Archaeology, Cultural Foundations, Lifestyles

Institute for the Study of Material Culture

Iwate, Japan

Our ancestors lived a way of life that involved work in the fields and mountains, hunting, raising livestock, traveling to distant towns on foot and on mounts to conduct trade, and making the tools necessary for daily life. It was a life marked by prosperity. It was also marked by a peaceful coexistence with nature, in every respect of food, clothing, and shelter.

But now our lives are characterized by speed and convenience, and that life of prosperity is at risk of becoming a past forgotten. Without realizing it, we are about to lose touch with our ancestors' lives.

Ichirosha, the Institute for the Study of Material Culture, investigates the foundations of Japanese culture and lifestyles from the points of view of archaeology and folklore studies. We are based in the Tohoku area of Japan. Our activities include recording and preserving folk cultural assets such as tools and houses, conducting interviews to document traditional methods of farming and hunting, and publishing the results of our research.

[ List of Publications ]
[ Authors' Profiles ( Bunmei NAKUI & Yoshie NAKUI )]
[ Contact ]

List of Publications

Jissokuzu No Susume: Mono Kara Gakujutsu Shiryo E
(Making Measured Drawings: Treating Objects as Subjects of Academic Interest)

Nakui, Yoshie
April 1986
Size B5, 224 pages
100 measured drawings, 119 diagrams, 69 referential diagrams, 132 photographs/figures
3,500 JPY

Describes the procedure for making measured drawings of folk tools and other folk material. Applies the methods of machine drafting for precise academic drafting. Used as a college textbook. Revised and enlarged version to be published in March 2003.

Wakamonotachi To Mingu: Mono Wa Karera Ni Nani Wo Katattaka
(Young People and Folk Tools: What the Objects Imparted to Them)

Nakui, Yoshie (author and editor)
Text and measured drawings: Iwate University students
Sources and materials courtesy of Sanzou Osanai
March 1991
Size A5, 316 pages
179 measured drawings, 180 photographs
3,800 JPY

University students formerly without interest in cultural studies experience a gradual change in attitude through the experience of making measured drawings of folk tools. Illuminates one way of augmenting what is lacking in education today.
A groundbreaking exercise in the actual preservation of cultural properties. Proposes new academic issues in the field of folk tool studies.

Kyuujussai Iwaizumi Ichitaro Ou No Gijutsu
(The Skills and Techniques of the Venerable Iwaizumi Ichitaro)

Nakui, Bunmei
Measured drawings and basic research: Iwate University students
Measured drawings supervised by Yoshie Nakui
September 1994
Size B5, 224 pages
164 measured drawings, 164 photographs
3,500 JPY

Woodcutting, sawing, woodworking, bark-processing, straw-making, coal-making, gathering firewood, raising cattle, and growing cereals and grains -- a person used to have at command a variety of skills for life and living. The research spans ten years and documents the life of the venerable Ichitaro and the art of living.

Yama To Ikiru: Uchimagi Yasuzo Ke No Kurashi
(Living with the Mountains: Life with the Yasuzo Uchimagi Family)

Nakui, Bunmei, and Nakui, Yoshie
Measured drawings: Students of Iwate University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
September 2001
Size B5, 371 pages
411 measured drawings and plates, 53 photographs
4,095 JPY

Depicts the harsh yet rewarding life of people who lived gwith the mountains.h
Deep in the mountains of Kitakami in northern Iwate, one family has for generations embraced glife with nature.h Their life is illustrated through a description of the surrounding nature, their living spaces, everyday life, activities, occupations, and social life.
Emphasis on the objective analysis of traditional techniques and artifacts. In over ten years, more than 260 students have participated in this research project, conducting interviews and making measured drawings of folk cultural assets.

Authors' Profiles

Bunmei NAKUI

Academic Affiliations
Member, Japanese Archaeological Association
Member, Nippon Mingu Gakkai (Academic Society for Folk-Tools of Japan)
Researcher of Japanese sources, National Museum of Ethnology
Lecturer, Iwate University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Academic Profile
In the 1970s, Bunmei NAKUI specialized in Archaeology and published a dissertation on the chronology of pottery in the Early Jomon Period. He was a research associate at the Iwate Prefectural Museum in the 1980s and 1990s. In this role, he organized exhibits and educational seminars for the History section. During the same period, he published analytical papers on folk cultural assets. In particular, research on the culture of growing grains and cereals, and on the culture of bark usage are widely acclaimed.
A pioneer in comparative studies, he uses characteristics of folk culture to compare regions and time periods. Current research themes have expanded to include comparisons with the Eurasian continent and with the Jomon and Paleolithic periods.

Kyuujussai Iwaizumi Ichitaro Ou No Gijutsu, Ichirosha, 1994
Juhi No Bunkashi, Yoshikawa Koubunkan, 1999
Yama To Ikiru (co-author), Ichirosha, 2001

Yoshie NAKUI

Academic Affiliations
Lecturer, Iwate University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Curator Emeritus, Kawai-mura Kitakami Sanchi Minzoku Shiryokan (Kawai Village Kitakami Mountains Folklore Research Museum)

Academic Profile
Yoshie NAKUI has been involved in the education of young people working for local cultural-property administrations since the 1980s. She teaches young people the methodology of making measured drawings, with a focus on understanding the value of gobjects.h She conducts research on the preservation and use of folk cultural assets.
She is also engaged in research on tangible folk heritage designated by the Japanese government, and cultural heritage of Iwate and Aomori Prefectures.

Jissokuzu No Susume, Ichirosha, 1986
Wakamonotachi To Mingu, Ichirosha, 1991
Yama To Ikiru (co-author), Ichirosha, 2001


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