ABOUT THE MUSEUMMEIJI-MURA

ABOUT THE MUSEUM MEIJI-MURA

Beautifully located on a hillside facing Lake Iruka, it occupies an area of 1,000,000m2, where currently over sixty Meiji buildings have been brought and rebuilt. Meiji was a period in which Japan opened her doors to the outside world and laid the foundation for Modern Japan by absorbing and assimilating Western culture and technology. Along with the Aska-Nara period (553-793 A.D.) it is a very important era in the history of Japanese culture. Architecture was no exception. In addition to following the accumulation of excellent traditional wooden architecture from the Yedo period (1615-1867), builders adopted styles, techniques and materials of Western style stone and brick achitecture. With the progress of industrial revolution, these adoptions paved the way to modern architecture of steel, concrete and glass. Many of the Meiji-period buildings, including those of the highest artistic and historic value, were lost in earthquake and war disasters, and, particularly, through the rapid post-war growth of industry, whitch promoted public and private land development projects, both large and small.

With a vision of saving these cultural properties from destruction, Dr. Yoshiro Taniguchi (1904-1979), the first Director of the Museum Meiji- mura, requested Mr. Moto-o Tsuchikawa (1903-1974), his schoolmate of the former Fourth National High School and then Vice President of the Nagoya Rail Road Company, to cooperate, and together they eventually established the Meiji-mura Museum complex. They chose especially valuable buildings that were going to be destroyed, brought them to Meiji-mura and reconstructed them to their original appearance. Their original locations range from nearly all the islands of Japan to as far as Hawaii and Brazil and Seattle. Ten buildings were designated as an 'Important Cultural Property'. The buildings are arranged so that they will best display their value as a heritage of Meiji culture. Care is taken of the gardens, walks and trees to keep the "Village" environment pleasant.

On display inside the buildings are furniture and other items of interst, objects of reference related to the respective buildings, and temporary exhibitions of historic materials as occasions call. Two railroads have been laid in the village and the first Meiji streetcars and steam locomotives are operated to provide visitors with transportation. The Uji-yamada Post Office offers actual mail service. The Meiji-mura offers the Japanese people a place of social education, where they can discover and have first-hand contact with the form and spirit of the Meiji period. We also believe that the Meiji-mura, as an evidence of East-West cultural exchange, can be helpful to enhance mutual understanding between the peoples of Japan and other countries of the world.

The Museum Meiji-mura