The collection at Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum consists of items that were obtained by its affiliate organization – Bunka Gakuen (established in 1923) – with the intention of enriching education on the westernization of clothing. Initially, the collection mainly consisted of European dresses, early Japanese western style clothing, and kimonos. After the Second World War, the museum received garments from East and South East Asia which were obtained before the war by an organization affiliated with the Japanese army. This formed the basis of the museum’s traditional ethnic clothing collection. From 1970s-1990s the museum actively sought to expand its collection to include garments from a variety of different regions.
Today, the museum seeks to create a comprehensive and systematic collection which includes garments from a variety of regions including Japan, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Latin America.