The National Archives of Japan (独立行政法人国立公文書館 Dokuritsu Gyosei Hojin Kokuritsu Kōbunshokan) preserve Japanese government documents and historical records and make them available to the public. Although Japan's reverence for its unique history and art is well documented and illustrated by collections of art and documents, there is almost no archivist tradition. Before the creation of the National Archives, there was a scarcity of available public documents which preserve "grey-area" records, such as internal sources to show a process which informs the formation of a specific policy or the proceedings of various committee meetings.
In accordance with the National Archives Law No.79 (1999), the core function of preserving "government documents and records of importance as historical materials" includes all material relating to (1) decision-making on important items of national policies, and (2) processes of deliberation, discussion, or consultation prior to reaching any decision-making, and the process of enforcing policies based on decisions made. The transfer of what are deemed historically important materials from the various ministries and agencies is carried out on a regular basis in accordance with the Transfer Plan prepared and revised by the Prime Minister for each fiscal year. Preservation, restoration cataloging, microfilming and digitization are all important aspects of the archive's responsibilities. However, the National Archives is in the process of becoming something more than simply a historical repository, because it is also a complex of structures, processes, and epistemologies which are situated at a critical point of the intersection between scholarship, cultural practices, politics, and technologies.
Since the Meiji Period (1868–1912), administrative documents had been preserved respectively by each government ministry. A library for the cabinet of the early Meiji government was established in 1873; and in 1885, this became the Cabinet Library (Naikaku Bunko), which evolved as the nation's leading specialized library of ancient Japanese and Chinese classical books and materials. The Cabinet Library's collection included government records of the Edo period and the Tokugawa shogunate (1603–1867) and other material. These collections are an important element of the archive's core holdings.
In November 1959, the President of the Science Council of Japan issued a recommendation establishing a National Archives to prevent scattering and loss of official documents and to facilitate public access. In July 1971, the newly created Archives began receiving, assessing, and cataloging government documents and records of importance as historical materials; and also, the Archives focused on the conceptually distinct program designed to encourage wider interest by mounting exhibitions and fostering research.
A Cabinet resolution in 1999 led to the creation of the Japan Center for Asian Historical Records (アジア歴史資料センター Asia Rekishi Shiryo Centre), which opened in November 2001. The center digitizes data from various national institutions, such as the National Archives, Diplomatic Record Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Military Archives of the National Institute for Defense Studies of the Japan Defense Agency, and provides the digital data through the Internet.
The National Archives became an Independent Administrative Institution on April 1, 2001, when an Act amending part of the National Archives Law came into effect. Archival responsibilities include managing public access to stored records, and overseeing the collection as it grows and develops and preservation protocols.
The enhanced independence of the archives was designed to help further its institutional focus on measures for the proper conservation of historical materials.
The National Archives website provides information about the archives and catalog data which allow the holdings to be searched online. The site offers English and Japanese versions, the holdings themselves are, of course, mainly in Japanese. The website facilitates access to brief descriptions and some images of documents, books, and cultural properties. The Digital Gallery may be searched using keywords or various categories, opening access to digitised images of scrolls; maps; photographs; drawings; posters; and documents. English summaries of publications from the National Archives (journal and annual report) are available for downloading from the site.
From April 2005, the digital archive system in this website has provided high-resolution pictures of a range of holdings, including the materials designated as Important Cultural Properties of Japan. The collections in the National Archives provide tangible evidence of memory for individuals, communities, and the state; and the archives are integral in a process of defining memory institutionally within Japan's prevailing political systems and cultural norms.
The National Archives has evolved as a model for developing prefectural and municipal archival collections—some of which predate the establishment of the national institution. In these smaller institutions, similar activities of preservation, restoration, cataloging, microfilming and digitization are evolving. For example, the Digital Gallery includes digitized photos of the stack room for official documents in Shiga Prefecture in 1924. These images were appended to a report submitted by the prefectural governor to the chief of the cabinet secretariat in November of that year. Shiga's governor was describing the progress of work intended to modernize standards and procedures for compiling and storing of written records, which was expected to produce improved efficiencies in administrative services.
The Akizuki-class destroyers (秋月型駆逐艦, Akizuki-gata Kuchikukan) was a class of destroyers of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) built during World War II to complement the Kagerō class, primarily for the role of anti-aircraft screening for carrier battle groups. The class was also designated the Type-B Destroyer (乙型駆逐艦,, Otsu-gata Kuchikukan), from their plan name. During the war, the class proved to be a very capable multipurpose platform and was well regarded in the IJN.Azuma Kagami
Azuma Kagami (吾妻鏡/東鑑, literally, "Mirror of the East") is a Japanese historical chronicle.The medieval text chronicles events of the Kamakura Shogunate from Minamoto no Yoritomo's rebellion against the Taira clan in Izokuni of 1180 to Munetaka Shinnō (the 6th shōgun) and his return to Kyoto in 1266. The work is also called Hōjōbon (北条本) after the Later Hōjō family of Odawara (Kanagawa prefecture), in whose possession it used to be before it was donated to Tokugawa Ieyasu. It originally consisted of 52 chapters, but the 45th is lost. In spite of its many flaws, the document is considered the most important existing document concerning the Kamakura period.Bunka
Bunka (文化) was a Japanese era name (年号, nengō, "year name") after Kyōwa and before Bunsei. The period spanned the years from January 1804 to April 1818. The reigning emperors were Kōkaku-tennō (光格天皇) and Ninkō-Tennō (仁孝天皇).Daigaku-no-kami
Daigaku-no-kami (大学頭) was a Japanese Imperial court position and the title of the chief education expert in the rigid court hierarchy. The Imperial Daigaku-no-kami predates the Heian period; and the court position continued up through the early Meiji period. The title and position were conferred in the name of the Emperor of Japan.
In the Edo period, the head of the educational and bureaucrat training system for the Tokugawa shogunate was also known by the honorific title Daigaku-no-kami, which effectively translates as "Head of the State University". The title and position were conferred in the name of the shōgun.Daijō-kan
The Daijō-kan or Dajō-kan (Japanese: 太政官), also known as the Great Council of State, was (i) (Daijō-kan) the highest organ of Japan's premodern Imperial government under Ritsuryō legal system during and after the Nara period or (ii) (Dajō-kan) the highest organ of Japan's government briefly restored to power after the Meiji Restoration, which was replaced by the Cabinet.
It was consolidated in the Taihō Code of 702. The Asuka Kiyomihara Code of 689 marks the initial appearance of this central administrative body composed of the three ministers—the Daijō-daijin (Chancellor), the Sadaijin (Minister of the Left) and the Udaijin (Minister of the Right).The Imperial governing structure was headed by the Daijō-kan. This council and its subsidiary ministries handled all secular administrative affairs of the country, while the Jingi-kan or Department of Worship, oversaw all matters regarding Shintō ritual, clergy, and shrines.
This structured organization gradually lost power over the course of the 10th and 11th centuries, as the Fujiwara clan, dominating the post of Imperial regent, began to dominate the Daijō-kan as well. It became increasingly common for the regent to hold the post of chancellor or other office simultaneously. By the 12th century, the council was essentially powerless as a separate entity, though it seems clear that the system was never formally dismantled. Over the course of centuries, the ritsuryō state produced more and more information which was carefully archived; however, with the passage of time in the Heian period, ritsuryō institutions evolved into a political and cultural system without feedback.By the time of the Emperor Kōmei, the kuge aristocracy were joined in common goals by a number of newly powerful provincial figures from outside Kyoto. Together, this tenuous, undefined coalition of men worked together to restore the long latent prestige, persuasive power, and active strengths of a re-invigorated Imperial center. This combination of factors thrust an archaic hierarchy into the center of national attention, but with so many other high-priority matters demanding immediate attention, there was little time or energy to invest in reforming or re-organizing the Daijō-kan.Edo Castle
Edo Castle (江戸城, Edo-jō), also known as Chiyoda Castle (千代田城, Chiyoda-jō), is a flatland castle that was built in 1457 by Ōta Dōkan. It is today part of the Tokyo Imperial Palace and is in Chiyoda, Tokyo, then known as Edo, Toshima District, Musashi Province. Tokugawa Ieyasu established the Tokugawa shogunate here. It was the residence of the shōgun and location of the shogunate, and also functioned as the military capital during the Edo period of Japanese history. After the resignation of the shōgun and the Meiji Restoration, it became the Tokyo Imperial Palace. Some moats, walls and ramparts of the castle survive to this day. However, the grounds were more extensive during the Edo period, with Tokyo Station and the Marunouchi section of the city lying within the outermost moat. It also encompassed Kitanomaru Park, the Nippon Budokan Hall and other landmarks of the surrounding area.Hiroshima Prefecture
Hiroshima Prefecture (広島県, Hiroshima-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located in the Chūgoku region on Honshu island. The capital is the city of Hiroshima. It has a population of around 2.8 million.Hizen Province
Hizen Province (肥前国, Hizen no kuni) was an old province of Japan in the area of Saga and Nagasaki prefectures. It was sometimes called Hishū (肥州), with Higo Province. Hizen bordered on the provinces of Chikuzen and Chikugo. The province was included in Saikaidō. It did not include the regions of Tsushima and Iki that are now part of modern Nagasaki Prefecture.Hōei
Hōei (宝永) was a Japanese era name (年号, nengō, "year name") after Genroku and before Shōtoku. This period spanned the years from March 1704 through April 1711. The reigning emperors were Higashiyama-tennō (東山天皇) and Nakamikado-tennō (中御門天皇).Hōreki
Hōreki (宝暦), also known as Horyaku, was a Japanese era name (年号, nengō, "year name") after Kan'en and before Meiwa. The period spanned the years from October 1751 through June 1764. The reigning emperor and empress were Momozono-tennō (桃園天皇) and Go-Sakuramachi-tennō (後桜町天皇).Japan Mint
The Japan Mint (独立行政法人造幣局, Dokuritsu Gyōsei Hōjin Zōheikyoku) is an Independent Administrative Institution of the Japanese government, responsible for producing and circulating the coins of Japan. The agency has its head office in Osaka with branches in Tokyo and Hiroshima. The Japan Mint does not produce paper money; that responsibility belongs to the National Printing Bureau.Japanese destroyer Fuyutsuki
Fuyutsuki (冬月, "Winter Moon") was an Akizuki-class destroyer of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Her name means "Winter Moon".Keiō
Keiō (慶応, historically 慶應) was a Japanese era name (年号,, nengō, literally "year name") after Genji and before Meiji. The period spanned the years from May 1865 to October 1868. The reigning emperors were Kōmei-tennō (孝明天皇) and Meiji-tennō (明治天皇).Kumamoto Prefecture
Kumamoto Prefecture (熊本県, Kumamoto-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located on the island of Kyushu. The capital is the city of Kumamoto.List of Independent Administrative Institutes in Japan
List of Incorporated Administrative Agencies in Japan identifies a number of semi-official entities which operate independently from its bureaucracy. Each of the following were created pursuant the Act on General Rules for Incorporated Administrative Agencies (Law
No. 103 of 1999, modified in 2014).Meireki
Meireki (明暦) was a Japanese era name (年号, nengō, "year name") of the Edo period, after the Jōō era and before Manji era. This era's period spanned the years from April 1655 to July 1658.The reigning emperor was Go-Sai-tennō (後西院天皇).Shōhō
Shōhō (正保) was a Japanese era name (年号, nengō, "year name") after Kan'ei and before Keian. This period spanned the years from December 1644 through February 1648. The reigning emperor was Go-Kōmyō-tennō (後光明天皇).Sumida River
The Sumida River (隅田川, Sumida-gawa) is a river that flows through Tokyo, Japan. It branches from the Arakawa River at Iwabuchi and flows into Tokyo Bay. Its tributaries include the Kanda and Shakujii rivers.
What is now known as the "Sumida River" was previously the path of the Ara-kawa. However, towards the end of the Meiji era work was carried out to divert the main flow of the Ara-kawa to prevent flooding.
It passes through the following wards of Tokyo:
ChūōTreaty of Portsmouth
The Treaty of Portsmouth formally ended the 1904–05 Russo-Japanese War. It was signed on September 5, 1905 after negotiations lasting from August 6 to August 30, at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, United States. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was instrumental in the negotiations and won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.
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