Joint Research Projects

Research Group 2-1. Basic Research on Nomenclature of Mingu (Folk Implements)

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As a tangible form of material culture, mingu (folk implements) can be excellent basic materials for understanding how ordinary people around the world live in terms of their production activities and daily lives. This research group aims, in brief, to promote international adoption of the concept expressed by the word mingu through its use as a technical term and to advance studies in this area. To that end, it is necessary to establish a common nomenclature for these objects, as archeologists and historians of science and technology have done. The limits of the existing nonstandardized terms are obvious; for example, the Japanese word kago is often translated “bamboo basket,” but one can readily think of examples made of other materials and with various shapes; thus, an illustration is required for clarity. Even within Japanese, the difference between kago and zaru (sometimes translated ‘bamboo colander’) is debatable.

The background to a systematic nomenclature for mingu is complex, as the names used by each ethnic group reflect its view of nature and the world, together with such attributes as regionality, temporality, and hierarchy; it also becomes necessary to situate the names in the context of modernization. Thus, it will be far from easy to establish a common nomenclature. In the first stage, we will discuss the definition of mingu, then take several implements as indicators and explore the possibility of developing a common nomenclature, while making comparisons among Japan, East Asia, Asia as a whole, the Middle East, and Europe. In the process, we will actively introduce methods of classification and dissemination utilizing the latest advances in informatics. As a future goal, publication of an “international mingu dictionary” would aid understanding of people’s daily lives around the world as they really are.

  Name Specialty Affiliation
PL KAMINO Yoshiharu Folklore Musashino Art University
DL SANO Kenji Folklore Kanagawa University
PM GOTO Akira Agricultural economics Kanagawa University
PM KAWANO Kazuaki Japanese Folklore Nampo Minzoku Bunka Kenkyujo
PM KOH Kwang Min Folklore Mokpo National University
PM KONO Michiaki History from the Perspective of Mingu ISJFC Kanagawa University
PM MAJIMA Shunichi Study of living TEM Kenkyujyo
PM SASAKI Takeo Folklore Fukushima Museum
PM UEZU Hitoshi Folklore Meio University, Kumejima Museum
PM YAEGASHI Jyunki Applied informatics Shizuoka University
RC ISHINO Ritsuko The study of Mingu Musashino Art University
RC KIM Jong Gyu Architecture The National Folk Museum Of Korea
RC NIKKUNI Isamu Plant ecology  
RC TAKAHASHI Noriko Japanese Folklore Kawasaki City Museum
PL
-Project leader
DL
-Deputy project leader
PM
-Project member
RC
-Research cooperator

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MEXT Approved Joint Use / Research Center

Kanagawa University
International Center for Folk Culture Studies