The Jiujiro Nakaya's Archaeological Archives

Yoshihiro Nishiaki
The University Museum
The University of Tokyo

Jiujiro Nakaya (1902–1936) was an archaeologist specializing in the Jomon period at the University of Tokyo in the early 20th century. His name has remained in the literature as one of the main figures in introducing quantitative approaches to study prehistoric objects in Japanese archaeology. In addition, he was one of the first Japanese archaeologists to have experienced anthropological archaeology in France (Paris), marking an important facet of the history of Japan-France scientific exchange. Despite the short period of research owing to his early demise, Nakaya's life has attracted much attention long after his demise until today, likely because of the large amount of his work, resulting in publication of more than ten books focusing on his research and life.

The present catalogue documents his private archival collection recently donated to the University Museum, comprising research notes on cards, original manuscripts, drawings, rubbed copying sheets, letters, postcards, and other items related to his research. Most conspicuous among the Jomon items are nearly 5000 cards documenting the then known Jomon pottery and clay figurine. Considering the privileged position of the University of Tokyo researchers to access any new information as to archaeological discoveries at that time, Nakaya's exhaustive documentation practically represents a private corpus of the then known prehistoric cultural items in Japan. Interesting in the Paris-related collection are the records of systematic learning ethnography and anthropology, partly assisted by Marcel Mauss, and original documentation of dolmen sites by his own work in the Bretagne district. All these records were not fully published during his short research life. Nevertheless, they constitute testimony of a period of "modernization" of the Japanese archaeology a century ago, from both domestic and international perspectives.