The museum exhibits materials related to northern peoples
Peoples with deep roots in the natural features of northern frontiers have unique traditional cultures. Among a limited body of materials on the world’s northern peoples, the resources formerly held by the Hakodate City Museum and those collected by Dr. Osamu Baba (a Hakodate-born authority on anthropology, archaeology and ethnology) and Dr. Sakuzaemon Kodama are known extensively in Japan and beyond as gems that highlight the characteristics of northern cultures.
This museum showcases Hakodate’s world-class materials on northern peoples as a tribute to the many years of surveying and research conducted by Dr. Baba and Dr. Kodama. The museum building was constructed in 1926 as the former Hakodate Branch of the Bank of Japan.
There are a number of valuable materials on display including those related to the Ainu
Resources formerly held by the Hakodate City Museum
These resources were collected by volunteers and the Kaitakushi (the Hokkaido Development Commission) from 1879 to 1886, and attract attention as some of the few remaining artifacts of their kind anywhere in the world.
Dr. Osamu Baba, a world-recognized authority on the study of northern peoples, extensively collected materials from Sakhalin, the Kuril Islands and Hokkaido around 1935. The pieces he gathered are known widely in Japan and elsewhere as the Baba collection. The Ainu artifacts in the collection were designated as an Important Tangible Folk Cultural Property of Japan in 1959 in recognition of their high global academic value.
When a pressing need for more knowledge of the Ainu arose around the time of World War II, former Hokkaido University Professor Emeritus Dr. Sakuzaemon Kodama focused on collecting Ainu artifacts at his own expense to enable their study and prevent them from being taken abroad and lost. Known as the Kodama collection, these pieces now represent valuable resources that form the foundation of Ainu studies in Japan. The collection has been studied by Dr. Kodama and members of his family who are also researchers, and the results have been extensively published by research institutions.
Experience the culture of northern peoples!
Hands-on learning program: mukkur creation and playing
Participants learn to make and play a traditional Ainu mouth harp called a mukkur.
Fee: 500 yen, Period: 60 – 90 min. (reservations required)
Hands-on learning program: paper cutting craft for northern designs
Participants learn how to cut beautiful paper designs handed down in Ainu, Uilta and other northern communities.
Fee: free, Period: 15 – 30 min.