Contemporary Japan is impressing the world with its economic rise, but the contemporary Japanese society is not less interested in the cultural tradition, protection of cultural works, organization and development of the museums as institutions being directly involved in protection of cultural heritage and in presentation of that heritage to young generations to inspire them to develope the national culture in all its areas.
Japan has 240 important museums, and most of them are public museums whose founders are provincics and cities, next are private museums which are being founded by companies, individuals or fondations, and national museums whose founder is the state.
Museums are legally defined as institutions for social education, so they are under authority of Ministry of Science and Culture.
The Museum Act, established in 1951, gave the definition of museum, its activities, qualifications for curators, basic work conditions and explained place and role of a museum in public education, and in development of science and culture.
Museums in the western way have been founded since 1872, when the state began with modernization, following European and American museums.
Most of them are modern institutions in the aspect of their work, way of working, usage oi audio-video equipment, with functional, modern and recog-niyable museum buildings.
National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka was built in 1974, and by its architecture, program and exhibitions it belongs to modern era. In Kobe harbour, one could see from far away a transparent construction which reminds of ship and waves and that is Naval Museum. City Museum in Sendai, Arts Museum in Fukuoka, Historical Museum of Hokkaido in Sapporo, are just a few of many museums alike.
Some of less specialized museums have very interesting conception. Museum of National Crafts of Japan in Osaka is one of them. Exhibition in it leads a visitor into thinking about spiritual strength and inventivity of the people whose creative capabilities can be seen in many practical everyday objects.
In the educational system, in which museums are included, a serious attention is paid to the historical museums.
One of the most interesting is Historical Museum of Hokkaido in Sapporo. The museum shows the history of this northern island of Japan through the natural potentials and economic development. Special dimension to this museum is given by the excellent technical solutions of the exhibition and an extremely good use of sound effects. Visitors can be involved in many different courses which are being offered besides the exhibition, such as: creating pottery, making different things out of strides, weaving etc. "The Room of Experiments" is also interesting, with a moto: "Touch, Think, Make".
Near the Museum is a Historical village of Hokkaido. This is an ethno-park in which original collonial buildings of the 19 and 20 century are gatherred. A lot of practical programs for visitors of different age and education have been created here.
High level of attention is shown in making a habbit with the youngsters to be in a museum. A program is compiled for them, a combination of fun and learning. A "Museum for playing" exists successfully in City Museum in Sendai.
An important group of the museums are private ones. Their founders have been collecting objects for a very long time and they have done it very skillfully.
Museum of the Oriental Ceramics in Osaka exhibits well known Ataka collection of the oriental pottery. Donators are 21 company of the Sumitomo group, and Japanese people think that this collection is one of the most precious in the world.
Besides museums there are many cities-museums and cultural areas which tell us about rich tradition of Japan. Old capitols of Japan, cities Nara and Kyoto are cities-museums, with lots of old temples, shreins, tzar palaces, fortresses and beautiful Japanese gardens.
In the big human tragedy which happened to this nation by explosion of atomic bomb, according to Japanese sources, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki died almost 425.000 people. Knowing this, when you come to these towns you are surprised when you meet with new, beautiful cities in which life is very powerful. Only parks of peace and museums remind you of the tragedy. The reminding is very powerful and what you see in the museums takes you back into the cruel past for which nobody can guarantee that will not happen again, somewhere else.
A net of museums in Japan is very good established, in the way of non repeating conceptions, as well as, in the educational-pedagogic work with all ages. Museums are in fact, cultural-education centres. They are built in the system of schools, and their research departments are cooperating with science institutions so that museums enter the circular system of education, culture and science with the purpose of educating the nation.