Research Departments
Showa Memorial Institute
The Showa Memorial Institute was established in June 1993, when Japanese Emperor Hirohito’s highly-treasured collection of natural history specimens and documents, that were hitherto stored in the Biological Laboratory, Imperial Household, were transferred to the National Museum of Nature and Science.

The Showa Memorial Institute houses over 60,000 zoological and botanical specimens (excluding ornithological specimens) that were transferred there over a period of two years between 1993 and 1995. They include approximately 3,000 slime mold specimens and 4,000 Hydrozoa specimens that the Emperor himself conducted research on; as well as around 20,000 mollusks, 4,000 crustaceans, and other shell fish specimens; approximately 2,000 fish specimens; and about 17,000 specimens of vascular plants. These specimens were collected by Emperor Hirohito during the sixty-year period of his reign (the Showa era), mainly from the Sagami Bay, the Nasu area, and within the Imperial Palace grounds, and are valuable in understanding the biota of the particular period. Further, this collection also includes numerous samples that set the standards for listing of new species, including approximately 400 species of marine organisms collected mainly from the Sagami Bay.

In addition to conducting taxonomic research on the specimens transferred from the Imperial Palace, the Institute makes this valuable collection available to in-house and external researchers. New specimens from the Sagami Bay and surrounding waters, are also being collected and studied, and the results compared with those of previous surveys to research changes in the biota of the region.