Meiji University Museum

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Meiji University Museum is a history museum located within Meiji University in Chiyoda City, Tokyo prefecture. The museum includes exhibits about the university’s history since its founding in 1881 by Misao Yashiro, Tatsuo Kishimoto, and Kozo Miyagi. The institution was founded as Meiji Law School and was renamed to its current name in 1903. The museum initially opened in April 2003.

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The museum’s first exhibit highlights the university’s history and is home to numerous artifacts throughout the university’s time as an institution. The photo at the top of this post is a copy of the first issue of the university’s magazine. This part of the museum also includes interactive aspects such as the recreation of a women’s classroom (see photo below). The institution first admitted women in 1929 with the establishment of a Women’s Department.

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The Meiji University Museum also features exhibits from the institution’s Criminal Materials, Archaeology, and Commodity Departments. The Criminal Materials Department’s exhibit highlights laws and punishments during Japan’s history. The exhibit features booklets highlighting Japanese laws during the Edo period. In addition, multiple forms of torture such as haritsuke (crucifixion), kinshin (house arrest), and ishidakiseme (stone-holding) are presented via replicated models. The exhibit also has European torture devices such as an Iron Maiden and a Guillotine.

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The Archaeology Department’s exhibit features findings from excavations from the 1950s-60s. The Commodity Department features exhibits of traditional Japanese artifacts such as handmade lacquerware and ceramics.

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The Meiji University Museum is a small, yet interesting museum that is different than other museums in the Tokyo area. Being a university museum, it does not have an entrance fee. I would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Chiyoda City that wants to learn about unique parts of Japan’s history. The museum only takes about an hour to walk through, so it is easy to squeeze it into an itinerary for the day.


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