New national museum opens in Kyushu, Japan

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

The 4th National Museum of Japan opened on Saturday in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture, the northern part of Kyushu island. The new museum was named Kyushu National Museum, and nicknamed "Kyuhaku". It is the first national museum in Kyushu, including national art museums and thematic museums. After the opening ceremony with around 800 invited guests on last Saturday, Kyushu National Museum began to accept visitors starting on Sunday.

Different from its three sister museums which are over 100 years old and interested mainly in fine-arts, the new museum focuses on history. It also has an ambition to display how Japanese culture has developed from the prehistoric period to the mid 19th century with its collection of some 920 items including three national treasures. Its mission statement says the museum show how the Japanese culture has developed from the view of Asian history studies. Cultural interaction between other Asian countries is also a part of its mission, locating near to Korea or China.

Dazaifu, Fukuoka is a historic site in Japan and that was a part of reasons why it received the honor of hosting the new museum, the focus of which will be on history. Since the 7th century the extension of central government, Dazaifu was situated there from which the name of modern city derives. It was the military and administrative center of the government as well as the diplomatic center of Japan which hosted East Asian guests who visited Japan. Later the Mongol and Korean allies attempted to invade Japan in the 14th century, Dazaifu became one of fierce battlefields. Also Dazaifu is known its religious significance with Dazaifu Temmangu Shrine, one of famous cults in Shintoism which worships Sugawara no Michizane, the kami of scholars and studies. In addition to those tourist interests, the new museum is expected to stimulate tourists in much wider generations and interests.

Kyushu National Museum holds a special exhibition celebrating its opening from its public opening day till November 27. During this exhibition it will open everyday, though normally on Monday it will close.

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