Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Ethics of Commercial Archaeology: Japan

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_2060


At present, Japan, a country inhabited by 128 million people, has over 440,000 registered archaeological sites (Agency for Cultural Affairs 2001: 36). The growth of archaeological survey in Japan was underpinned by postwar economic development and a national imperative for salvage excavations. Since the economic slowdown in the mid-1990s, many critical questions about Archaeological Heritage Management (AHM) and public archaeology have emerged. The subsequent long-term economic slump and expanding neoliberalism in politics have further complicated the situation, and as a result Japanese archaeology today seems to be at a stalemate.


There are no terms in Japanese equivalent to “commercial archaeology” or “contract archaeology” as used in the UK, the USA, and other countries. Perhaps many Japanese archaeologists, who are accustom to a “socialist” model in contract archaeology (Kristiansen 2009: 643) and a notion of heritage as the preservation and use of buried...

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Further Reading

  1. Okamura, K. & A. Matsuda. 2010. Archaeological heritage management in Japan, in P.M. Messenger & G.S. Smith (ed.) Cultural heritage management: a global perspective: 99-110. Gainsville: University Press of Florida.Google Scholar
  2. Okamura, K. 2012. From object-centered to people-focused: exploring a gap between archaeologists and the public in contemporary Japan, in K. Okamura & A. Matsuda (ed.) New perspectives in global public archaeology: 77-86. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  3. Okamura. K., A. Fujisawa, Y. Kondo, Y. Fujimoto, T. Uozu, Y. Ogawa, S. Kaner & K. Mizoguchi (ed.) 2013. The great East Japan earthquake and cultural heritage: towards an archaeology of disaster. Antiquity 87: 258-69.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Higashi-Yodogawa Research CentreOsaka City Cultural Properties AssociationOsakaJapan