Cover Graphics

Folding screen depicting the arrival in Japan of Nanban ("southern barbarians"),
mother-of-pearl maki-e lacquer Western-style box with a blossom and phoenix pattern (Museum collection)

The folding screen depicting a lively scene of the arrival in Japan of Nanban shows the unloading of many goods from foreign ships and a procession of Nanban holding these rare items. Although conflicts and clashes accompany encounters with different cultures, there is not the slightest hint of this negative side as the extremely brightly colored screen decorated in blinding gold colors overflows with the joy of welcoming visitors from distant shores. The brilliance of mother-of-pearl inlay and maki-e lacquer of exported lacquerware made in Japan that would have been loaded onto returning vessels also captivated Westerners. The image that both sides had of the other's culture was by no means an accurate reflection of their true forms. People sought the meaning of utopia in the foreign cultures they glimpsed, which was represented by material satisfaction achieved through trade. The various hardships experienced before bounties were obtained from sea voyages were of no consequence.


Folding screen
depicting the arrival in Japan of Nanban


mother-of-pearl maki-e lacquer
Western-style box

Kaori Hidaka
Museum Science Department,
National Museum of Japanese History


Opening essay

Special Feature: History's First Steps - "Nanban"
In days gone by, foreign things were called Nanban ("Kiyushoran")
(Kaori Hidaka)

A Witness to History

A photographic introduction to items from the collection
Folding screen depicting the arrival in Japan of Nanban
(Jun'ichi Okubo)

Special Feature:History's First Steps - "Nanban"

Images of the Savior - Images of Christianity in Nanban folding screens (Yasumasa Oka)
The transfer and establishment of painting techniques as seen through the "Maria Juugo Gengizu" ("Fifteen images depicting the life of the Virgin Mary") (Nobuyuki Kanba)
Bounties of great sea voyages - Lacquerware exports and the interchange of art (Kaori Hidaka)


Excavated Christian relics (medals) (Koichi Goto)
Urban festivals and "foreigners" - From research on the representation of different cultures (Hiroshi Kurushima)

The 46th Museum Colloquy

Mitsuru Sakamoto and Kaori Hidaka
Injured Monsters - The appeal and attraction of Nanban research

An Invitation to History

Exhibition Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the Opening of the Museum: "Popular Culture and Created Heroes - A history of outlaws at the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate" (Satoshi Takahashi)

Book Review

Bulletin of the National Museum of Japanese History, Vol. 104
"Research into the Shoen System of the Muromachi Period"
Reviewed by Toshiko Takahashi

Book Introductions by the Author

"Interpretation of Pictures of Shrines and Temples - Scenes of Kami and Buddhas"
by the Rekihaku Forum, National Museum of Japanese History
"Retirement and Retirement Age - A Folkloric Study of Aging"
by Mayumi Sekizawa, from Rinsen Sensho No. 22

Exhibition Review

Special Exhibition: "Science in the Quest for History Exhibitions in the Quest for the Rekihaku of the Future" (Sadatoshi Miura)

Rekihaku Chat (readers' page) January 20, 2004

Rekihaku News