Fukuoka City Museum, Fukuoka-shi, Japan

The Fukuoka City Museum (Japanese: 福岡市博物館) is a museum located in Fukuoka City. Originally constructed as a theme pavilion inside the venue in keeping with the Asia Pacific Expo held, once the Fukuoka municipal history museum (current Fukuoka City literature hall) which had been in existence was made, it was closed once at the end of the exposition It was renovated and officially opened as a museum on October 18, 1990. Located in the center of the seaside rice field district, Fukuoka city general library on the west side, Fukuoka tower on the north side, Fukuoka dome on the east side across the river, etc. are the tourist spots.

Fukuoka City faces the Genkai-nada Sea in the northern part of Kyushu. It is at the western tip of the crescent-shaped Japanese archipelago and draws near to the Eurasian continent and the Korean peninsula. Our ancestors kept this area rich and lively by coming into contact first with cultures the rest of Japan was unaware of, by developing forms of production and economic activity never experienced before and by overcoming threats not encountered in the past. Subject matter of our permanent exhibitions addresses the history of Fukuoka and the lifestyle of the people of this area, which served as a gateway to foreign interchange.

The Fukuoka City Museum has three types of exhibition rooms. The Permanent Exhibition Room, the Feature Exhibition Room and the Special Exhibition Room. The Permanent Exhibition Room introduces the history and folk cultures of Fukuoka. Here visitors can learn the history of Fukuoka as well as the historical lifestyle of the people of this city, which has served as a gateway of foreign interchange from ancient times to the present day. The Feature Exhibition Room puts on exhibitions on the history, customs and culture of Fukuoka and/or Japan based on individual themes. The content changes about every two months. The Special Exhibition Room puts on large-scale exhibitions based on a variety of themes. The content changes about every two months. In addition to our exhibition rooms, we have other areas where visitors can explore or learn about a variety of subjects.

The Permanent Exhibition Room is on the 2nd floor. It is a continuous and large exhibition room that covers 2,121m². In all, it is divided into 11 sections. The first section exhibits the national treasure our museum is known for. The last section introduces the festival representing this city.

The World of the Gold Seal
Gold SealWhat we can call the very first state in the Japanese archipelago came into being here in this region. It is written in a Chinese chronicle, History of the Late Han Dynasty, that in the year 57 A.D., a seal together with a decorative ribbon was given by Emperor Guangwu of the late Han Dynasty to envoys of a king who came to ask the emperor to support their kingdom. This seal is none other than the Gold Seal. For some reason, this seal was buried in Shikanoshima Island in Fukuoka and discovered in 1784. It was immediately presented to the feudal lord of the time and certified by clan scholars such as Kamei Nanmei to be the seal referred to in Chinese historical records. In 1931, the Gold Seal was designated as a National Treasure of Japan. The seal is a well-known item from the fact that even Japanese textbooks refer to it as a cultural asset to ascertain how the Japanese nation came into being. However, its glitter and size very often bring a sense of new astonishment to many people.

The Dawn of Fukuoka
During the ice age, the greater part of the Genkai-nada Sea as we know it today was land. Approximately 26,000 years ago, people came from the Asian continent and settled here. Around 15,000 years ago, a sea came to separate the region from the continent. The people lived by cooking food the sea and forests provided and by using arrows to hunt.

The Age of Nakoku
No one knows when, but rice farming was introduced from the Asian continent. Setting a rich rice harvest as the foundation of their society, the people of the region started to run agricultural communities. This grew to the existence of a national state. In order to strengthen the country, the King sent envoys to the Emperor on the Asian continent and worked hard at introducing highly advanced culture.

The Age of the Korokan
The center of the nation moved east. This region played an important role as a gateway to diplomacy and commerce and as the front line of defense for the nation. The government of the time established a diplomatic facility called the Korokan in this region. The ruins of the Korokan were discovered in Fukuoka City in 1987. From the Korokan, we can learn about international exchange in ancient times.

The Age of Hakata Koushu
Commerce carried out at the Korokan fell into disuse by the middle of the 11th Century. Taking its place was Hakata, which saw an expansion in the scale of its trading activity carried out by Chinese traders living in Hakata referred to as Hakata Koushu. They formed a China town called Toubo and their activities led to glittering ceramics and new ideas including Zen being introduced into Japan.

The Age of Hakata’s Wealthy Merchants
After Mongolia’s attempts at invading Japan, trade fell into the hands of the Japanese. They managed Japan-Ming trading ships and travel to the Ryukyu Islands and the Korean Peninsula. Hakata flourished greatly as a result of the wealth of these traders who become wealthy merchants through their East Asian commerce. However, this had the effect of turning the region into an intense battleground of conflict amongst samurai warriors.

The Age of the Fukuoka Clan
Once into the Edo Period, the House of Kuroda became the new feudal ruler of the region. Its first feudal lord, Nagamasa, established a new castle and castle town and named the area Fukuoka. Influenced by each other, Fukuoka grew as a castle town and Hakata as a town of commerce. The long period of peace in society gave rise to the creation of new forms of study and thought.

Early Modern Fukuoka
The rushing tides of modernization could be felt even in this region at the end of the 19th Century. Bringing together Fukuoka and Hakata, Fukuoka City was created in 1889. Taking the momentum from its Exposition, Fukuoka City equipped itself with an urban area and a transportation network, and became Kyushu’s number one city. Although it was reduced to ashes in the Great Air Raid at the end of the Pacific War, its people were spiritually uplifted by festivals and sports and began taking steps towards their recovery.

Contemporary Fukuoka
After Japan’s period of rapid economic growth, Fukuoka, as an urban city, increasingly grew. Thinking its proximity to other Asian cities would create regional vitality, Fukuoka City held the Asian-Pacific Expo in 1989. The Seaside Momochi district, where the Fukuoka City Museum is located, is a relatively new area created at about this time. Perhaps we can see the shape of Fukuoka’s future from this area.

Life in Fukuhaku
A locality has its way of life. What does it mean to live in this region? Taking a clue from several events, which happen to a fictitious 4-generation family, we will take a look at how the people of Fukuoka and Hakata thought and conducted themselves and conveyed their story within their social environment.

The World of Yamakasa
The Hakata Gion Yamakasa is a festival representing this region. It has greatly impacted regional society and culture. The Japanese, fearing epidemics from ancient times, have put on many festivals at the beginning of summer, a steaming hot season in Japan, to pray against such diseases. The origin of the Hakata Gion Yamakasa can be traced to be this kind of festival. Illustrating the acts of historical and literary heroes through dolls and various decorations, the Yamakasa used to be a festival, which at first quietly paraded through its districts. However before anyone noticed, it became a festival that makes its rounds with a dynamic dash. Various district-based organizations called Nagare located within Hakata area administer the festival. Within these organizations, tight human bonds of friendship are in place to support this traditional yet absolutely gorgeous, dynamic and heroic festival.

Exhibits and collections are related to Hakata • Fukuoka, including the “Japan issue” of Tenkan three-person spear which is also chanted in the Kanji sign of Kanji (Kimpo) and Fukuoka prefecture folk song Kuroda clause Essential materials are central. The exhibition starts with golden signs and is exhibited in chronological order, mainly relics, excavated mainly from the ruins of Fukuoka city, such as plateau ruins, Hong konkan. Also, many donated items from citizens etc. are collected. In addition, along with the opening of the Museum of Fukuoka City Mu Kuta Mr. Kuroda of the former Fukuoka lord, weapons and old documents out of the collection (Kuroda article) were transferred (Golden and Japanese are also part of the Kuroda article). In contemporary collections, we have kept the Arrow that is certified as a mechanical heritage in existing Japan’s oldest domestically produced car.