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Mogami Tokunai Memorial Museum

更新日:2017年9月26日

Click here for information about exhibitions at the Tokunai Memorial Museum

The Museum

This museum was established to honor Mogami Tokunai (Born in Murayama, 1755-1836) and his achievements as an explorer of Yezo (present Hokkaido, Sakhalin and Kuril Islands). Near the end of the Edo-period (1603-1868) Mogami Tokunai joined his first exploration team, which was tasked by the shogunate to explore the northern island of Hokkaido. During his life he would be part of eight other expeditions to northern islands like Iturup and Kunashir, which earned him his reputation as a great explorer. To share Mogami Tokunai's great achievements with current generations, his maps of northern Japan, his written works, his surveying instruments and the landmarks that he placed on Iturup Island among other things, are on display in this museum.

The Ainu House

During his expeditions to northern Japan, Mogami Tokunai stayed with the indigenous people of Yezo, called the Ainu. It was because of their kind cooperation and support that his explorations were so successful. To commemorate Mogami Tokunai's connection to the Ainu people, a replica of a traditional Ainu house has been build on the museum grounds. Inside the house, original tools and other objects used by the Ainu people are on display.

Mogami Tokunai

Mogami Tokunai was born the eldest son in a farmer’s family in Tateoka Village (present Murayama). In his youth he traveled around villages and cities to sell goods and to take apprenticeships. One day, his father asked him: "A man should have something to aim for in his life. Have you decided on anything, yet?", Tokunai answered: "I hear that the people living in Yezo have never been taught about ethics and morals. I hope that, one day, I can go there and teach the people of Yezo about our way of farming and our advanced way of life.".

In 1781 Mogami Tokunai left his home town and moved to Edo (present Tokyo), where he studied medicine and Japanese mathematics. He also received education in astronomy and (naval) navigation, which brought him closer to realizing his dream of visiting Yezo. As one of the members of an upcoming expedition got ill, Mogami Tokunai was finally presented with the oportunity to join an expedition and go to Yezo.

Among the expeditions that Mogami Tokunai took part in, the one in 1786 is regarded as his most important one. During this expedition he went to the Island of Iturup, where he engaged in cultural exchange through song and dance with the local Ainu people and three Russians, who also happened to be on the island. The Russians taught Mogami Tokunai about the surrounding islands and about the geography of Europe. With their help, Tokunai traveled further north and became the first Japanese person to ever set foot on Urup Island.

In 1798 Mogami Tokunai got ordered by the Shogunate to join a mission to put Yezo under Japanese control. Together with his exploration party (led by Kondou Juuzou), Tokunai placed landmarks that claimed the island as Japanese territory. In doing so, he put himself on the international radar as a historically influential character.

In his final years, Mogami Tokunai met with Siebold, a physician from the Dutch trading post in Nagasaki, who was on a tribute mission to the court in Edo. During their meeting they exchanged information about a wide variety of topics, including mathematics, the Ainu, and map making. For several weeks, they worked together on translations of the Ainu language. After their meeting, Siebold praised Tokunai and described him as "an honorable man" and as "the most excellent explorer of his age". Ten years after their meeting, Mogami Tokunai passed away in Asakusa, Tokyo at the age of 82. His grave has been designated as Cultural Property, and can be found at the Renkou-ji temple in Tokyo.

Layout of the Museum

Basement(concrete structure): Exhibition Room 1, Hall, etc.
First Floor(wooden structure): Traditional Japanese House (Exhibition Room 2), Fireplace, Lounge, Seminar Room.
Garden: Lawn, Pond (with miniature Hokkaido, Sakhalin and Kuril Islands), Honorary Monument, Stone Bust, Tanka Inscription, Navigational Reference Point
Ainu House
Parking Lot: The museum has 6 parking spaces. The parking lot of the adjacent city hall can also be used for parking (large bus parking space available).

Opening Hours

09:00 - 17:00 (entry until 16:30)

Closing Days

Wednesdays (Thursday if Wednesday is a national holiday) & New Year's Holiday

Entry Fees

Adults: 300 Yen
Children (up to elementary school): 150 Yen
(Groups of 15 people or larger: Adults 250 Yen & Children (up to elementary school) 100 Yen)

Discounts

Visitors who possess a disability certificate (障がい者手帳) will receive a 50% discount upon showing it at the entrance.
The discount is also available for up to one assisting visitor.
Please contact us for more detailed information.

Access

By Public transport:
Please use the JR Ou Line and get off the train at Murayama Station.
From the east exit you can use a taxi or bus to reach the museum - 5 minutes
From the west exit to the museum on foot - 15 minutes

By Car:
From Yamagata Airport - 15 minutes

記念館周辺地図
Access Map

Contact Information

Mogami Tokunai Memorial Museum
〒995-0035
1-2-12, Chuo, Murayama City, Yamagata
Tel.: 0237-55-3003
Fax: 0237-55-3630
E-mail: tokunai@city.murayama.lg.jp

問い合わせ

Department of Lifelong Learning
電話:0237-55-2111 ファックス:0237-55-2155

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以下フッターです。

村山市役所

〒995-8666 山形県村山市中央一丁目3番6号
電話:0237-55-2111(代表) 法人番号5000020062081
開庁時間:月曜日から金曜日の午前8時30分から午後5時15分まで(祝日および12月29日から1月3日を除く)
※日曜市役所(諸証明の発行など)は午前8時30分から午後0時30分まで(12月29日から1月3日を除く)
※施設によって開館時間が異なりますので事前にご確認ください。
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