The Meiji Government (Meiji period: 1868 to 1912) attempted to incorporate Western culture and reform society, while the common people gained more opportunities for education and began seeking greater freedom and rights.
English conversation book by John Manjirō
This is an English conversation book published at the end of the Edo period. It was written by John Manjirō, who was involved in a sea disaster and saved by an American ship. He then went to the United States, learned English, and became an interpreter.
This is an elementary school in Yamanashi Prefecture, built about 140 years ago. Residents of the village shared the expense of the construction. It is a Western-style building, but has a tiled roof and ornaments in the shape of Shachihokos at each end of the roof-ridge. (Shachihoko: an imaginary sea animal with the dragon-like head and body of fish).
Yamaba organ made in Japan in 1890 (Meiji 23)
The tradition of singing songs at school developed hand-in-hand with the popularization of the organ. Visitors can hear recorded organ music in this section of the gallery.
The Meiji Government made efforts to develop various industries, including manufacturing, as part of its national reforms. Here you can see how the Japanese transportation systems developed, how the silk mills and iron-manufacturing factories worked in those days, changes in Hokkaido, etc.
River steamboat (Tsuun-maru)
This is a steamboat connecting Ryogoku (Tokyo) and Choshi (Chiba). Until the railway opened, steamboats were an essential means of transportation in Japan.
Raw silk was first exported overseas during the Meiji period (1868 to 1912), and raw silk made in Japan sold for a high price. Robes and hats were made from such silk.
Houses of tondenhei (soldiers responsible for developing and guarding Hokkaido)
This is a model of the house of a tondenhei, who went to Hokkaido to develop the land.
Many people began to live in large cities in this period, and by the 1920s the population of Tokyo exceeded three million. Here you can see people’s daily lives and amusements in such urban areas. Also, you can see a video of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.
This is a model of a Tokyo apartment built by the Dojunkai Corporation after the Great Kanto Earthquake. It was state-of-the-art at that time.
Streetscape of Ueno and Asakusa
Here the bustle of towns (Ueno and Asakusa) at the beginning of the Showa period is depicted.
Movies in those days were silent but immensely popular. You are welcomed to enjoy some here.