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  • Permanent Exhibitions
Permanent Exhitions
  • Archaeorogy
  • Shinto
  • Kokugakuin Archives


Archaeology is the study of human history from preliterate society through the present based on
research into artifacts, structures, and objects found buried in the earth. In this exhibition, we
present archaeological materials collected by the university since its founding. These materials offer
a view of the history of the Japanese Islands and their place in the world. We combine these
materials with the findings of archaeological research conducted by humanities scholars and scholars
of Shinto archaeology here at Kokugakuin University. This exhibition seeks to use these material
objects as a way to present the spiritual lives (kokoro) of the people who have lived on these islands.



From ancient times, the people of the Japanese islands have conducted rites for the kami or gods
through the use of physical objects that were also spiritually potent and objects of faith—connected
to the kokoro or spiritual life. In this exhibition, we turn to the rites or matsuri that have been
conducted throughout Japan at Shinto shrines (jinja)—the locus of faith. This exhibit makes clear
the ways in which physical objects used at shrines were also objects of faith and connected to the
spirit (kokoro) of Japanese religious life. This exhibition also attempts to uncover the characteristics
of Shinto, a foundation of Japanese culture that takes many forms throughout the archipelago and
over the ages.



The word “Kokugaku” in the name of this university is often translated as “National Learning,” and it
refers to a field of study that aims to elucidate the development and essential nature of various
phenomena and events related to Japan’s traditional culture. The discipline of “Kokugaku” is a
comprehensive study of Japanese culture which uses material cultural remnants (mono) like ancient
texts and artifacts in order to investigate the kokoro, “the heart” or “spirit” of the Japanese people.
This exhibition brings together materials from the university and library collection, including materials from the predecessor to Kokugakuin, the Imperial Institute for the Study of the Classics (Koten Kokyusho) in order to reveal the history of research and education dealing with Japanese traditional culture. The exhibition follows the historical development of Kokugakuin by looking to the history of National Learning as it was conducted here in light of that discipline’s two themes, the material (mono) and the spiritual (kokoro).