On August 3rd (Fri.), 2018, the 12th public lecture of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and the 24th exhibition and demonstration seminar of Tokyo samisen and koto” were held jointly by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and Tokyo Japanese Musical Instruments Association (Tohokyo) under the theme of the “craftsmanship underlying the traditional sounds.”
In the morning, instrument makers (koto and samisen) from Tohokyo gave demonstration and explanation along with time for Q&A session and hands-on experience. Participants had a valuable opportunity to talk directly with makers and learn how to play the instruments. At the lunch time, a staff member who had been engaged in instrument manufacturing and inspection for repairs in the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage gave a panel talk by introducing specific examples. At the public lecture in the afternoon, three lecturers raised the issues concerning the craftsmanship underlying Japanese traditional sounds and reported their activities from different positions. With a commentator joining in the seminar, all those issues and problems were organized, and opinions were exchanged on clues for solution. Lastly, young promising players closed the seminar with their nagauta (ballads sung to samisen accompaniment). The seminar participants shared the issues at various levels surrounding the traditional craftsmanship with producers, researchers, and players being linked together.
The seminar was attended by 148 participants from various communities, such as manufacturers of music instruments and their accessories, live performers from different genres, researchers, educators, and devotees of traditional performance arts. It was found that there is a great interest in the craftsmanship underlying traditional performance arts. A report will be published at the end of this year, and going forward, we will conduct multi-faceted research on this theme and continue with our studies benefitting the preservation and inheritance of craftsmanship, by utilizing the newly established network at this opportunity.
To conserve Japanese paintings, calligraphic works and other pictorial artifacts, we are now increasingly required to have some knowledge of conservation science. To meet these demands of conservators Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and the Association for Conservation of National Treasures (ACNT) jointly conducted a workshop with a training program for conservators from July 31st to August 1st, 2018, which included lectures on basic knowledge and practical work sessions. The workshop aimed to provide hands-on knowledge that can be applied to actual conservation works. To achieve this purpose, we designed a curriculum that would help participants accurately understand the chemical properties of organic solvents and enzymes as well as the proper handling of basic laboratory instruments and chemicals for more effective and safer restorations. The workshop has been held once a year since 2016.
A total of 11 people, one from each corporate member of ACNT, participated in the workshop. Dr. Sano, Director of the Center for Conservation Science; Dr. Sato, Head of the Biological Science Section; and I provided lectures on the safe handling of organic solvents; integrated pest management (IPM) for cultural properties at restoration studios; and removal methods of adhesives and stains, respectively. Based on these lectures particularly using models of the molecular construction of solvents, the participants practiced removing various types of stains on the sheets of paper that we prepared, by using suitable solvents and enzymes. The practical work session also covered other topics such as the use of cyclododecane as a temporary protective coating for water-sensitive colorants. Mr. Kimishima, ACNT’s Senior Conservator, taught in the work session and provided hands-on training to the participants.
The program ended with a lively Q&A session and discussion. We will continue to hold such workshop in the future.
“International Symposium on the Conservation of Modernization Heritage and Its Promotional Planning” in Taiwan
The Modern Cultural Heritage Section has been interacting with Taiwanese officials and researchers working on cultural properties since FY 2017 so as to share mutual experiences and issues on conservation and utilization of modern cultural heritage for their smooth resolution through research.
As part of this activity, we participated in the “International Symposium on the Conservation of Modernization Heritage and Its Promotional Planning” held under the auspices of the Bureau of Cultural Heritage, the Ministry of Culture and Chung Yuan Christian University in Taiwan on August 17th, 2018. At the symposium, Japanese experts representing the industrial heritage, railway and machinery areas delivered lectures. Mr. Kitagawa, the Head of the Modern Cultural Heritage Section at Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, lectured on the administration of cultural properties related to modernization heritage. The symposium attracted a large Taiwanese audience, including administrative officials, owners of cultural properties, university researchers, and citizen groups, resulting in engaging discussions ranging from the principles of conservation and utilization of modernization heritage to their approaches.
In conjunction with the symposium, we discussed with Taiwanese researchers how hydraulic structures, factories, and railway facilities constructed during the period of Japanese rule have been conserved and utilized, along with various approaches and issues. Among them was a very interesting case in which a motorcycle manufacturer who had developed an electric-assist railbike made use of the dead track of a now-defunct railway. The railway is now protected as a cultural property for the operation of the facility.
We also visited Director-general Gwo-Long Shy and other officials at the Bureau of Cultural Heritage, the Ministry of Culture in Taichung. There, we exchanged ideas on Japanese and Taiwanese histories, and on concepts concerning systems for the protection of cultural properties associated with modernization heritage, as well as their conservation and utilization.
Two workshops on the conservation of Japanese textiles were jointly organized by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) and National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) for the purpose of preservation and utilization of Japanese textiles overseas. A basic workshop “Cultural Properties of Textile in Japan” was held from August 8th to 10th and an advanced workshop “Conservation of Japanese Textile” was held from August 13th to 17th, 2018. Both were conducted at the Research Center for Conservation of Cultural Relics in NTNU by researchers specialized in textiles and conservators from Japan and Taiwan. The participants were conservators, researchers and students; the basic course had nine participants from six countries and the advanced one had six participants from five countries.
The basic workshop started with lectures on the systems of protection of tangible and intangible cultural properties, and moved its focus to fibers and threads as textile materials and some of the representative textiles in Japan. Following the lectures, the participants also experienced folding and displaying Japanese garments (kimono). The practical work on making a paper model of kimono helped the participants to understand the general way in which kimono is constructed from a bolt of fabric. The first half of the advanced workshop focused on the identification of dyes, surface cleaning and wet cleaning. The latter half introduced a Japanese approach to textile conservation and treatment, and the participants experienced stitching a support silk fabric to the back side of an old textile fragment and making an enclosure for it. In both workshops, there were lectures on case studies, and various methods of the display and conservation of Japanese textiles were shared. It served as an opportunity to comprehend conservation materials and application methods as well as textile materials and techniques.
Similar projects will continue to be implemented with the aim of contributing to not only the conservation and utilization of Japanese tangible textile objects abroad, but also the preservation of related intangible cultural properties.
Mr. Nobuo KAMEI, Director General of our Institute since April 2010 passed away on July 17th, 2018, of gastric cancer. He devoted himself to the growth and advancement of the Institute until his very last moment. Mr. KAMEI graduated from the Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering of the University of Tokyo and completed the doctoral course in the Department of Urban Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering of the same university in March 1973. He joined the Architecture Division, Cultural Properties Protection Department of the Agency for Cultural Affairs of the Government of Japan as a Technical Official in April of that year. He moved to the Nara National Cultural Properties Research Institute (current Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties) in 1975, then to the Board of Education of Nara City in 1984 and became President of the National Institute of Technology, Miyakonojo College in 2003. In 2005 he returned to the Agency for Cultural Affairs and served as Councillor of the Cultural Properties Department until he assumed the post of Managing Director of the Japanese Association for Conservation of Architectural Monuments, an incorporated foundation in 2008. During his service at the Agency for Cultural Affairs, he made a great contribution to the enhancement of the program for the registration of cultural properties and also played an instrumental role in the selection, repair and landscaping of the “Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Buildings.” In addition, Mr. KAMEI launched the “Hometown Forest for Cultural Properties” program designed to ensure that Japanese cypress bark and other resources required for the maintenance and repair of traditional buildings will be available for years to come. When the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake struck on January 17th, 1995, he demonstrated his leadership in the restoration of affected cultural properties as chief investigator.
Between April 2010 and March 2013 he was Director of the National Institutes for Cultural Heritage and concomitantly Director General of our Institute, the latter of which he continued to hold after he stepped down from the former organization. In the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred less than a year from his arrival at our Institute, he took Chairman of the Committee for Salvaging Cultural Properties Affected by the 2011 Earthquake off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku and Related Disasters that was set up by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. Mr. KAMEI successfully led the rescue operation that involved 6,800 people in total from around the country and lasted for two years.
Outside the Institute, he served as the chair of the Subdivision on Cultural Properties of the Council for Cultural Affairs since 2017. In that capacity he took the initiative in proposing recommendations concerning the “Preservation and Utilization of Cultural Properties for Assured Inheritance in the New Era.” His contribution to the protection and inheritance of cultural properties encompassed not only architecture, his own specialization, but also all other cultural properties.
All of us at Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties are deeply saddened by the loss of Mr. KAMEI, especially at a time when the national policy on the preservation of cultural properties is entering a new dimension following the March 2018 revision of the Act on the Protection of Cultural Properties. We renew our commitment to carrying on Mr. KAMEI’s last wishes of duly passing on our precious cultural properties to future generations.
On July 30th, 2018, the above seminar was conducted at Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) with ten research presentations delivered by eleven experts.
Wat Rajpradit is a first-grade royal Buddhist temple located in Bangkok, Thailand. It was built at the request of King Rama IV in 1864. The windows of the ordination hall (ubosot) and the inner sides of the entrance doors of the Temple were mother-of-pearl with underpaint and the panels were decorated with lacquer paintings. For the mother-of-pearl with underpaint, thin strips of abalone or other shells were placed on the base material after coloring, line drawing and metal foil were applied on the reverse of the shell pieces. At the request of the Fine Arts Department of the Ministry of Culture of Thailand and the Temple, TNRICP started providing technical assistance for the restoration project in Thailand in 2012. From 2013 through 2015, two door panels were brought to Japan to conduct a detailed scientific survey and trial restoration in collaboration with experts inside and outside the Institute.
At this seminar, the results of an optical survey implemented in Thailand and the interpretation of icons found in the lacquer painting patterns were also reported, in addition to the outcomes of the scientific surveys such as X-ray photography of door panels, fluorescent X-ray analysis of pigments, and organic analysis of lacquer coating film and undercoat. These outcomes identified the techniques and materials used for decorating the door panels, showing evidence that they were made in Japan. In addition, the manufacturing techniques used on these door panels and the Japanese style of mother-of pearl with underpaint that existed in Japan and Thailand were considered, while how and when such techniques evolved were also studied.
The technique of mother-of-pearl with underpaint was used for a short period from the end of 18th century until the late 19th century. Its technical genealogy has not been fully clarified yet. We will continue to provide technical support for the door panel restoration project at Wat Rajpradit while conducting research and study on door panels and mother-of-pearl with underpaint in both Japan and Thailand.
Renewed memorandum of agreement on a joint project with the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures
In July 2013, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties signed a memorandum of agreement on a five-year joint project with the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC) located in Norwich in the County of Norfolk, UK and worked on the project of “Shaping the Fundamentals of Research on Japanese Art” while sending researchers of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems to give lectures on Japanese art at the SISJAC every year. In the project of “Shaping the Fundamentals of Research on Japanese Art”, SISJAC has collected and entered data related to the study of Japanese arts written in English to be added to the database of our institute. By the middle of June 2018, 4675 items including 2584 titles of articles on Japanese cultural properties, 1631 titles of art exhibitions and movie festivals held overseas, and 460 titles of books on Japanese cultural properties published overseas had been sent and gathered into the database of our institute to enable cross-searches.
To continue these projects, Dr. Simon Kaner, General Director of SISJAC and Yamanashi, Deputy Director General of the institute signed the renewed memorandum of agreement on the joint project on July 13th at the SISJAC. Continuation of the joint project would help to enrich the database and enhance research exchange.
On July 30th, 2018, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage recorded a live performance of Miyazono-bushi (for the first time) at the Performing Arts Studio of Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties. Miyazono-bushi is designated as a nationally important intangible cultural property.
The first MIYAKOJI Sonohachi created Miyazono-bushi in Kyoto in the early 18th century. It declined later in Kyoto, but was revived in Edo in the mid-18th century, and has been inherited until today. The musical features of Miyazono-bushi are its unique joruri (vocal part), which is heavy yet silky, and the sound of the chuzao (middle neck) shamisen (Japanese banjo), which is soft yet thick. The traditional tunes are divided into 10 classical ones and modern ones, whose themes are mostly elopements for double suicides.
This time, a classical tune, the “Scene of KOHARU Jihee Using Kotatsu (Japanese foot warmer)” (Kotatsu), and a modern tune, “Double Suicide in Minowa” were recorded. Both were performed by MIYAZONO Senroku (lead singer: an individual certified as a Holder of Important Intangible Cultural Property or what is called living national treasure), MIYAZONO Senyoshie (supporting singer), MIYAZONO Senkazuya (lead shamisen player), and MIYAZONO Senkoju (supporting shamisen player).
The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage will continue to record the live performance of classical Miyazono-bushi tunes as well as its modern tunes, which are seldom played.
From June 25th through July 6th, 2018, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties organized a workshop on the conservation of historic textiles in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture in the Republic of Armenia. Based on the cooperation agreement regarding the cultural heritage protection area established between them in 2014, this workshop was implemented for the second time following last year.
This workshop was conducted at the Scientific Research Center for Historical and Cultural Heritage and the Museum of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin with Dr. Mie ISHII, a visiting researcher from the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation, and Ms. Midori YOKOYAMA from the NHK Culture Center Saitama, as lecturers. Fourteen trainees from seven institutions such as museums and galleries in Armenia attended the workshop. At the Scientific Research Center, historic textiles unearthed from archaeological sites in the 12th century, which the Center possesses, were analyzed by microscope before practical training on how they should be stored. At the Museum of the Mother See, the trainees stitched the Museum’s textiles for reinforcement with more advanced techniques before exhibiting them at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the United States in September.
This time, we provided practical training with historic textiles that provided the trainees with very good experience. We will organize a workshop in 2019 as well to transfer our knowledge and techniques to Armenian specialists.
Conservation and Restoration of the Outer Walls of Brick Temples and Studies of Mural Paintings in Bagan, Myanmar
From July 11th to August 5th, 2018, we conducted conservation and restoration work on the outer walls of Me-taw-ya Temple (No. 1205), a brick temple at the Bagan Archaeological Site in Myanmar, aiming primarily to protect the mural paintings from rain. Continuing the work implemented from this January through February, we reviewed the portions damaged by the earthquake in 2016, and considered the restoration methods for stucco decorations and joint fillers that would affect the beauty of its facade. As a result, we successfully indicated how collapsed bricks should be restored together with the materials to be used, which was highly esteemed by the Bagan Branch, the Department of Archaeology and National Museums, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture of Myanmar.
In addition, we continually conducted studies on art history, iconography, and the evolution of mural painting techniques in Myanmar. First, we collected further information on representative mural paintings from the 11th century through the 13th century in Bagan for a greater understanding. Second, we moved to Mandalay from where we visited temples scattered in Inwa, Sagaing, Amarapura, and Kyaukse in order to grasp the features of wall paintings from the 17th century through the 19th century.
During our stay in Myanmar, we visited the Embassy of Japan in Yangon to briefly outline this project. We will share information on our activities to conserve cultural properties in Bagan through regular progress reports.
In cooperation with the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites, Department of Culture, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs of Bhutan, we surveyed traditional houses built with the rammed earth construction technique in the capital, Thimphu, and the Paro Dzongkhag from July 16th to July 24th, 2018.
We focused on an old house located in Kabesa Village in the northern outskirts of Thimphu as the best example of a house built in an ancient style among the old farm houses we discovered through the surveys. Regrettably, the upper floors and other wooden elements of the house, which had been left uninhabited for many years, collapsed last year, but its external walls built with rammed earth remain. As a result of emphasizing the significance of preserving this house at a workshop held in the city in March 2018, the owner withdrew his intention to demolish the house, and a movement began toward its restoration. In response to this, we collected the wooden members of the house, and individually recorded and identified their original locations, before placing them into temporary storage. We confirmed that the members were far less damaged or missing than expected, which enables an accurate restoration. We expect that examination of concrete restoration and utilization measures will progress after this.
Since 2016, the research and study of old houses in Bhutan has been conducted under Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research. During our stay in Bhutan this time, we received the sad news that the representative of the research project, Dr. Nobuo KAMEI, Director General of Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, had passed away. The Bhutanese people involved in the cooperation project proposed that we should hold a memorial service for the DG at Changangkha Lhakhang, a venerable temple overlooking the city of Thimphu. The staff members involved in the joint activities gathered there to pray for the repose of his soul by lighting 108 votive candles.
These workshops are held annually for the purpose of preservation and utilization of Japanese art objects, such as paintings and calligraphic works overseas, and promotion of the understanding of these objects. This year, the basic course “Japanese Paper and Silk Cultural Properties” held from July 4th to 6th, 2018, and the advanced course “Restoration of Japanese Hanging Scrolls” held from July 9th to 13th were conducted at the Asian Art Museum, National Museums in Berlin (Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) with the support of the Asian Art Museum and Museum of Technology (Deutsches Technikmuseum).
In the basic course, 13 restorers, conservators and students from ten countries participated. This course consisted of lectures, demonstrations, and practical work that covered the process from the creation of a cultural property to its appearance before the public, that is, its creation, mounting, exhibition and viewing. Participants were lectured on the materials used for the cultural properties, such as adhesives, mineral pigments and paper, and participated in the practical work of painting on silk, Chinese ink painting and handling of hanging scrolls.
In the advanced course, instructors from a certified group that holds the Selected Conservation Techniques dubbed “Restoration techniques for mounts” conducted practical work sessions and lectures to ten restorers from six countries. The instructors demonstrated techniques such as lining and reattachment of roller knobs, and the participants experienced the removing and attaching of the rods of a hanging scroll during the practical work sessions. Through these sessions, the participants could gain an understanding of the structure of hanging scrolls and knowledge and techniques for the restoration of hanging scrolls. Discussions were actively held in both courses. In addition to a question and answer session, opinions about restoration and applications of Japanese techniques and materials were exchanged.
Similar projects will be implemented with the aim of contribution to the preservation and utilization of Japan’s tangible and intangible cultural properties overseas by sharing information about conservation materials and techniques in Japan with conservators overseas.
International Symposium Titled “Use of Standard Vocabularies in Art and History Areas – Getty Vocabulary Program Activities and Japan”
An international symposium titled “Use of Standard Vocabularies in Art and History Areas – Getty Vocabulary Program Activities and Japan” took place at the National Museum of Japanese History on June 16th, 2018. Researcher Hideki KIKKAWA attended the symposium from the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems so as to report on the progress of providing data on Japanese artist names to the Union List of Artist Names of the Getty Research Institute. You may not frequently hear the word “standard vocabularies,” which supports the informatization and distribution of personal and geographical names by standardizing their notation. For this symposium, planned by Dr. Makoto GOTO (Professor at the National Museum of Japanese History), Mr. Jonathan WARD (Senior Editor of the Getty Vocabulary Program) gave a lecture on the concept of Getty Vocabularies and their current utilization status, and Ms. Sophy Chen (Associate Researcher at the Institute of History and Philosophy, Academia Sinica) lectured about multilingualization of vocabularies. Following these lectures, researchers from Japanese related institutions also gave reports on personal name information, corporate area information, contemporary art information, and operation of Linked Open Data. During the panel discussion, contributions made by Japan to Getty Vocabularies were discussed. Additionally, on June 18th, 2018, Mr. Ward and persons in charge from the National Museum of Japanese History, the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, and the Tokyo National Museum were invited to this Institute to consult on how standard vocabularies associated with cultural properties should be in Japan. These opportunities allowed us to share the possibility of collaboration among the institutions creating standard vocabulary databases in Japan.
Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) drastically renewed the cultural property database in 2014 by using WordPress, a content management system. WordPress is an open source system used on a third of the websites in the world now. Its formal event, WordCamp, took place 128 times in 48 countries and regions in 2017 alone. In the Word Camp Osaka 2018 (https://2018.osaka.wordcamp.org/) held in Osaka on June 2nd, 2018, three researchers: Tomohiro OYAMADA, Yoko FUTAGAMI, and Taiki MISHIMA gave a joint presentation titled “Make a cultural property information database using WordPress” so as to report on how to customize and operate using WordPress for the cultural property database. After the presentation, active information exchange was carried out based on lots of questions asked by people engaged in system operation at local governments and research institutions.
Each of the operations required for TNRICP is unique. The information system which accumulates and transmits its achievements also requires uniqueness. We shall willingly release findings accumulated through the development and operation of the information system, in addition to our research outcomes.
Reading Books on the Art of Painting by the Early Modern Tosa School – Seminar by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems
For the monthly seminar by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems held on June 26th, 2018, Senior Researcher Mayumi ONO delivered a presentation titled “Study of “Honcho Gaho Taiden” written by TOSA Mitsuoki – Getting “Gaguseihou Heisenhou Gokuhiden” as a Clue” with Ms. Miho SHIMOHARA (Kagoshima University) as commentator.
TOSA Mitsuoki (1634-1654) is a painter regarded as “a contributor to the revival of the Tosa family” since he reacquired the position of court painter (edokoro azukari) that had for many years been held by the Tosa family. Mitsuoki painted lots of new and elegant works by introducing Song and Yuan painting styles and sketches into the traditional Yamato-e painting.
Honcho Gaho Taiden (possessed by Tokyo University of the Arts) is one of the books on brushwork written by Mitsuoki representing the early modern period. For this seminar, the coloring method mentioned in this book was compared to those referred to in the books on the art of painting at the Kano school: Honcho Gaden by KANO Einou and Gasen by HAYASI Moriatsu, and sketches by KANO Tsunenobu which are owned by the Tokyo National Museum. For example, as for the color called urumi, Mitsuoki wrote that “after applying cochineal red, indigo blue is attained.” However, the books on brushwork for the Kano school indicate another method under which whitewash is mixed. Accordingly, when referring to Tsunenobu’s sketches, urumi is mentioned as notes of Yamabato-zu (picture of turtledoves) and Kuzu-zu (picture of arrowroots). It turns out that actual colors unique to turtledove legs and arrowroot flowers are consistent with the coloring method Mitsuoki wrote about. These comparisons have clarified that the contents of Honcho Gaho Taiden are more practical and concrete than those of the other brushwork books.
At the seminar, various comments were offered from the viewpoints of the Tosa, Sumiyoshi, and Kano schools, as well as research on Japanese-style painting. By further studying Mitsuoki’s book along with these researchers, the study of brushwork in the Edo period is expected to advance.
Mr. Tamon MIKI, who passed away in April 2018 at the age of 89, wrote as an aggressive critic in modern and contemporary art with focus on sculpture. After working for the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, and the Cultural Properties Protection Department of the Agency for Cultural Affairs, he held directorial posts at the National Museum of Art, Osaka, the Tokushima Modern Art Museum, and the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum.
His bereaved family has indicated their intention to donate his manuscripts related to fine arts to the Institute through an intermediary, Ms. Eri NAKAYAMA working as a curator for the Koriyama City Museum of Art. The manuscripts include valuable materials regarding the postwar art trends, in addition to his achievements such as fine art articles written for newspapers and magazines, notebooks with records of his overseas visits in detail, and scrapbooks to organize handouts for exhibitions held at galleries. After they are filed at this institute, they will be accessible for browsing and utilization as research materials.
On June 17th, 2018, a traditional rite for Ainu people called icarpa was established out on the Ichani Karikariusu-iseki Ruins (nationally designated site) inside the Po-gawa River Historical Nature Park in Shibetsu Town, Hokkaido. Researchers of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage also visited the site.
Shibetsu Icarpa is a memorial service for 23 Ainu people who were executed due to the Menashi-Kunashir rebellion in 1789, one of the resistance activities against the Wajin (the ethnic Japanese). The icarpa, organized by the Shibetsu municipal Ainu Association, was started in 2009, and it commemorated its tenth anniversary this year. For the first half of the rite, kamuinomi was established to offer sacred sake to the gods. For the last half of the rite, icarpa was conducted as a memorial service for the deceased. At the end of the rite, a song and a dance called upopo and rimse were performed.
Shibetsu Icarpa was carried out at the Ichani Karikariusu-iseki Ruins, where a settlement had been formed most probably in the period when the Tobinitai culture had flourished from an archaeological perspective (circa 9th – 13th century). Together with Shibetsu Wetlands spreading in front of the site, it is now preserved in the Po-gawa River Historical Nature Park. Strictly speaking, the zenith of prosperity in the site is not consistent with the time when the rebellion occurred. Given that the site was run by their ancestors, it seems to have been chosen as a ritual place for reviving the traditional rite for Ainu people.
In recent years, following the requirement of utilization of cultural properties, the case of Shibetsu Icarpa may become one of the good models in the utilization of relics. This is because utilization is realized by making good use of an intangible element of the site or “cultural space” as the land of the ancestors. That is, the historical value of the site can be considered utilized as a cultural resource in today’s cultural renaissance for the Ainu.
On the other hand, the value of the Ichani Karikariusu-iseki Ruins does not belong to Ainu people only. In time, with Shibetsu Icarpa, “Po-gawa River Festival” is held for local citizens by organizing a variety of events such as canoeing, historic spot guide touring by curators, and Jomon kids’ village. As part of the educational program, local school children continually participate in the icarpa in an attempt to understand the local culture. Although most of the residents in Shibetsu Town do not trace their roots to the Ainu, the site is utilized as a local cultural resource for these people too. At the same time, the site also serves as a place of interaction between people who have Ainu ancestry and non-Ainu ancestry.
Recently, one city and four towns in Eastern Hokkaido including Shibetsu Town (Nemuro City, Betsukai Town, Shibetsu Town, Nakashibetsu Town and Rausu Town) have started an activity to jointly nominate the heritage of this area as Japan Heritage. The Ichani Karikariusu-iseki Ruins is positioned as its key component. In Hokkaido, a region where people with diverse roots live in harmony, how to honor its local heritage is a difficult issue. We will continually pay attention to the movements in Eastern Hokkaido including Shibetsu Town.
The Institute of Asian Cultural Studies and the Peace Research Institute of International Christian University, and Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties held a symposium titled “Towards a History of “HERE”: Learning from the Phantom Jet Engine” at the University on June 2nd, 2018. This symposium focused on looking back at the history of International Christian University (hereafter called “ICU”) founded on the premises of the research institute of the Nakajima Aircraft Company, which developed three jet engine components discovered on the campus in 2015, while widely sharing their values as cultural properties.
For the first half of the symposium, Mr. Masahisa TAKAYANAGI, a teacher at ICU High School, talked about how the components were discovered, and their significance. Then, Mr. Hiroyuki NAGASHIMA, former visiting researcher at this Institute, introduced the outcomes of the survey on cultural properties conducted jointly by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and the Japan Aeronautic Association in 2017; and Mr. Shigeyoshi KANDA, a visiting researcher at this Institute, presented reference information contributing to their publication and utilization in the future. For the last half of the symposium, following the screening of a video work produced by students, Mr. Hikaru OKUIZUMI, a writer, Dr. Yoko KATO, a professor at the University of Tokyo, and Dr. Masakatsu OKADO, a professor at Yokohama National University, gave their perspectives from their own points of view in a bid to evoke speculation about the jet engines, and the histories of the Tama area and World War II. At the end of the symposium, a comprehensive discussion was created based on questions from the audience.
ICU is expected to continually consider conservation and utilization approaches that are unique to education and research institutions by clarifying the histories of the university and the surrounding area and using cultural properties to convey their values to many people while reviewing the issues presented by them.
Training for “Examination and Implementation of Emergency Procedures for Wall Painting Conservation” in the “Human Resource Development Project toward the Improvement of the Conservation and Management System for Mural Paintings in the Republic of Turkey”
As part of the above-mentioned program commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, the training for “Examination and Implementation of Emergency Procedures for Wall Painting Conservation” was conducted at the St. Theodore (Tagar) Church in Cappadocia from June 25th to 28th, 2018. Similar to the previous year, this second training program attracted 30 conservators and restorers from 10 national conservation and restoration centers in the Republic of Turkey.
This training aims to review the existing emergency procedures working as the linchpin to conserve mural paintings in Turkey, as well as to establish the protocol. For this training, the conservation status of the frescoes painted inside the rock-hewn church was carefully observed for recording, and the plaster with flaking risks was temporarily held on. On the last day of the training, the techniques and materials used as emergency measures were discussed with the trainees.
As for the first seminar held in October 2017, introductory lectures on basic concepts in conservation and restoration of wall paintings were delivered. This practical training allowed the trainees to experience concrete intervention methods while contemplating which specific emergency measures would work under the framework of the previous seminar. The trainees commented that the objective of the training became clearer due to this on-site training.
The next training will be conducted in October 2018. Aiming for the skill enhancement through the continued on-the-job training, the trainers and trainees will invest much effort into the establishment of the protocol for emergency procedures in Turkey.
From May 28th to June 13th, 2018, the International Course on Paper Conservation in Latin America: Meeting with the East, was held as part of the LATAM program (conservation of cultural heritage in Latin America and the Caribbean). This course has been jointly organized by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP), the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), and the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH). It has been held since 2012 at the Coordinacion Nacional de Conservacion del Patrimonio Cultural (CNCPC), which belongs to INAH, in Mexico City. This year, 11 conservation specialists from 8 countries (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and Spain) participated.
TNRICP hosted the first part of the course (May 29th to June 5th). TNRICP researchers and the instructor, who is from a certified group that holds the Selected Conservation Techniques dubbed “Restoration Techniques of Mounting,” offered practical works and lectures on the materials, tools, and techniques used for conservation. The objective of these sessions was to apply Japanese restoration techniques to cultural properties overseas. The practical session was carried out with CNCPC staff members, who learned “Restoration Techniques of Mounting” for several months at TNRICP.
In the latter half of the course (June 6th to June 13th), specialists in the restoration of cultural properties from Mexico, Spain, and Argentina gave lectures. The main theme was the application of traditional handmade Japanese paper to Western conservation and restoration techniques. They spoke about how to select materials and apply their techniques to Western paper cultural properties. The lecturers had previously participated in international courses organized by TNRICP, and we were able to reaffirm that informational and practical exchanges through these courses contribute to the protection of cultural properties overseas.