler of Kōjien (広辞苑), Japan's premier desktop dictionary, first published in 1955. Shinmura was trained under the philologist and lexicographer Ueda Kazutoshi (上田萬年 1867-1937), best known for Daijiten (大字典), a kanji dictionary first published in 1916).

Organizations legally incorporated as foundations are usually supported in part by funds from the government ministry that permits their incorporation and/or private corporations and other nominally non-governmental organizations. As an institute staffed by government employees, Minzoku Kenkyūsho would in principle be financed by the government, but it was established on the same premises as the ethnology society after its metamorphosis into a foundation. To this extent at least, as well as academically, the foundation supported the research institute's operation and mission as a so-called "external [extra-governmental] organization" (外郭団体 gaikaku dantai) (see below).

The transformed ethnology society also continued to publish its journal and manage the Ethnology Museum which it had opened in 1937.

Ethnology Association journal
New series, 1943-1947

After the ethnology society was reorganized as an association with the legal status of an incorporated foundation, the association resumed publishing the society's journal under the same title -- Ethnology research [studies] (民族学研究 Minzokugaku kenkō) -- but as a new series. Unlike the original series, which had been a quarterly, the new series was a monthly.

All 12 issues of New Series Volume 1 came out in 1943 pretty much on time. However, only the first six numbers of Volume 2 of the new series were published in the first half of 1944, but in only four issues -- Number 1 (January), Numbers 2 and 3 (February-March combined), Numbers 4 and 5 (April-May combined), and Number 6 (June). No more issues appeared after mid 1944, as from this time publishers were subjected to severe paper rationing and other controls related to wartime shortages. All issues in this earliest run of the association's journal were printed by Aikōdō (愛光堂).

The new series resumed publication from the fall of 1946 -- one year into the Allied Occupation of Japan -- with Number 1 of Volume 3. The English table of contents was resumed on the back cover, which showed the title as "The Japanese Journal of Ethnology" as edited by "The Japanese Society of Ethnology" -- though the Japanese name of the "society" is that of the association. The issue was published by "Shōkō Shoin" <Shōkōshoin> (彰考書院) and printed by Aikōdō. The publisher was Fujioka Junkichi and the printer was Iwamoto Yonejirō.

Number 2 of Volume 3 came out in early 1947, followed by two issues of Volume 12 -- the volume counter having been reset to that of the old series. The other two issues of Volume 12 came out in 1948, and from this point the journal was back on track as a quarterly geared to the fiscal (and academic) year. These issues, too, were edited and published by the "Chōsabu" [Investigation (Survey, Research) section] of the Ethnology Association.

First issue of journal as monthly
New Volume 1, Number 1 (January 1943)

The inaugural issue of the new series, nominally the January issue, was distributed early in February 1943. The publishing particulars are as follows (based on Yosha Bunko copy).

財団法人 民族学協会 (編輯)
民族学研究 (月刊)
新第一巻 第一号
昭和十八年一月三十一日 印刷
昭和十八年二月五日 発行
2 (目次)、133 (本文), 1 (奥付) ページ

Zaidan hōjin / Minzokugaku kyōkai (Henū)
[Incorporated foundation / Ethnology association (Editing)]
Minzokugaku kenkyū (Gekkan)
[Ethnology research (studies)] (Published monthly)
New Volume 1, Number 1
January 1943
Tokyo: Zaidan hōjin / Minzokugaku kyōkai Chōsabu
[Ethnology association Investigation (Survey, Research) section]
Printed 31 January 1943
Published 4 February 1943
2 (contents), 133 (text), 1 (colophon) pages
Price 60 sen


The journal is A5 in size (about 15 x 21 cm), the smaller of the two most common journal and magazine sizes. Like issues of the original series of the quarterly journal of the Japan Ethnology Society, it was printed by Sanseidō (三省堂).


There are two inserts in the Yosha Bunko copy.

The first insert is a vertically folded A5 sheet with the tables of content of both the current Number 1 issue of New Volume 1, and the forthcoming Number 2 issue of the new series.

The second insert is roughly 42 cm wide by 20 cm high, folded in half and again in half across the longer width. Twice folded in the direction of the longer width, it opens and reads in the manner of a traditional announcement or letter. The first line declares that the 8th day of the 12th month of the 2602nd year of the founding of the realm (8 December 1942) was an historical start of the reconstruction of human culture by Japan as the leader (盟主 meishu) of Greater East Asia -- referring to the first anniversary of the start of the war Greater East Asia War to liberate the region from the Euroamerican powers. The notice goes to explain the reorganization of the Japanese Society of Ethnology in its eighth plus year, into the Ethnology Association. To faciliate the development of state policy in the construction of Greater East Asia through the Greater East Asia War, regarding the various [racioethnic] nations within the [Greater East Asia] Co-Prosperity Sphere (共栄圏内に於ける諸民族 Kyōeiken-nai ni okeru sho-minzoku), Nations Research Institute was newly created as a general research organ under the Ministry of Education. The Ethnology Association was established, with all the functions of the former Japanese Society of Ethnology was established as a powerful [strong] external [extragovernmental] organization (外郭団体 gaikaku dantai) possessing an organic relationship with the Nations Research Institute. And as for the former Japan Ethnology Society, a constructive dissolvement which entrusted all its functions to the Enthology Association was carried out.

The association resumed publication of the society's journal under the same title -- "Ethnology research" -- but reset its issue counter to "New Volume 1 Number 1". In other words, the business of disseminating ethnological information continued pretty much as usual -- though on a monthly rather than quarterly basis. The folded notice, dated January 1943, is signed "Japanese Ethnology Society / Incorporated Foundation Ethnology Association" (日本民族学会 / 財団法人 民族学協会).


The variety and scope of the contents of the new series of the journal also continue to be much like those of the original series.

Number 1 includes, among other features, a report on family crests and marriage among the Saru river Ainu by the cultural anthropologist Natori Takemitsu (名取武光 b1905), an anthropologist; the first part of a report on expressions for "mortar" and "pestle" of the Takasago tribes of Taiwan by the linguist Ogawa Naoyoshi (小川尚義 1869-1947); and glimpse at agricultural village societies in Chōsen by the sociologist Suzuki Eitarō (鈴木栄太郎 1894-1966), and ends with an essay on ethnology by the French philosopher Raymond Polin (1910-2001). The back matter includes book reviews, brief reports on the field by Oka Masao and Yawata Ichirō (who would be appointed to the research staff of the Nations Research Institute), and details on the Ethnology Association and related organizations.

Number 2 (based on the first insert in Number 1) includes the second part of Ogawa's report on Takasago linguistics, a report on the polygamy system in Annam by the anthropologist Kin Eiken (金永鍵), and part one of an article on the cultural climate and folkcraft of Shansi (Shan-hsi, Shanxi) province in northwest China by the folklorist Someki Atsushi (染木煦 b1900), and concluded with an article on the present condition of anthropology in America by the [then] late Alexander Goldenwieser (1880-1940).

Most of the researchers were veterans in the subjects on which they reported. Natori specialized in research on the indigenous populations of the northeast, especially those of Karafuto and Hokkaido. Ogawa specialized in the indigenous populations of Taiwan. Suzuki had studied mainly agrarian societies in the prefectural Interior. Kin Eiken was one of a number of Japanese who had taken a deep personal interest in what later came to be known as Vietnam.

Kin Eiken

Kin Eiken (Kim Yŏnggŏn), born in 1910, the year Korea was annexed as Chōsen, graduated from Keijō (K. Kyŏngsŏng) Number 2 High School (京城第二高等學校) in 1927, and in 1931 he went to Hanoi (河内), the capital of French Indochina, to work as a librarian, presumably in a Japanese facility, as he was a subject and national of Japan. While working in Hanoi, Kin studied the history, social cultures, and languages of Annam (安南), as Vietnam was then most commonly referred called, though the name also referred to just the central provinces.

Kin is said to have returned to Chōsen in 1941, disenchanted by Japan's movements into Hanoi and elsewhere in 1940 after extracting concessions from the Vichy French government of French Indochina. While living in Chōsen, but apparently also in Tokyo, he began publishing a number of articles and books on Annam and Indo-China.

In 1942, Okakura Shobō (岡倉書房) in Tokyo published Kin's 270-page "Japanese-French-Annamese conversational dictionary" (日仏安南語会話辞典 Nip-Pu-Annam-go kaiwa jiten). The same year Fuzanbō (冨山房), also in Tokyo, published a book called "Studies of developments by countrymen [Japanese] in Indo-China" (印度支那に於ける邦人発展の研究 Indo-Shina ni okeru hōjin hatten no kenkyū), which Kin co-authored with the Asia historian Sugimoto Naojirō (杉本直治郎 1890-1973), who had started studying the history of Annam and other parts of Indochina in the 1920s. The book was a study of "Japanese rivers" (日本河) or canals as printed on old maps. Historical links between Japan and several Southeast Asian localities went back several centuries. In 1943, Fuzanbō brought out a book authored solely by Kin on "The relationship between Indo-China and Japan" (印度支那と日本との関係 Indo-Shina to Nihon to no kankei).

Ethnology Museum

In 1937, the Japanese Society of Ethnology society opened the Ethnology Museum in Hōya, a village in Tokyo prefecture. Until 1907, Hōya had been part of Saitama prefecture.

The museum was essntially the inspiration of Shibasawa Keizō, who was instrumental in founding the society in 1934 and had become its first director. Shibusawa's home was in Mita, in the city of Tokyo, and he had started a private museum there while in high school.

Shibusawa Keizo

Shibusawa Keizō (渋沢敬三 1896-1963), a grandchild of Shibusawa Eiichi (渋沢栄一 1840-1931), the founder of a major bank and the builder of the Shibusawa family financial group (財閥 zaibatsu), was designated Eiichi's successor in 1913 during his first year of high school. The following year, having met Yanagita Kunio (柳田國男 1875-1962), he was inspired to collect botanical and zoological specimens, fossils, and local (folk) toys.

In 1920, while attending Tokyo Imperial University, where he majored in economics, he received the title of viscount owing to his position as the successor to his grandfather, who was a baron. In 1921, the year he joined a bank in Yokohama, he and some classmates built what they called the "Attic Museum Society" in a room under the roof of a storehouse at his family home in Mita. This was later called simply the "Attic Museum".

Fulfilling his family mission, Shibusawa went on to be an influential banker and financier. In 1922, after marrying a granddaughter of Iwasaki Yatarō (岩崎彌太郎 1835-1885), the Tosa shipping industrialist who founded the Mitsubishi financial group, he was posted to London for a few years.

Back in Japan in 1925, he rose in the ranks of the financial world, became a baron, served as the Governor of the Bank of Japan (March 1944 to October 1945), after which he became Japan's first post-surrender Minister of Finance (October 1945 to May 1946). Purged with many other from public office during 1946, after the purge was partly lifted in 1951, he returned to the financial world and held major posts in a number of organizations and corporations.

Shibusawa's interest in folklore and ethnology never flagged. He funded and otherwise supported many anthropologists in their studies and fieldwork in Japan and abroad. He was instrumental in founding the Japanese Society of Ethnology in 1934 and served as its first director.

In 1937, the society opened the Ethnology Museum in Hōya, a village in Tokyo prefecture (until 1907 it had been part of Saitama prefecture), and the materials in the attic museum of his family home in Mita in Tokyo city were moved to the Hōya facility. Part of his Mita home was destroyed by fire during an air raid in 1945.

Shibusawa's collections are now part of the collections of the National Museum of Ethnology in Suita, Osaka prefecture (see below).

Postwar development

The association continued to exist as a foundation after World War II. From April 1964 -- because many universities had established cultural and social anthropology courses, programs, and even departments -- the foundation reverted to being an academic society under its former name, "Nihon Minzokugaku Kai" (日本民族学会) or "The Japanese Society of Ethnology". This transition came six months after Shibusawa's death.

From 1 April 2004, it became "Nihon Bunka Jinruigaku Kai" (日本文化人類学会) [Japan culture anthropology society] in Japanese and "The Japanese Society of Cultural Anthropology" in English. At this time, the society's quarterly journal, which had been called "Minzokugaku kenkyū" (民族學研究) [Ethnology studies] or "The Japanese Journal of Ethnology", was renamed "Bunka jiruigaku" (文化人類学) [Culture anthropology] in Japanese and "Japanese Review of Cultural Anthropology" in English.

Some of the above information has been adapted from the society's website, some from other sources. Some of the data on the journals is based on copies in Yosha Bunko.


Minzoku Kenkyusho

A decision was made in 1942 to create a state-operated "Minzoku Kenkyūsho" [Minzoku Kenkyūjo] (民族研究所 ) or "Nations research institute", and such a facility was established under the supervision of the Ministry of Education by Imperial Ordinance No. 20 of 18 January 1943.

Establishing ordinance

Article 1 of the establishing ordinance stated that the purpose of the institute was to "carry out research concerning all nations [races] in order to contribute to national [racial] policy" (民族政策ニ寄与スル為諸民族ニ関スル研究ヲ行フ).

The full text of the establishing ordinance is as follows (unvetted text as posted at Nakano Bunko (The Nakano Library), format and bold highlighting mine).

民族研究所官制   (昭和18年勅令第20号)

第一条   民族研究所ハ文部大臣ノ管理ニ属シ民族政策ニ寄与スル為諸民族ニ関スル調査研究ヲ行フ

第二条   民族研究所ニ左ノ職員ヲ置ク

    所員   専任八人   奏任
    助手   専任八人   判任
    書記   専任二人   判任

2   所長ハ所員ヲ以テ之ニ充ツ

第三条   民族研究所ニ参与ヲ置キ所務ニ参画セシム

2   参与ハ文部大臣ノ奏請ニ依リ関係各庁高等官及学識経験アル者ノ中ヨリ内閣ニ於テ之ヲ命ズ

第四条   所長ハ文部大臣ノ指揮監督ヲ承ケ所務ヲ掌理ス

第五条   所員ハ所長ノ命ヲ承ケ所務ヲ掌ル

第六条   助手ハ上司ノ指揮ヲ承ケ所務ニ従事ス

第七条   書記ハ上司ノ指揮ヲ承ケ庶務ニ従事ス

附則 (抄)

1   本令ハ公布ノ日ヨリ之ヲ施行ス

Article 2 of the ordinance calls for one director, eight researchers, eight assistants, and two secretaries. Paragraph 2 provides that the director shall fulfill the objectives of the institute with the researchers.

Article 3 provides that the [Ministry of Education] will assign a councilor to the institute to participate in planning. Paragraph 2 provides that the Cabinet with appoint the councilor from among higher officials of related agencies and persons with knowledge and experice through a in accordance with an imperial petition of the Minister of Education.

Articles 4 through 7 provide that the director will administer the affairs of the institute subject to the direction and supervision of the Minister of Education, that the researchers will be handle the affairs of the institute subject to the orders of the director, and that the assistants and secretaries will attend to their duties subject to the direction of their supervisors.

Article 1 of the Supplementary Provisions provides that the ordinance will be enforced from the day of its promulgation on the 18the day of the 1st month of Shōwa 18 (18 January 1943).

According to information provided by Nakano Bunko, the order was amended three times -- in 1943 (Imperial Ordinance No. 496), 1944 (Imperial Ordinance No. 559), and 1945 (Imperial Ordinance 38) -- and was abolished on 15 October 1945 by Imperial Ordinance No. 573.


In addition to a General Affairs section, which included planning and liaison, the institute appears to have had the following five sections.

Section 1   nations theory, nations policy, nations research

Section 2   Northern and eastern parts of Asia, including Siberia, Mongolia, the Slavic area, et cetera

Section 3   Central and western parts of Asia, including regions peripheral to the northwest of China, Central Asia, and the Near East

Section 4   Tibet and other ergions peripheral to the southwest of China

Section 5   Southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific area, including the Indonesian peninsula, Burma, Assam, India, the South Pacific, and East Africa


Takata Yasuma (高田保馬 1883-1972), an economist and sociologist, was Minzoku Kenkyūsho's first director. A graduate of Kyoto Imperial University, he become a professor of economics there in 1929, and during the 1930s established himself as an authority on "minzoku" as a sociocultural demographic unit subject to various considerations governmental control. He retired from the university in March 1943, in his 60th year of life, to accept the directorship at the research institute. He also served as a wartime director of the closely related Japan Ethnology Association (see above).

After the war, Takata became a professor emeritus in the economics department of Kyoto Imperial University, but lost this position in December 1946 as a result of public official purges by the Japanese government under the direction of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP). In August 1951, two months after the purge was partly lifted, he became a professor of economics at Osaka University, where he established a socioeconomics institute and taught for most of the rest of his life.

Oka Masao (岡正雄 1898-1982), an ethnologist and cultural anthropologist, headed General Affairs and Section 2.

Koyama Eizō (小山栄三 1899-1983), a sociologist, and a classmate of Oka, specialized in Micronesia. Koyama had introduced Malinowski's theories of social anthropology to Japan, was active in ethnology and folklore studies, and had held a post at the Ministry of Welfare's "Jinkō Mondai Kenkyūjo" [Population problems research institute] before joining the Minzoku Kenkyūsho in 1943. He had also been involved in journalism studies, and after the war he became known mainly for his writing on media and advertising. In 1939, as a social anthropologist at the Population Problems Research Institute, he had argued against turning blood mixture into a social issue based on theories of racial purity advanced white supremicists who feared the colored races and viewed racial mixture as degeneration. Human history, he said, showed that there has been constant contact between racioethnic nations (民族 minzoku), that intermarriage (雑婚 zakkon) and and mixed blood (混血 konketsu) are normal.

Furuno Kiyoto (古野清人 1899-1979), a sociologist of religion, was in charge Sections 3 and 5.

All of the section heads were were graduates of Tokyo Imperial University of essentially the same generation. Other researchers included slightly younger scholars, most Tokyo Imperial University garduates, such as Yawata Ichirō (八幡一郎 (1902-1987), an archaeologist, Egami Namio (江上波夫 1906-2002), also an archaeologist, and Sugiura Ken'ichi (杉浦健一 1905-1954), a cultural anthropologist and folklorist. Egami is best remembered today for his theory that the Yamato court was established by Puyo-related horseriders who migrated from the Korean peninsula in the latter 4th and early 5th centuries. Sugiura had done research within the Interior of Japan, as well as in Micronesia, in 1937, while attached to Japan's South Seas [Mandate] Government on Koror (コロール Korooru) in the Palau archipelago (パラオ諸島 Parao rettō).

Nations research institute bulletin

Late in the second year of its operations, the institute began publishing a journal called Minzoku kenkyūsho kiyō (民族研究所紀要) [Nations research institute bulletin], of which I have only the first issue, dated March 1944. I have have seen references but not copies of the third and fourth issues, which were not published until the fall of 1945, after the beginning of the Allied Occupation of Japan (see below). I have not seen even references to the second issue.

On 15 October 1945, pursuant to an imperial ordinance, itself pursuant to directives from the Supreme Commander for the Allied Forces (SCAP) in Tokyo, the institute, among a number of other governmental organs, was abolished.

2 (創刊の辞)、1 (目次)、409 (本文) ページ、プラス 5枚 (7面=1地図、5図版、1写真)

Minzoku Kenkyūjo
[Nations (Nationalities) Research Institute] Minzoku Kenkyūjo kiyō
[Nations (Nationalities) Research Institute bulletin] Issue 1
March 1944
Printed 20 March 1944 Published 25 March 1944 2 (Word about innagural issue), 1 (Contents), 409 (text), plus 5 unnumbered leaves representing 7 pages consisting of 1 map, 5 plates showing artifacts, and 1 photograph from a 1928 issue of The National Geographic Magazine.

The bulletin is B5 in size (about 18 x 26 cm), the most common size of government reports at the time.

The original colophon impression reading "Printer Iwamoto Yonejirō / Printing place Aikōdō Printing Company" (印刷者 岩本米次郎 / 印刷所 愛光堂印刷社) at the same Tokyo-to, Akasaku-ku address, has been pasted over with a printed slip of paper reading "Printer Fujioka Junkichi" (藤岡淳吉) at a Tokyo-to, Kanda-ku address.


The on-line database of the National Diet Library lists Volume 1 as published in 1944 by Shōkō Shoin (彰考書院), but this name appears nowhere in the Yosha Bunko copy described above. Some other representations list Volume 1 as having been issued by this publisher in August 1944.

However, Fujioka Junkichi was the president of Shōkō Shoin. Without comparing the copy in Yosha Bunko with other copies, I am unable to say whether the copy in Yosha Bunko represents an original printing or a reprint.

Shōkō Shoin, which specialized in social science works, was more fully known as Shōkō Shoin Sōritsu Jimusho" (彰考書院創立事務所) from about mid 1944, when it appears that publishing companies were obliged to create an "organizing office" (創立事務所 sōritsu jimusho) to facilitate wartime coordination of printing and distribution. Several works edited by the Ethnology Association also bear the Shōkō Shoin imprint. Shōkō Shoin and Aikōdō teamed as the publisher and the printer of the issues of the new series Ethnology Association (Society) journal when resumed after the war (see above).

Shimizu Akitoshi, in part one of his report on postwar anthropology in Japan concerning Ainu, observes that the institute continued to publish wartime research thought to be of value until it was forced to cease its operations in late 1945, as handwritten rather than typeset texts, and lists three examples, all of which are in the National Diet Library -- (1) Volume 3 (第三冊) of the bulletin in two parts (上下), October 1945, (2) Volume 4 (第四冊) of the bulletin, November 1945, and (3) and Volumes 1 and 2 of "Nations Research Institute scientific papers collection" (民族研究所科学論集 Minzoku Kenkyōjo kagaku-ron-shū). (Shimizu 2009, page 27, note 30)


In addition to the separately paginated foreword (see below), the issue consists of the following six articles.

Takata Yasuma (1883-1972, economist, sociologist)
Minzoku seisaki no kichō
[The keynotes (basics, fundamentals) of policy (regarding) nations]

Nakano Seiichi (c1905-1993, sociologist)
Tō-A ni okeru minzoku tenri no kaiken
[A revelation of the nations [nationality] principle in East Asia]

Egami Namio (1906-2002, archaeologist)
Kyōdo · Fun dōzoku ron
[Theory that Hsiung-nu (PY Xionnu) and Huns were of the same clan (race)]

Iwamura Shinobu (1905-1988, Asia historian)
Kanshuku Kaimin no ni ruikei
[Two types of (Islamic) Hui people in Kansu (WG Kan-su, PY Gansu) (province) (in China)]

Sugiura Ken'ichi (1905-1954, cultural anthropologist)
Nan'yō Guntō genjūmin no tochi seido
[Land system of indigenous people of South Sea Islands]

Watanabe Shōkō (1907-1977, Buddhologist)
Raamakurishuna no shōgai to sono shūkyō undō
[The life of Ramakrishna and his religious movement]

The five contributors other than Takata were of the same generation. All but Sugiura lived fairly productive academic lives after war. Nakano, who had been at a university in Yokohama, began residing in Hiroshima in 1949 as a professor at the newly established Hiroshima University, where he began conducting sociological surveys on survivors. He went on devote much of his life to the support of youth who had been orphaned by the atomic bombing of the city and the peace movement.

Nakano states at the start of his article that the expression "Nationalitätsprinzip" [nationality principle] exists in German, and that were he permitted to provisionally translate the German term "minzoku genri" (民族原理), in his paper he has used "minzoku genri" with a different meaning. Which is not to say, he immediately adds, that the different sense in which he has used the expression is entirely unrelated.

Nakano's object is to differentiate his usage of the expression regarding East Asia from the "one nation, one state" (一民族一国家 ichi minzoku ichi kokka) sense in which is used as European concept" (欧羅巴的な概念 Yooroppa-teki-na gainen). From this meaning from 1920 and into the 1930s, after the end of the Great War, the concept began to be unleased from its conventional European sense. And the object of his paper is to show that "minzoku genri" is also appropriate as a description of "so-called compound nationality states, multiple nationality states" (所謂複合民族國家、他民族國家 iwayuru fukugō minzoku kokka, ta minzoku kokka). (Nakano 1944, page 21).


The foreword by institute director Takata Yasuma is dated 21 February 1944.


Ethnos in Asia

In the 1970s and 1980s, the term "ethnos" gained some currency in Japanese in the title of a magazine largely inspired by an anthropologist whose roots include Taiwan. The magazine, called えとのす (Etonosu), was subtitled "Ethnos in Asia -- 民族・民俗・考古・人類" (Ethnos in Asia -- Minzoku・minzoku・kōko・jinrui) -- or "Ethnos in Aisa -- Race [ethnos, volk, nation]・folklore [culture]・antiquity [prehistory and early history]・mankind [humankind]".

Ethnos came out came out roughly three times a year, beginning with No. 1 in December 1974 and ending with No. 32 in April 1987. The 1970s witnessed an explosion of academic and public interest in Japan's ethnologic roots in Asia and the Pacific, which by the 1980s had expanded to the Silk Road.

Published by Shin Nippon Kyoiku Tosho (新日本教育図書), Ethnos was edited under the overall supervision of Kokubu Naoichi (国分直一 1908-2005), who was born in Tokyo but raised in Taiwan where his father had been posted. Kokubu graduated in history from Kyoto Imperial University, but evading the anti-proletarian atmosphere of the Interior, returned to Taiwan to teach at various local schools. He then became an anthropologist, best known for his work on Taiwan ethnology and folklore.

The inaugural issue of Ethnos (December 1974) featured the "History and culture of the Takasago tribe [race]" (高砂族の歴史と文化 Takasago-zoku no rekishi to bunka) on Taiwan. Number 4 (November 1975) had the profile of an Ainu man on the cover and featured "The races and prehistorical cultures of our northern periphery" (わが北辺の民族と先史文化 Waga kitahotori no minzoku to senshi bunka).

Number 7 (1976) includes a feature on 韓半島の民俗と歴史 (Kan-hantō no minzoku to rekishi) or "The folklore and history of the Korean peninsula". The term "Kan" (Korean "Han") is the most common reference to one or more countries on the peninsula before the emergence of the Chosŏ (Japanese "Chōsen") dynasty. The Republic of Korea, which uses "Han" in its name, also refers to the peninsula as Han-bando (한반도 韓半島).


National Museum of Ethnology (Suita) [Minpaku]

"Kokuritsu minzokugaku hakubutsukan" (国立民族学博物館) -- called "Minpaku" for short -- was established under the Ministry of Education in 1974 as an institute for research on ethnology (民俗学 minzokugaku) and cultural anthropology (文化人類学 bunka jinruigaku). The museum is located in the city of Suita in Osaka prefecture.

In 1978, before "Ainu" (アイヌ) had been recognized as a "[racioethnic] nation" (民族), the museum set up an exhibit of Ainu culture as a "distinct [racioethnic] national culture within Japan from an academic viewpoint" (学問的見地から日本のなかの独自の民族文化としてアイヌ文化). The museum boasts that those responsible for the exhibit incorporated the opinions of Ainu that that many Ainu people cooperated in its making. Every year Hokkaidō Utari Kyōkai sponsors an "Ainu [racioethnic] nation culture festival" (アイヌ民族文化祭) at the facility. (Based on information from Minpaku website as viewed on 28 October 2010.)

My own copy of a comprehensive exhibition guide published on 30 July 1986, two months before Nakasone Yasuhiro made his infamous (and infamously misunderstood) remarks on race and homogeneity, includes a section on East Asia with the following subsections (my romanizations and translations).

東アジア Higashi Ajia
East Asia

朝鮮半島の文化 Chōsen hantō no bunka
Culture of Chosen [Korean] peninsula

中国地域の文化 Chūgoku chiiki
Culture of Chugoku [Chinese] region

アイヌの文化 Ainu no bunka
Culture of Ainu (アイヌの文化)

日本の文化 Nihon no bunka
Culture of Japan

The museum organizers obviously prefer to draw the usual lines between "Korea" and "China" and "Ainu" and "Japan" as ethnological entitites. This may be inevitable, given academic embrace of conventional "racioethnic" labels -- and given the relatively "historical" focus of the exhibits.

I am reminded of dictionaries -- and something I once said to someone -- to the effect that, if you find a word in a dictionary, it is either dead or dying. I would say the same of anything found in a museum exhibit -- including the people who mount and contribute to the exhibits, and their labels.

Museum chronology

Minpaku's Japanese website and an English "Survey Guide 2010-2011" begin the museum's chronology from 1935. I have interspersed the two versions from through 1974 when the museum was established (15 July 2011, and pdf file)

1935 昭和10年 澁澤敬三氏、白鳥庫吉博士を中心に財団法人日本民族博物館の設立を計画

1935 A plan to establish an ethnological museum of Japan as an incorporated foundation is developed under the leadership of SHIBUSAWA Keizo and SHIRATORI Kurakichi.

1964 昭和39年7月 日本民族学会、日本人類学会、日本考古学協会、日本民俗学会および日本民族学協会は、「国立民族研究博物館設置」について、文部大臣など関係方面に要望

1964 The Japanese Society of Ethnology, the Anthropological Society of Nippon, the Japanese Archaeological Association, the Folklore Society of Japan, and the Japanese Association of Ethnology jointly submit a request to establish a national ethnological research museum to the Minister of Education and other relevant authorities.

1965 昭和40年5月 日本学術会議は、「国立民族学研究博物館(仮称)の設置について(勧告)」を内閣総理大臣に勧告

1965 A research council (chaired by KUWAHARA Takeo) conducts a feasibility study on the establishment of a National Ethnological Research Museum.

1972 昭和47年 民族学研究博物館に関する調査会議(座長:桑原武夫)は、文部大臣に「民族学研究博物館の基本構想について(報告)」を提出

1972 A basic concept plan for the museum is submitted to the Minister of Education.

1973 昭和48年4月 国立民族学研究博物館(仮称)の創設準備に関する会議および創設準備室を設置

1973 A preparatory council for the establishment of a National Ethnological Research Museum (tentative name) and a preparation office are set up.

1974 昭和49年6月 国立学校設置法の一部を改正する法律(昭和49年法律第81号)の施行により、国立民族学博物館が創設(管理部3課6係、情報管理施設2係、5研究部10研究部門)

1974 The National Museum of Ethnology is founded under the "Law to amend part of the National School Establishment Law" (No. 81, 1974), with an Administration Department, an Information and Documentation Center, and five Research Departments. Collecting artifacts from overseas was started in Papua New Guinea.

There is a bit more to the story than this, such as (1) Shibusawa's death in 1963, (2) the movements within Japan's anthropological societies to promote a national ethnology museum to house his own collection and otherwise fulfill his dream, and (3) the authority of Kyoto-bred scholars like Kuwahara Takeo (桑原武夫 1904-1988), Umesao Tadao (梅棹忠夫 1920-2010, the museum's first general director), and Umehara Takeshi (梅原猛 b1925). Umesao and Umehara were publicly well known as popularizers of the notion that Japanese culture was exceptional.

Minpaku's website

The Japanese version of Minpaku's website speaks of "minzoku" this and "minzoku" that. The English version -- other than in technical usage like "ethnology" and "ethnographic materials" -- avoids translating the term, and when it does, it speaks of "peoples" -- which is generally associated with ethnic, racioethnic, or racial -- not civil -- populations.

Minpaku's website carried the following descriptions of the museum in Japanese and English (as of 15 July 2011). The "History" paragraph is identical to the "Purpose" paragraph in Minpaku's English "Survey Guide 2010-2011" (pdf file, 15 July 2011).


National Museum of Ethnology




[ Several paragraphs omitted. ]


Founded in 1974, the National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku) is an Inter-University Research Institute, housing a research center and museum all in one. Since making a fresh start in April 2004 as a member of the National Institutes for the Humanities, part of the Inter-University Research Institute Corporation, Minpaku has been promoting its own research as well as joint research with other members of the National Institutes for the Humanities, comprehensively addressing the study of human cultures.

[ Unlike the "Greeting" from the director, the English "About" feature is relatively short, there having been a somewhat longer general introduction on the first page of the English version of the website (see below). ]




The National Museum of Ethnology conducts anthropological and ethnological research and aims to promote a general understanding and awareness of peoples, societies and cultures around the world through the collection and conservation of ethnographic materials and public exhibitions. It was established in 1974 as an Inter-University Research Institute under the "Law to amend part of the National School Establishment Law" (No. 81, 1974), and in April, 2004 made a fresh start as a member of the National Institutes for the Humanities, under the "National University Corporation Law" (No. 112, 2003).

"peoples" and "people"

The plural form "peoples" -- as opposed to singular "people" -- is widely used to imply an "ethnic" or "racial" or "ethnoracial" population, such as in "indigenous peoples" -- which, in Japanese, is translated "senjū minzoku" (先住民族). The United Nations, in order to avoid the racial connotations of plural "peoples", intentionally chose singular "people" in its designation of the "Year of Indigenous People".

The official Japanese translation for the name of this year expressed the intent of the singular "people" as "senjūmin" (先住民). The "civility" of just "min" (民) -- as in sonmin, chōmin, shimin, kumin, tomin, dōmin, fumin, kenmin, and of course kokumin -- contrasts sharply with the strongly clannish biological if not racial connotations of "zoku" (族) in "minzoku" (民族).

Director's greeting and English introduction

I have shown only the first paragraph of the director's greeting. The omitted paragraphs also make numerous references to the "the various [ethnic] nations of the world" (世界の諸民族 sekai no sho-minzoku).

The director observes that one of the aims of the museum is to provide information "in order to deeply understand the cultures and values of the various peoples [(ethnic) nations] . . . of the world" (世界の . . . 諸民族の文化や価値観を深く理解するため). The need for such understanding is underscored in his subsequent mention of "the tensions and confronatations between territories and between [ethnic] nations, and the frictions and conflicts between cultures and between religions" (地域間・民族間の緊張と対立、そして文化間・宗教間の摩擦や葛藤).

Where the Japanese version speaks of "the societies and cultures of the various peoples [(ethnic) nations] of the world" (世界の諸民族の社会と文化 sekai no sho-minzoku no shakai to bunka), the English phrase represents this as "peoples, societies and cultures around the world". Unlike the Japanese, the English does not directly associate "societies and cultures" with "peoples".

The English publicity lacks such statements, and generally avoids translating "minzoku" (民族) except where it appears in "ethnology" (民俗学 minzokugaku) and "ethnographic materials" (民族資料 minzoku shiryō). The few times it is translated elsewhere, it is reflected as "peoples".

The phrase "understanding of peoples with different cultural backgrounds" appears in the brief introduction to Minpaku that appears on the first page of the English version of the Minpaku website, as follows (15 July 2011).

Introduction on first page of English cite

The National Museum of Ethnology (founded in 1974 and opened to the public in 1977) is a comprehensive Research Museum with about 60 academic researchers specializing in Ethnology and related fields. It hosts an extensive collection of artifacts, some 255,000 in total, from all over the world. Of these, about 12,000 items are on display in the regular exhibition. In addition, the Museum has a wide range of electronic, audio-visual and printed materials as part of its library holdings. One of the main focuses of the Museum has been to provide the general public with accurate and updated information about various societies around the world, in order to facilitate understanding of peoples with different cultural backgrounds living together in the modern world. In Japanese, the National Museum of Ethnology is referred to as "Minpaku".


National Museum of Japanese History (Sakura) [Reihaku]

"Kokuritsu rekishi minzoku hakubutsukan" (国立歴史民俗博物館) -- called "Rekihaku" for short -- was established in 1983 as facility for conducting research and holding exhibits about "the history and culture of Japan" (日本の歴史と文化 Nihon no rekishi to bunka). The museum is located in the city of Sakura in Chiba prefecture.

The institute focuses on "the history, and the folklore world of Japanese, from primeval and old [ancient] times to recent [modern] times" (原始・古代から近代に至るまでの歴史と日本人の民俗世界 genshi·kodai kara kindai ni itaru made no rekishi to Nihonjin no minzoku sekai).

The Japanese name of the facility does not reflect "Japanese" and the English name reflects neither "folklore" nor "culture".


World fairs



Fifth National Industrial Exhibition (Osaka, 1903)

1903 National Industrial Exhibition

"The fifth exposition to promote industry inside the country" (第五回内國勸業博覽會 Dai-5-kai Kokunai kangYō hakurankai) -- officially "The Fifth National Industrial Exposition -- held in Osaka from March to September 1903 -- had so-called "Anthropology pavilion" (学術人類館 Gakujutsu jinrui kan). Usually called just "Human Pavilion" or more literally "Mankind Pavilion" (人類館 Jinruika) -- the exhibit featured a number of people said to represent "different races near the Interior" -- including some Ainu, Ryukyuans, and Taiwanese, Chosenese, Chinese, Javenese, Indians, and Turkish.

The Ainu, Ryukyuans, and Taiwanese were Japanese. Hokkaido, formally a territory of Japan since 1869, had been a prefecture since 1886 as a result of merging three prefectures formed from the territory in 1882. Okinawa, annexed as a domain in 1872, was prefecturized in 1879. Taiwan had been part of Japan's sovereign dominion since 1895, when it was ceded to Japan by China after the Sino-Japanese War. There was also a "Taiwan pavilion" (台湾館 Taiwan kan) at the 1903 exposition.

Hokkaido and Okinawa, though formally part of the Interior, had joined Japan's prefectural system after the nationalization of the domains on the three main islands, and were overseen somewhat differently. Their peripheral locations to the extreme north and south, and their exceptional treatment, sometimes inspired people to think of them as beyond the Interior. Taiwan was governed as a legal jurisdiction distinct from the Interior, though some Interior laws were also applied fully or in partly to Taiwan.

Criticism of the Human Pavilion came from a number of quarters. Some objections reflected contemporary biases among the represented "different races".

As an anthropological event, the focus of the exhibit was on what today would be called ethnology (民族学 minzokugaku), which concerns itself with populations defined by racioethnic traits. Formally, Ainu, Ryukyuans, and Taiwanese were Japanese. However, most people at the time would not have referred to them as "Japanese" in ordinary conversation. Today, too, they are likely to be racialized in daily talk and even in academic writing of the kind that places race above nationality.


Louisiana Purchase Exposition (St. Louis, 1904)

1904 Saint Louis exposition

1904   The Louisiana Purchase Exposition, aka Saint Louis World's Fair, which ran from the end of April to the start of December 1904, featured a number of "Hairy Ainu" as a living exhibition of aborigines from Japan. Their participation, organized by an American anthropologist, was officially supported by the Japanese government.

The British missionary John Batchelor (1854-1944), who lived and worked in Hokkaido among Ainu and became the most important contemporary student and recorder of their life and langauge, played a key role in the participation of Ainu at both the 1903 National Industrial Exposition in Osaka, and at the 1904 Saint Louis Exposition. University of Chicago anthropologist Frederick Starr (1858-1933), aka Ofuda Hakushi in Japan, organized the Ainu exhibition at the St. Louis fair and brought the Ainu participants from Japan to the United States.

The Ainu Group At the Saint Louis Exposition (Chicago: The Open Court Publishing Company, 1904, 118 pages of main text). Starr's dedication states "This book is dedicated / to / W J McGee, / Who made my Ainu trip possible, / and to / John Batchelor, / Who made it a success." His one-paragraph preface claims that the book is merely "a simple narrative of my trip to Yezo [Ezo, Hokkaido] and a description of the group of Ainu that I brought to this country" and refers readers who want more information about "this peculiarly interesting people" to Batchelor's books.

William John McGee (1853-1912) was in charge of anthropology at the 1904 St. Louis fair. From 1893 to 1903 he had headed the Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE), established by Congress in 1879 as a research arm of the Smithsonian, independent of the US National Museum. The bureau's research focused on American Indians.

According to Starr's 1904 account, he was approached in August 1903 with the proposition that he go to Japan to bring some Ainu to the St. Louis fair. Plans were completed in early January, and he left the United States for Japan on 14 January 1904 "with one companion, my young Mexican photographer, Manuel Gonzales." They arrived in Yokohama on 9 February and went to Tokio [Tokyo] the following day -- 10 September 2004 -- the day Japan declared war on Russia, thus commencing the Russo-Japanese war.

Starr dates the animosity between the two countries to the late 18th and early 19th centuries, justifies Japan's declaration of war, and subscribes to Japan's confidence that it will win the war despite Russia's size and strength. He then places Ainu on the map of Chinese annals when some were shipwrecked on the coast of China in 310 AD, and observes that some Ainu accompanied a Japanese embassy to China in 650 AD.

Starr then made this interesting remark (Starr 1904, page 3).

So far as we know, none have since [the 650 embassy] left Japan until this group was brought to this country in 1904. It is true that they sometimes form one of the attractions in Japanese circuses and, in 1903, a group of them was shown at the Osaka Exposition, where they attracted a great deal of attention and were so sadly spoiled and corrupted, that we were specially warned against having anything to do with any of the group.


Japan-Britain Exhibiton (London, 1910)

1910 Japan-British Exhibition

A international fair called the Japan-British Exhibition (日英博覧会 Nichi-Ei Hakurankai) was held in London from 15 May to 29 October 1910. Some 10 Ainu (4 men, 4 women, a 10-year-old boy and 3-year-old child), and 24 Taiwan raw savages, participated in the fair. So did sumo wrestlers and other representatives of people and life in Japan.

One Asahi Shinbun article reported that the most popular exhibits were those concerning mountain railroads, Taiwan raw savages, and sumo wrestlers.

A special issue of the magazine Taiyō (太陽), published in Tokyo by Hakubunkan (博文館), featuring the Japan-British Exhibition, included a Japanese translation of an article in London's local Daily News, titled "Welcoming the World's most meek Ainu people" (世界最従順のアイヌ人を迎う). The article began and ended like this (Taiyō, Volume 16, Number 9, 15 June 1910, page 63).

Ainu at the 1910 Japan-British Exhibition
London welcomes the world's meekest people

Japanese text

The Japanese text is a reformated version of the text as posted at bahaha2008 (retrieved 24 October 2010, see Sources below for further particulars).

I have not been able to examine the original article, but judging from other transcriptions on the source website, older kanji forms have been replaced by newer forms, and some kana usage and furigana may also reflect present-day rather than contemporary standards.

English translation

The structural translation is mine -- replete with numerous construction marks -- intentionally very close to the metaphorical surface of the original text. It is, of course, a translation of a translation, and not the original English article, which I have not seen.

ロンドンは今世界最従順な民を迎えた。最従順な民とは将に滅せんとする人種の遺産アイヌの一行である。アイヌ人と同じ船から台湾土人も来た、が、台湾人は決してアイヌ人と混同視してはならぬ、…台湾土人は決して従順な民ではない。. . . [Rest of paragraph omitted.]

London welcomes the most meek [obedient, sumissive] people in the world now. [These] most obidient people are a party of legacy Ainu of a race that is wont to perish [die out]. Taiwan natives too came on the same ship with the Ainu, but, as for Taiwanese [one] definitely must not confuse and view [them] with Ainu, . . . Taiwan natives definitely are not [a] meek people. [Rest of paragraph omitted.]

[ The rest of the first paragraph describes the 10 members of the Ainu party in some detail. Ainuese (アイヌ人 Ainujin) are also generally portrayed as a small people with the complexion of Caucasusese [Caucasians] (コーカサス人 Kookasasujin), who have beautiful kite-colored [dark brown] eyes and black hair, among other physical traits. The Ainu party is amazed by the sites of London. Its elderly leader is quoted to have said, when asked how they feel, that everything was so totally different and new to them, they wondered they weren't in heaven, if they weren't seeing a dream. The first sentence of the second and last paragraph agrees that when first seeing surroundings like those of heaven, one would feel that way. ]

[Beginning of paragraph omitted.] 頓て地下鉄道で旅館に案内されることになったが、一行は怖がって昇降機から地下に降りるのを拒んだ。大方『天国』から他の底に送られるものと思ったに違いない。然し他の乗客が平気で降りるので漸く納得した。九歳の子供は怖そうに母親にしがみついていたが、まもなく又寝入ってしまった。二十四名の台湾土人は別の電車から送られた。獰猛な台湾土人は従順なアイヌとは一緒に置くのはよくないからだろう。

[Beginning of paragraph omitted.] Eventually [the time] came [for the Ainu party] to be guided to [their] inn [lodging] by the undergroud [subway], but party were afraid and refused to get off underground from the elevator. Undoubtedly they thought it was something in which they were being sent from "heaven" to the bottom of the earth. As other passengers got off with even feelings [calmly, indifferently] [the Ainu party] at length consented [to get off]. The 9-year-old child looking afraid had been clinging to [his] mother, but shortly [he] fell asleep. The 24 Taiwanese [they] were sent by another train. Probably because putting ferocious Taiwan natives together with meek Ainu is not good.


1975 Okinawa marine exposition

A world's fair focusing on marine technology was held in Okinawa from 20 July 1975 to 18 January 1976, partly to celebrate the return of Okinawa to Japan on 15 May 1972.

To be continued.


Jinruikan reports



Fifth National Industrial Exhibition (Osaka, 1903)



Louisiana Purchase Exposition (St. Louis, 1904)



Japan-Britain Exhibiton (London, 1910)



Jinruikan protests



Chinese government



Korean visitors



Okinawan papers



Chinen Seishin's "Jinruikan"

Chinen Seishin (知念正真 b1941) recevied one of two Kishida Kunio Drama Awards given in their 22nd round in 1978 for "Jinruikan" (人類館). The drama takes its title from the "Human pavilion" at the 1903 National Industrial Exposition exposition, which exhibited living representatives of several races of people associated with territorities outside the Interior of Japan, including Ryukyuans.

The drama, first performed in 1976 by the Okinawan theatrical company Sōzō (創造), was published the same year in Issue 33 of the Okinawan drama magazine "Shin Okinawa bungaku" (新沖縄文学), and the following year in the nationally-distributed theatrical magazine "Teatoro" (テアトロ).

The drama shows the experiences of Okinawans under Yamato domination during the imperial era, through the experiences of a Okinawan man and woman in a cage overseen by a trainer. During the battle of Okinawa, the trainer turns into a Imperial Japanese soldier, and the couple in the cage begin talking to him in Okinawan.

The cage and trainer are extreme caricatures of the manner in which participants in the 1903 human pavilion were actually paraded and treated. As radical theater, it seems to exaggerated the victimhood while underplaying the fact that the major objection of the Okinawan's who resented the pavilion was that Okinawans were not to be ranked with the likes of Ainu and Taiwanese aborines.

Today, a century later, some Okinawans are clamoring for nationwide attention as a categorical "minority peoples" (race) (shōsū minzoku 少数民族).

"Jinruikan" sources

Chinen's drama "Jinruikan" is anthologized in several collections of Okinawan and other literature, but most conveniently in Okamoto and Takahashi 2003 (see Sources below).

There is also a CD-ROM edition of a solitary recital of the drama in 2008 by the actor Tsukayama Masane (津嘉山正種 b1944), who was born and raised in Okinawa. The obi of this volume in the "Okinawa Audio Book" series reads -- "Tsukayama Masane's Uchinaanguchi breathes life into Chinen Seishin's work" (M.A.P. 2009).

The most important book about Chinen's "Jinrukikan" is a 2005 publication I am calling "Jinruikan 2005" (see Sources below). The work, edited by a support group, is a collection of articles by various contributors, some documenting and analyzing the 1903 human pavilion and other contemporary live exhibits of "native" races, others publicizing the drama as a means of increasing public awareness of the plight of "Okinawans" as racioethnic victims of "Japanese". The book thus advocates the recognition of "Okinawajin" (Okinawaese) as a racialized minority distinct from "Nihonjin" (Japanese).


Jinruikan: The Worlds Native Building

Jinruikan (人類館) consisted of a small building just outside the main entrance to the exposition grounds. The three graphs of the name as it appeared on horizontal banners and signs read right to left (Jinruikan 2005: 2-3, 4-5, 296).

The location of the human pavilion was not noted on map published as a supplement of the 1 March 1903 edition of the Osaka Asahi Shinbun, but was shown on a revised map in the 7 March edition (Jinruikan 2005: 8-9).

The English name, as represented on a bilingual "privilige ticket", was "The Worlds Native Building", which was said to be "in the compound of the Fifth industrial exhibiton" (Jinruikan 2005: 40). The Japanese, however, states it was "in front of the main entrance to the exhibition" -- and, in fact, it was outside and to the right of the main entrance, in the plaza where people arrived on foot or by jinrikisha if not a horse-drawn buggy, where it vied for attention with a number of street bazaars.

Jinruikan, one of several privately organized attractions, ran for about five months from 10 March 1903 (Jinruikan 2005, page 28). Though originally outside the exposition grounds, from 11 May, when the grounds were expanded to include the area just outside the main entrance, the human "outside" pavilion became an "inside" entertainment (ibid., page 32, see below).

Name change

According to some reporters, "Jinruikan" or "Human pavilion" was changed to "Gakujutsu Jinruikan" or "Academic human pavilion" -- i.e., "Anthropology pavilion" -- in late February 1903, to stress the scientific intent of the exhibit from the point of view of its academic supporters at Tokyo Imperial University (Jinruikan 2005, page 163). However, it seems that the pavilion generally continued to be called just "Jinruikan" -- its name in most contemporary reports, as well as on maps, signage, tickets, and drawings.

"Tokyo jinrui gakkai zasshi" report

Jinruikan 2005 (see below) shows both a full-page readable copy of a nearly one-page notice in the 20 February 1903 issue (Volume 18, No. 203) of "Tōkyō jinrui gakkai zasshi" (東京人類学会雑誌), as well as a graphically somewhat modernized transcription of the original text (pages 33-34). The report was apparently in the "miscellaneous reports" (雑報 zappō) section of the journal, then known in English as "The Bulletin [Journal] of the Tokyo Anthropological Society".

The notice credits "[Tokyo] Academy of Physics Professor [Shōgorō] Tsuboi" -- one of the founders of the society -- with facilitating the exhibit of "mankind [humans] of different seeds [species, races, kinds] [of] various countries" (各国異種の人類 kakkoku ishu no jinrui).

The invitation and gathering of such people was intended to show their "class, level [standards], human nature, customs, and other intrinsic conditions" (階級、程度、人情、風俗、等各固有の狀躰) kaikū, teido, ninjō, fūzoku, nado kaku koyū no jōtai).

The "living [breathing] humans" (人類生意 jinrui seii) were to represent the "different seeds of people nearest the Interior, namely seven different species of natives of Hokkaidō Ainu, raw savages [uncooked barbarians] of Taiwan], Ryūkyū, Chōsen China, India, Java, and the like" (内地に最近の異種人即ち北海道アイヌ、台湾の生蕃、琉球、朝鮮、支那、印度、爪哇、等の七種の土人 Naichi ni saikin no ishujin sunawachi Hokkaidō Ainu, Taiwan no seiban, Ryūkyū, Chōsen, Shina, Indo, China, India, Jawa, nado no shichishu no dojin).

The entire notice in the 20 February 1903 issue is as follows.

Tokyo Anthropological Society journal notice on Jinruikan
Volume 18, No. 203, 20 Feburary 1903

Japanese text

The Japanese text reflects the kana usage of the facsimile of the original text as shown in Jinruikan 2005 (page 34) rather than in the transcription (page 33). Bracketed [sic] remarks following some kana, showing how by then they were usually written to show voicing, are mine.

I have underscored two phrases which, in the facsimile as shown in Jinruikan 2005, are stressed by dots along their right side. The transcription in Jinruikian 2005 does not show the emphatic marks. They appear to be part of the original article, but but I have not been able to consult a copy of the journal to confirm this.

○人類館   第五回内国勧業博覧会を機として人類館と云ふものを設置せんとの議大阪地方有志者間に起たり協賛会に於ても其費用を補助する事と成りし趣なるが、今回同館発起者より坪井理学大学教授の許へ事業賛成標本出品の件を依頼し来りしと云ふ。開会時期切迫の事にも有り、且つは設計中に解し兼ねる点も有るとかにて、教授の此企てに対する関係は未た [sic = 未だ] 詳ならず。早くより相談の無かりしは如何にも残念の事なり。右開設の趣意書は次ぎの通り。

第五回内国勧業博覧会の余興として各国異種の人類を招聘聚集して其生息の階級、程度、人情、風俗、等各固有の状躰を示すは人類生息に付学術上、商業上、工業上の参考に於いて最も有要なるものにして博覧会に缺く可からさる [sic = 可からざる] 設備なる可し然して文明各国の博覧会を観察するに人類館の設備あらざるはなし之れ至当の事と信す然るに今回の博覧会は万国大博覧会之準備会とも称す可き我国未曾有の博覧会なるにも拘らす [sic 拘らず] 公私共に人類館の設備を欠くは我輩等の甚た [sic = 甚だ] 遺憾とする所なり爰に於て有志の者相謀り内地に最近の異種人即ち北海道アイヌ、台湾の生蕃、琉球、朝鮮、支那、印度、爪哇、等の七種の土人を傭聘し其の最も固有なる生息の階級、程度、人情、風俗、等を示すことを目的とし各国の異なる住居所の摸形、装束、器具、動作、遊芸、人類、等を観覧せしむる所以なり

"Fuzoku gaho" report

The graphic magazine Fuūzoku gahō featured the 1903 Osaka exposition in its 10 June 1903 issue.

風俗画報 Fūzoku gahō [Customs graphic]
第二百六十九號 [Number 269]
明治三十六年六月十日 [10 June 1903]
東京:東陽堂 Tōkyō: Tōyōdō

The magazine is today one of the most important sources of contemporary commentary on foreign and domestic events illustrated with photographs, drawings, and maps. Every issue had a few pages and foldouts in full color.

The following article is from page 37 of the 10 June 1903 issue.

Different races near the Interior
"Anthropology pavilion" in 10 June 1903 Fujin gaho

Japanese text

The Japanese text is a reformated version of the text as posted at bahaha2008 (retrieved 24 October 2010, see "Sources" below for further particulars).

I have not been able to examine the original article, but judging from other transcriptions on the source website, older kanji forms have been replaced by newer forms, and some kana usage and furigana may also reflect present-day rather than contemporary standards. The parenthetic kana readings of some kanji were probably added by the poster.

English translation

The structural translation is mine -- replete with numerous construction marks -- intentionally very close to the metaphorical surface of the original text.







Entertainment outside [Offsite attraction]

Academic human [Anthropology] pavilion

In the interest of gathering different races near the Interior, and showing in actuality their customs, implements, and patterns of life -- Hokkaido Ainu 5 names, Taiwan raw savages [uncooked barbarians] 4 names, Ryōkyū 2 names, Chōsen 2 names, Shina [China] 3 names, India 3 names, Ditto [India] Kirin [Kling] Race 7 names, Java 3 names, Bargarii [Bengali] 1 name, Turkey 1 name, and Africa 1 name, totalling men and women of 32 names -- while grouping together within a set area [space] modeled on the places of residence in their respective countries -- show [their] daily routine behaviors and actions; and [the organizers] have established separately inside the grounds something like a stage, and at this place [they have] [the people] by turns perform the songs, dances, and music of their own countries; it is truely a spectacle; passage tickets are Ordinary passage 10 sen and Special class 30 sen, and with the Special class [attendants] are being treated with [given and served] photographs of the natives and at a separate seat [another place] thin [weak] [plain] tea.

As for the furnishings [materials] of the Human Pavilion, due to the support [patronage] of Dr. Tsuboi, in particular [they] have come to be made things [they are mainly artifacts] of Tokyo Imperial University Anthropology Department provision; these items are as to the left [below]

Ainu daily utensils (3), China [Shina] articles (5), Korea [Kankoku] articles (5), Siam figurine (1), Burma figurine (1), India figurine (1), Persia shoes (1), Taiwan savage daily utensils (5), Borneo sword (1), Java figurine (3), Java sword (1), Alaska masks (2), Alaska spoons (1), America native smoke pipe (1), Caroline Islands round fan (1), Fiji pillow (1), Samoa cloth (1), Samoa club (1), Queensland weapon (1)

As for Doctor [Tsuboi], he came to Osaka on 17 March, and exhibiting a world race map [map of the races of the world] (世界人種地図 sekai jinshu chizu) he had brought with him, he presented [it] for the inspection [viewing] of the entrants [visitors]. As for [the illustration to] the right, above the big map are things arrayed having chosen races and customs of various countries from 50 places, and making picture-forms of 100 bodies both men-and-women [figurines of 50 couples].


Much of the information in this article appears to have been directly culled from newspaper articles published three months earlier in March during the first weeks of the exposition -- in particular an article that appeared in the 1 March 1903 issue of the daily Osaka Asahi Shinbun. The list of racial groups and numbers of participants from each group are those reported before the human pavilion had actually begun.

Offsite attraction

The 12 May 1903 issue of Osaka Asahi Shinbun carried an article reporting a number of notices issued the day before by the exposition office (Jinruikan 2005, pages 31-32). The last notice which announced that, as of that day, the part of the city around the main entrance to the exposition grounds would be included within the exposition grounds (ibid., page 32). So the eateries and "outside entertainment" attractions near the entrance were now considered part of the fair.

The notice just before this, concerning "new on-site entertainments", reported plans to bring a number of dancers from Ise Matsuzaka, whose performances would be added to those of Naniwa, Ryūkyū, and Taiwan dances (ibid., page 32).

Naniwa was a relatively new style of dancing performed by geigi in Osaka's Sonezaki amusement quarter from 1882. The dances of Ise and Matsuzaka went back a few centuries to the entertainment areas around the shrines in these localities, which had became part of Mie prefecture shortly after the start of the Meiji period. The ballads and dances of Ise were particularly well known, having spread throughout Japan by people returning from pilgrimages to Ise shrine.

Shina and China

Shina (支那), too, was the common name for what was more formally called Shinkoku (清国) referring to China under the government of the Ching (Qing) (清) dynasty. A number of terms were used to label "Chinese" racially, depending on where they were percevied to have come from in China -- but Shinaese (支那人 Shinajin) would have been very common.

China, in fact, protested the notion that its subjects should be compared with people who in China would be regard as being less civilized, and apparently the plan to exhibit Chinese at the human pavilion was changed. Consequently, the participation of the three Shinaese was cancelled (Jinruikan 2005, page 35).

Taiwanese, natives, and savages

Taiwan was then part of Japan, and Taiwanese (台湾人 Taiwanjin) came in all kinds, including mainly descendants of people who had migrated from various parts of China, but also natives (土人 dojin). Long before Taiwan had become part of Japan, its Chinese administrators had come to differentiate its savages (蕃 ban, 蕃人 banjin) as "cooked" (Sinified, settled, assimilated) or "raw" (un-Sinified, unsettled, unassimilated).

One of 20 panels on a poster promoting the Fifth Industrial Exposition featured the Jinruikan. The Jinruikan panel shows five people, four of whom are identified -- one as "Taiwanese" (タイワン人 Taiwanjin), two as "Ainuese" (アイヌ人 Ainujin), and one as "Raw-savage-ese" (セイバン人 Seibanjin). The fifth, a smaller figure shown only from the back, appears to be associated with the Taiwanese. (Jinruikan 2005, page 79)

Chosen and Korea

Assuming the received transcription is graphically accurate, the distinction between "Chosen" and "Korea" is somewhat interesting, since "Chosen" (朝鮮 J. Chōsen, K. Chosŏ) was the more familiar name of the place considered the habitat of "Chosenese" (朝鮮人 Chōsenjin) and was more likely to be used as a racial label, while "Korea" (韓国 Kankoku) was the common name of the country which since 1897 when Chosen formally Korea, formally called the Empire of Korea.


What was then called a "world race map" (世界人種地図 sekai jinshu chizu) would later be called (and today is still called) a "world ethnological map" (世界 [の] 民族地図 sekai [no] minzoku chizu). Not having seen the magazine article, I cannot describe the array of figurines, but it is clear that they were intended to represent the selected races and their customs.

Jinruikan was mostly intended to showcase the academic achievements of the Anthropology Department at Tokyo Imperial University, hence the patronage and participation of Tsuboi Shōgorō. The figurines were apparently part of its own collection. (Jinruikan 2005, pages 80-81)

Such figurines, commonly displayed at anthropology exhibits, were also featured on some picture postcards (see below). Generally called "manners-customs human-forms" or "customs dolls" (風俗人形 fūzoku ningyō), they were not limited to putatively native or foreign races, but included also figurines showing the physical characteristics, coiffures, headwear, clothing, footwear, and accessories of maintream races (see below).

Protests and withdrawals
China's objection

China's ambassador to Japan in Tokyo formally objected to the planned showing of opium smoking and bound feet as examples of Chinese customs. Consequently, as stated in the headline of a 1 March 1903 article in Osaka Asahi Shinbun, viewings of Shinaese customs were banned (支那人風俗の縦覧禁止 Shinajin fūzoku no jūran kinshi). The article noted that similiar regard for the feelings of Shinaese (Chinese) would be taken in the exhibits of customs of Taiwanese at the Taiwan Pavilion. (See readable image of article in Jinruikan 2005, page 164.)

Korea's objection

The participation of Chosenese (朝鮮人 Chōsenjin) in the Jinruikan exhibits was discontinued in late March after Cho Ŭiyŏn and two other Korean visitors (韓客) submitted a complaint to the chief of the Osaka prefectural police. The letter was written in highly diplomatic Chinese from the point of view of Korea (韓国 Kankoku), as Chos#335; (朝鮮 J. Chosen) had become in 1897. Cho and the other two complainants signed as Koreans (韓人).

The letter diplomatically wonders whether including people from Korea in Jinruikan was not contrary to neighborly relations. The Jinruikan offered "undeveloped races" (未開人種). "Ryukyu, Hokkai[do], and Taiwan local [native] savages [barbarians] are within the jurisdiction of your [esteemed] country's [territoria] records and [population] registers [land and people]" (琉球北海台湾土蕃貴国版籍内之所属也). But regarding "the women of our [humble] land" (幣邦女子), is not [their inclusion in the exhibit] counter to the path of neighborly relations? The races of the east-west treaty powers comply to examples [practices, customs] with the people of the place. The three countries of the eastern ocean are of the same race and script.

(Osaka Asahi Shinbun, 19 March 1903, exposition supplement, page 2, according to bahaha2008, who shows the text of the article, called "Human Pavilion and Korea visitors" (人類館と韓客 Jinruikan no Kankyaku). The article consists of a brief statement in Japanese, followed by the Chinese text of the complaint submitted to the police.)

Korean women at Jinruikan
Cho Uiyon's appeal to Ikegami Shiro

Japanese text

The Japanese text is a reformated version of the text as posted at bahaha2008 (retrieved 24 October 2010, see "Sources" below for further particulars).

I have not been able to examine the original article, but judging from other transcriptions on the source website, older kanji forms in both the Japanese and Chinese text have been replaced by newer forms. Some kana usage and furigana in the Japanese text may also reflect present-day rather than contemporary standards. The parenthetic kana reading in the Japanese text is probably that of the poster.

The poster explicitly notes that the script of the Chinese text was small and he was unable to make out all characters, hence the several ellipses (□) for unread graphs, followed in some cases by his parnethetic guesstimates. I have shown some guesstimates of my own in red, and have enclosed translations of all guesstimates in <angle brackets>.

English translation

The structural translation is mine -- replete with numerous construction marks -- intentionally very close to the metaphorical surface of the original text.



拝啓  貴国第五回内国博覧会。是文明進歩之褒奨也。水陸之産。工商之産。無所不□(備?)而至於人類館則挙是未開人種也。琉球北海台湾土蕃 貴国版籍内之所属也。至於幣邦女子。未知□(両?)政府有何協議得成此挙。然以僕等之見聞□(図?)之。似不遇貴国商人一介人営業巧計誘引渡来者。貴下想□照悉其理由矣。交隣の道。或非乖戻乎。且東西条約列国之人種。随例倶人于此所。則理固当然。仁人志士必曰。東洋三国有同種同□(文?)之義云々。而□於 <至於> 幣邦女子参列于中則□無悪感情之相□乎。僕等流脱版図。果無容□(容喙?)之□。宜然同種之義。同国之情。感傷兼至。敢此彿告。幸? <幸便> 貴下 照亮 韓人 趙義淵 李□鎬 崔廷徳 大阪府警部長池上四郎殿

Jinruikan and Korea visitors

Regarding the adding [including] of Korea women to the Academic Jinruikan -- from Cho Ŭiyŏn and two other gentlemen -- with the meaning, Is this not contrary to the path of neighborly relations? -- addressed to Police Chief Ikegami -- there were places [parts] making sharp words [remonstrations, exhortions] [giving strong advice] -- the letter was as to the left [below]

Sir: The Fifth National Exposition of your esteemed country. Is a bounty of the progress of civiliation. Products of sea and land. Products of industry and commerce. No place [nothing] is not <provided>. And unto [as for] the Human Pavilion [it] offers undeveloped races. Ryukyu, Hokkai[do], Taiwan natives and savages. [They] belong to [are affiliated with] [are part of] your [esteemed] country's [territorial] records and [population] registers [land and people]. Unto [as for] the women of our [humble] land. [We] do not know whether <□ both?> governments had some agreement enabled their offering. Thus with our perceptions [what we see and hear] [we] <□ picture [conceive]?> this. As for [those] who through misfortune a business scheme of a merchant of your [esteemed] country enticed [induced] to cross and come [from Korea to Japan]. You [your honor] may imagine <□> and illuminate minutely the reasons. The path of neighborly relations. Is perhaps [this treatment of our women] not going backward [on] [contrary to]? [Is not (the exhibiting of our women) counter to the path of neighborly relations?] Moreover the races of the east-west treaty powers. [They] follow examples [practices, customs] with the people of the place. [This] standard and principle is firmly as it should be. Benevolent men and nobel gentlemen will say. The three countries of the eastern ocean have the justice [morality] of the same species [kind] and same <□ script?>, et cetera. And <□> <unto> [as for] the women of our [humble] land participating in [the pavilion], <□> [does this] not have <□> [associations] of bad feelings?

[Taking this] felicious opportunity [to entrust this letter to] your [honorable] illumination, [we remain], Koreans

Cho Ŭiyŏn
I [Ri] <□>ho
Ch'oe Chŏdŏ

To Ikegami Shirō [esquire]
Osaka Prefecture Chief of Police


A number of linguistic points can be made about this article

Chinese text

The inclusion of the text of the letter from the Korean men as written in Chinese -- translating into Japanese only the phrase considered to have been its main point -- may have been inspired by action taken by the Osaka Prefectural Police Chief -- for Cho Ŭiyŏn was not just a casual Korean tourist. He may very well have personally known Ikegami Shirō -- himself a rising star in the police bureaucracy and local politics.

At the same time, more literate Japanese -- schooled in classical Chinese -- were expected to be able to understand the drift of the sort of Chinese in which the letter was written. This assumption of sufficient literacy to grasp the overall meaning of such Chinese continued well into the 20th century. The 31 March 1940 evening edition of Tokyo nichinichi shinbun (Issue 22,883), for example, in its lead front-page report on the establishment in China of Wang Jingwei's new government, showed Wang's public declaration of friendship with Japan untranslated.

Dramatis personae

Cho Ŭiyŏn (趙義淵 1856-1915) -- Chō Gien in Sino-Japanese -- was Chosen's Military Minister during the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895, and at the time the pro-Russian Queen Myŏngsŏ (Queen Min) was assassinated on 8 October 1895 in the so-called Ŭmi Incident (乙未事変). Cho was thought to have been involved in the assassination. One of several officials who viewed Japan as a model for political and social reform in Chosŏn, he was forced to flee to Japan when Chosŏ's king Kogung (Kwangmu) took refuge in the Russian legation and named Cho and others as "traitors" responsible for Min's death. the during civil uprisings on 11 February 1896 that left a number of pro-Japan "traitors" dead.

Cho Ŭiyŏn was the coauthor, with Ida Kin'e (井田勤衛), of Nik-Kan Kan-Nichi gengoshū (日韓韓日言語集), a bilingual Japanese-Korean dictionary published by the Japan-Korea Friendship Society Publishers (日韓校友會出版所) in 1910 -- apparently before Korea was annexed as Chosen, for the authors were represented as being affiliated with "Great Korea" (大韓国) and "Great Japan" (大日本). Copies of the dictionary sometimes appear on Japan's antiquarian book market. It was republished in Seoul in 1977 under the editorship of some Korean linguists.

Ikegami Shirō (池上四郎 1857-1929) witnessed the entire Meiji and Taisho periods. Born the 4th son of an Aizu samurai, he would have become a member of the main force of the White Tiger Regiment in 1868 had he been 15.

Ikegami entered the police and worked his way up in the ranks, serving in many prefectures, and by 1900 he was the Chief of Police of Osaka prefecture. By 1913 he had become the mayor of Osaka, an office he held into 1923. In 1927 he was appointed the 6th Governor-General of Chosen, and held this post until, taking ill in 1929, he died in Tokyo.


Two expressions are of particular interest with regard to the history of East Asia from the middle of the 19th to the middle of the 20th centuries.

Okinawa's objection

The daily Ryūkyū Shinpō ran a number of articles and editorials protesting the participation of the two Ryukyu people at Jinruikan. Protests from Okinawa increased in April, and by mid May the exhibition of Okinawans was cancelled (Jinruikan 2005, 163-164).


Ishido Tokuichi's report

Most researchers today dwell on the "discrimination" implicit in displays like those at the 1903 Osaka exposition -- of "live exhibits" of representives of races outside Japan's demographic mainstream. Ishidō Tokuichi (石堂徳一) -- born in 1949 in the town of Ishigaki on Ishigaki island in Okinawa, then under the administration of the United States -- takes a somewhat different view of history.

Ishidō, also raised in Ishigaki, graduated from a high school on the main island of Okinawa, and from Tamagawa University in Tokyo, then studied the history of education at Ryukyu University in Okinawa. After teaching for a while at his alma mater high school, he returned to Ishigaki, where he has been active in education and the preservation of historical cultural materials.

In 2009, at the time he published the report reviewed here, Ishidō was the director of the Ishigaki Municipal Yaeyama Museum. That the report was published in Taiwan (see Sources below) is significant in that Ishigaki is closer to Taiwan than to the main island of Okinawa.

Ishigaki is the most populated island of the Yaeyama Islands of Okinawa prefecture. The island group includes Yonaguni and related islands, and also the unpopulated Sentaku islands, which are claimed by the People's Republic of China (PRC).

The Yaeyama group is closer to Taiwan, which is governed by the Republic of China (ROC), than to the main islands of Okinawa, and not a few of the older residents of Ishigaki and other Yaeyama islands were born and spent significant parts of their lives in Taiwan when it was part of Japan. Older people with Taiwan roots are well represented at gatherings of people who relate their personal experiences before and after the end of World War II, and Ishidō has also been active as a recorder of their oral histories.


Ishigaki, Lushun, Taiwan

Ishidō, a student of history, and formerly the head of the Ishigaki Municipal Yaeyama Museum (石垣市立八重山博物館 Ishigaki Shiritsu Yaeyama Hakubutsukan), has ties with historians in both ROC and PRC. His 2009 article -- published in the journal of the Department of Painting and Calligraphy Arts at the National Taiwan University of Arts -- starts with an account of a visit he made in 2001 to the Lushun Museum (旅順博物館 Lushun Bowuguan) in Lushun (旅順 J. Ryojun), formerly Port Arthur.

Port Arthur figured in both the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895 and the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. As partial settlement to the latter war, Japan acquired Russia's leasehold from China of the Liaotung (遼東 Liaodong) peninsula centuring on the port. Ryojun, and the city of Dairen (大連 C. Dalian), which embraced the port, became the front doors to Japan's expanding interests in Manchuria, beginning with the South Manchuria Railway.

The Lushun Museum goes back to 1916, when the structure in which it is still housed, now designated an important cultural property, was built by the Government-General of Kwantung (GGK). Japan established GGK in Dairen in 1906 to oversee the Liaotung territory, which it called "Kantōshū" (関東州) in Japanese and "Kwantung Province" or "Kwantung Leased Territory" in English. The structure was erected on the foundations of an officer's club built by Russia in 1900.

Ishidō, when visiting Lushun Museum in 2001, met the museum director, and when leaving to return to Japan he also received a guide to the museum. On the plane, he recalled that his own collection of materials included a picture postcard related to the museum.

Back home, Ishidō found the postcard -- and thus began an investigation that culminated in his 2009 Taiwan report.


Figurines and postcards

Ishidō's investigation of the figurines on the postcard led him to figurines in the collection of the Anthropology Department at Tokyo Imperial University.

Ishido 2009 Click to enlarge
"Customs figurines" postcard (circa 1926)
Articles on display at Kwantung Bureau Museum
Customs figurines / Present scenes of Japan
(Copped and cropped from Ishido 2009, page 59)
Figurines on postcard

Ishidō's postcard shows 18 figurines of people, six abreast in three rows, over the caption "Articles on display at Kwantung Bureau Museum / Customs figurines / Present circumstances [Scenes] of Japan" (関東庁博物館陳列品 風俗人形日本の現情 Kanō-chō Hakubutsukan chinretsuhin / F๏zoku ningyō / Nihon no genjō). Each of the figurines is standing on a square pedestal, and each pedestal appears to have a label.

The figurines represent men and women of various races dressed and coiffered according to their racial customs. The 18 individuals appear to represent 9 couples, standing together, the male generally first and always taller.

The nine couples appear to represent the major races of Japan's national population. The order seems to be from right to left and top to bottom. That is, the figurines are arrayed in the same manner as rows of text in a newspaper or magazine. Even images on woodblock prints were generally anchored in the upper right corner.

The story told on the postcard thus begins with the couple in the upper right and ends with the couple in the lower left.

Racial profiling

From this point I must engage in what amounts to racial profiling by judging the "races" of each pair of figurines, from their clothing, accessories, hair styles, headgear, and footwear, and other visible traits.

The first and second couples in the first row were probably intended to be seen as racially "Japanese" and the third couple as racially "Ainu". The first couple are wearing more formal kimono -- the man a hakama, the woman a wide obi, both a haori -- and the second couple are wearing everyday yukata-like kimono with a simple obi.

If the fourth couple (first couple in second row) are Taiwanese of "Chinese" descent, then the fifth (middle) couple are Taiwanese natives. The sixth couple (third in second row) are clearly "Chosenese" [Korean].

The three couples in the third and last row may also represent native Taiwanese races.

Ishido 2009 Click to enlarge
"Customs figurines" exhibit (circa 1904)
Figurines displayed at anthropology exhibition
held at Tokyo Imperial University on 3-5 March 1904
(Copped and cropped from Ishido 2009, page 60)
Tsuboi's anthropology exhibit



Unity and universality


A picture of unity and universality
Racial figurines in the Empire of Japan

The Impression and Afterthought of "The 5th Career Exposition in Okinawa" [sic]

Ishidou Jokuichi [sic]



本文論述主旨是對 1903 年日本「第五回內國勸業博覽會」所見的沖繩印象。 從一張 1926 年的展品畫片引發的介紹內容感思、對於日本內國勸業博覽會以及萬國博覽會中、歷年展出的相關人類學展示內容、包括琉球(沖繩)人、朝鮮人、台灣蕃人等等風俗人形或人類模型之展出陳列、由人類文化相互尊重友好的基點、對於當時日本帝國主義殖民地政策的措施有所省思。(本文依日文原稿紹內容刊出)

[ All but last paragraph of report omitted here. ]







From the single "picture postcard" "Customs Figurines" published by the Lushun Museum (former Kwantung Government Museum, we are made to know anew [informed again, reminded] that Japan had been transferred from Russia the rights and interests of [its] lease of Lushun [from China], and the manner in which, as Japan spread [its] imperialism, [it] went [about] deepening [strengthening] [its] domestic [internal] colonial policies and extra-domestic [external] colonial policies.

Presently, "Chosen" and "Taiwan" have become [are] independent countries, and Taiwan raw savages are recognized as "Taiwan aborigine" indigenous peoples [ethnic races] ("Taiwan genju min" senju minzoku) and respect for their uniquely possessed [intrinsic] historical culture is intoned [advocated].

On the other side [end] [And], an advisement [recommendation] has been issued [sent] to Japan from the International Human Rights Committee that Japan should recognize Ainuese and Ryukyuese (Ainujin, Ryūkyūjin) as "indigenous peoples" [ethnic races] (senjō minzoku).

There was an era [period] [in which people] displayed exibits of "live humans". The era of imperialism, of colonialism. This single picture postcard taught that what was being sought was not to view "heterogeneous" [different-quality] [people] as "backward" or "inferior" or "barbaric" or "undeveloped", but to recognize their "distinctiveness" and "uniqueness" and "variety", and to build mutual relations that respect "unity" and "universality".



The following Yosha Bunko and Internet sources have been directly consulted.

Yosha Bunko sources

Yoshimi 1992

This book has become one of the mostly widely quoted analyses of late 19th-century and early 20th-century world fairs. The crystallization of reports Yoshimi began to make in the late 1980s, it is based on numerous Japanese, English, French, and German contemporary and later sources. Several of the more recent sources reflect deconstructionist and postmodernist thinking, and Yoshimi's views are essentially in such camps of critique.

1992年9月25日 初版
2005年5月20日 5 版
300ページ (中公新書 1090)

Yoshimi Shun'ya
Hakurankai no seijigaku
(Manazashi no kindai)
[The politics of expositions
(The recent-era [modern times] of gazing [staring])]
Tokyo: Chūō Kōron Sha, September 1992
300 pages, paperback (Chūō Shinsho)

The following book represents Yoshimi's study of more recent expositions in Japan, including Expo 1970 (Osaka), Expo 1975 (Okinawa), Expo 1985 (Tsukuba), and Expo 2005 (Aichi). I do not have it, though, and have not used it in this article.

東京: 筑摩書房、2005年3月
302ページ (ちくま新書)

Yoshimi Shun'ya
Banpaku gensō
(Sengo seiji no jubaku)
[Exposition fantasies (The spell of postwar politics)]
Tokyo: Chikuma Shobō, March 2005
300 pages, paperback (Chikuma Shinsho)


Okamoto and Takahashi 2003

Chinen Seishin's drama "Jinruikan" is anthologized in the following collection of Okinawan literature.


Okamoto Keitoku and Takahashi Toshiko (compilers)
Okinawa bungaku sen
(Nihon no ejji kara no toi)
[ Okinawa literature selection
(Queries from the edge of Japan) ]
Tokyo: Bensei Shuppan, 1 May 2003 (first edition published)
430 pages, paper cover, jacket


Jinruikan 2005

This book, by supporters and promoters of Chinen Seishin's "Jinruikan" play, contains images and transcriptions of selected materials related to the 1903 Osaka exposition, as well as articles about the play and its various productions. The book essentially publicizes the play as a means of gaining public support for recognition of "Okinawajin" (Okinawaese) as a racialized minority distinct from racially conceived "Nihonjin" (Japanese).


Engeki "Jinruikan" jōen o jitsugen sasetai kai
[Society for realizing the presentation of the drama "Human pavilion"]
Jinruikan: Fuin sareta tobira
[ Human pavilion: Sealed doors ]
Ōsaka: Atto Waakusu [Art Works], 15 May 2005
455 pages, paper cover with jacket


Internet sources

Starr 1904

Internet Archive has several formats of scans of the original text of this important reference.

Frederick Starr
The Ainu Group At the Saint Louis Exposition
Chicago: The Open Court Publishing Company, 1904
118 pages (main text), hardcover

The main text follows two plates (frontispieces) and other unpaginated front matter, and is followed by several pages of the publisher's catalog. The main text includes many full-page plates and smaller photographs.


A website identified only as the work of bahaha2008 is dedicated to an investigation of both the "human zoo" at the 1910 Japan-British Exhibition, and the "mankind pavilion" at the 1903 Fifth Industrial Exposition (日英博覧会の「人間動物園」、第五回内国勧業博覧会の「人類館」). There is an enormous amount of material here, much of it apparently the fruits of the creator's transcriptions, scans, and cut-and-pastes of various sources.

The sources include contemporary issues of a number of major newspapers, magazines, and journals -- including the bulletin of the Tokyo Anthropological Society. Using a nearly complete set of the bulletin published in 1982 by Daiichi Shobō (第一書房), bahaha2008 extracted substantial parts of related articles in several issues from Number 203 (20 February 1903) to Number 229 (20 April 1905).

Unfortunately, some contemporary kana usage has been replaced by present usage, and some contemporary furigana have been revised in accordance with present standards. Older forms of kanji have generally been replaced by current forms, but some kanji have been kanaized.

bahaha2008 highlights phrases he wishes to comment on by way of arguing his view that some aspects of the live exhibits at early fairs and expositions are misrepresented in present-day "critiques" of the past. This much of his position I agree with.

There is a strong tendency in present-day commentary to amplify the sense of historical "victimhood" by viewing yesterday's "good will" through the lenses of today's present-day standards of "human rights". It is easy to condemn anthropological exhibits of the past simply because they reflected the sort of racial and cultural supremicism that justified conquest and colonialism. It is much more difficult to understand the dynamics of the more complex human condition at the time.

Ishido 2009

The following article is available as a pdf file from the website of National Taiwan University of Arts.

Pages 57-84

Ishidō Tokuichi <Ishidou Jokuichi>
Dai-5-kai (Nihon) Naikoku kangyō hakurankai ni miru okinawa imeeji
[Okinawa's image seen at The Fifth (Japan) National Industrial Exposition]
[National Taiwan University of Arts (NTUA)]
College of Fine Arts]
[Department of Painting and Calligraphy Arts]
Shu Hua Yi Shu Xue Kan
[Journal of Painting Calligraphy]
Volume 6, June 2009
Pages 57-84