神奈川大学日本常民文化研究所

About the ISJFC

History of ISJFC

Attic Museum members “wearing” mingu

 The “Attic Museum Society,” the predecessor of this institute, was founded in 1921 by businessman Keizo Shibusawa, and it advanced research on the lives and cultures of people in various regions of Japan, with a focus on mingu (folk instruments) and the history of fisheries. During wartime, it was renamed the ISJFC, and it embarked on a new beginning as an incorporated foundation after the war. In 1982, the institute was invited to become a part of Kanagawa University. In 2021, the institute celebrates 100 years since its founding.


1921 Keizo Shibusawa founded the Attic Museum Society with his friends. They collected and exhibited biological specimen and mingu, such as local folk toys, in Shibusawa’s garden shed.
1925

The first ‘attic renaissance’ meeting was held and the organization was named ‘Attic Museum’
(Photo: Original record of “Omochabako
(Toy Box)”
 collection record of the Attic Museum

1935 Research groups were organized: Group I (study sessions held every Saturday); Group II (mingu research); research group on fishing history, group for compilation of historical documents of Uchiura (Izu),etc.
1936

Proposal to open a folk science museum in Hoya. The entire collection of the Attic Museum was donated to the Folk Science Association.
(Photo: Folk Science Museum opened in Hoya, Tokyo in 1939 / owned by Kaichiro Koshirae)

1942 Attic Museum was renamed Institute for the Study of Japanese Folk Culture
1949 ISJFC was commissioned by the Fisheries Agency for research and conservation of fishing-related documents and materials. Survey, collection, cataloging, and hand-copying of materials were carried out at a branch office located within the Tokai National Fisheries Research Institute in Tsukishima, Tokyo.
1950

Institute for the Study of Japanese Folk Culture became an incorporated foundation
(Photo: Sorting historical materials at the Tsukishima branch office of the ISJFC, then an incorporated foundation, circa 1952)

1955 Tsukishima Branch Office closed
1963 Keizo Shibusawa deceased in October
1964 Emakimono ni yoru Nihon Jomin Seikatsu Ebiki (Pictopedia of Everyday Life in Japan from Picture Scrolls, 5 volumes)” published as an annex to “Nihon Emakimono Zenshu. (Complete Collection of Japanese Picture Scrolls)” by Kadokawa Corporation
1968 Launch of first issue of “Mingu Monthly
1972 ISJFC moved to a condominium in Ninohashi, Mita, Tokyo
1981 A committee for incorporation of ISJFC was set up in Kanagawa University. Kanagawa University Institute for the Study of Japanese Folk Culture was established in July.
1982 ISJFC as an incorporated foundation was dissolved in March 31. Research started on historical materials of the Futagami Family of Ehime Prefecture.
1984 Research started on historical materials of the Tokikuni Family of Wajima City, Ishikawa Prefecture.
1986 Launch of “Rekishi to Minzoku (History and Folk Customs)” (Kanagawa University Institute for the Study of Japanese Folk Culture)
1992 Establishment and accreditation of Graduate School of History and Folklore Studies affiliated to ISJFC.
2003 “Systematization of Nonwritten Cultural Materials for the Study of Human Society” proposed by Kanagawa University was adopted as 21st Century COE Program by MEXT
2008 Research Center for Nonwritten Cultural Materials was opened to carry on the work of the COE Program. Launch of joint research project “History and Folklore of Setonaikai”
2009 International Center for Folk Culture Studies was launched as a joint usage / research center based on ISJFC
2011 ISJFC and the Graduate School of History and Folklore Studies jointly worked to salvage and conserve materials related to Kesennuma Oshima Fisheries Cooperative Association damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake
2013

ISJFC’s Exhibition Room opened in March in the Kanagawa University Exhibition Hall newly established in the university’s Building 3. The permanent exhibition opened and the first special exhibition titled “Shipwright Tomoichiro Kondo’s World of Japanese Boat Models” was held.
(Photo: Special Exhibition “Shipwright Tomoichiro Kondo’s World of Japanese Boat Models” )

2015 Launched a joint research project: Comprehensive Studies on the Landscape and History of Sea Areas and Seaside Communities
2016 Launched various joint research projects: The Development of Field Sciences Documented in the Institute for the Study of Japanese Folk Culture Archive, History and Folk Culture of Futagami Island with Particular Focus on the Futagami Family, Research and Analysis of the Fujii Family Papers, a Priest Clan of Rikyu-Hachimangu Shrine, Oyamazaki, Kyoto
2017 From January 30 to March 17: The exhibition “Japanese Vessels and Maritime Transport” co-hosted by the Yokohama History Museum and the Institute for the Study of Japanese Folk Culture, Kanagawa University, was held at the Kanagawa University Exhibition Hall, along with “Smooth Sailing on Sengoku-bune Freight Ships: The Structures and Techniques of Traditional Japanese Vessels” held at the Kanagawa University venue.
2019 Commenced Two Research Projects: “General Research on Weaving and Uses of Clothes” and “The History and Folklore of the Toilet”
2020 Start of the following projects: Core Joint Research Project “Comprehensive History of Everyday Life” “Nichijo-Sahan (nothing out of the ordinary): What Japanese people have historically been eating (foundational research),” Topical Joint Research Project “Foundational Research on the Namban Byobu Underlayer Sheets of Porto, Portugal,” and “Research on the History and Folklore Materials in Digital Fabrication Era.”

The Department of History and Folklore Studies of the Faculty of Cross-Cultural and Japanese Studies was established in connection with this institute.
 2021 On February 2, the Institute for the Study of Japanese Folk Culture celebrated its 100th anniversary.

On February 2, the Institute for the Study of Japanese Folk Culture celebrated its 100th anniversary.
From July 17 to September 20, the Yokohama History Museum and Kanagawa University Institute for the Study of Japanese Folk Culture jointly sponsored an exhibit on “Nuno Japanese Textiles: A Living Aesthetic of Traditional Handiwork” at the Yokohama History Museum.
 2022 The International Center for Folk Culture Studies project concluded on March 31.