About FSJ - History and Organization

About FSJ

"Minzokugaku (Japanese Folklore)" is a field of study to research vernacular traditions ("minkan-densho = minzoku"). In the past the purpose of minzokugaku was to investigate historical origins and transitions of traditions through quantitative research as well as to pursue ethnos, but today our research goals and topics have been broadened. "Minzoku" is referred to as lore, custom, tradition, ritual, practice, etc., but its significance lies in the fact that they have been passed down through generations. Also, the word "min" holds a weight, which stresses that our research focuses upon the traditions within everyday life of ordinary people.

The Folklore Society of Japan was established in 1949 in order to promote folkloric research and to enhance the communication among researchers. Its predecessor is the Society for Folklore Research, established by researchers who gathered to celebrate Yanagita Kunio's sixtieth birthday in 1935. After the WWII, the Society renamed itself, responding to Japan's new social mode. The name of our journal was also changed from "Minkan Densho (Folklore)" to "Nihon Minzokugaku (Japanese Folklore Studies)" in 1953, which then became "Nihon Minzokugaku Kaiho (The Journal of Japanese Folklore Studies)" in 1958. But the previous name, "Nihon Minzokugaku," was revived in 1970, which has been kept to this day. At present, the Society has about 2,300 members.


The Society usually holds its annual meeting on the first weekend of October, in which we organize public lectures, symposiums, and other small conferences. In these events, over five hundred members participate to enjoy flourishing discussions.

Also, as in the time of Yanagita Kunio, we occasion various types of forums and conferences, including opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to present their theses. Upon celebrating the eight hundredth anniversary of danwa-kai (a type of the FSJ forum), we gathered to discuss the topic: "The role of folklore today."


Our general board meeting is held during the annual meeting.

The board consists of the president, twenty five executive directors, seventy councils, and two counsellors. The president and directors are selected by councils, and their terms of office last three years. The board organizes the committees in charge of the periodicals, conferences, public relations, audit, and general affairs respectively.

Also, the board sets up the annual meeting committee and the research award committee every year as well as other special committees upon necessity.


There are two types of members: regulars and honors. In order to join the Society, please send your application with a member's recommendation or with your CV (in English). All applications will be reviewed for approval by the board. Members will receive the society's quarterly "Nihon Minzokugaku" and other societal journals. And will enjoy the following opportunities:

  • Submit their articles and notes to the journal
  • Participate the annual meetings.
  • Apply for the FSJ research award.
  • Vote to select the board members.
  • Contribute their announcements and notes to the FSJ's homepage.

Please click Join the FSJ for the application form. The FSJ welcomes applicants from overseas.