Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties Center for Conservation Science
Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation
Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage


History and Significance of Raden (Mother-of-Pearl Decoration) Craftwork in Thailand― Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

Workshop hosted by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

 In Thailand in the 18th century and after, exquisite raden craftwork in which an enormous number of tiny seashell parts are finely combined, has developed. If you have already visited the Grand Palace and Wat Pho famous for Reclining Buddha in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, you may know it. The raden craftwork has been still continued, although not very extensively. However, there have hardly been any studies on the history of Thailand’s raden; its transition and social significance has not been researched not only in Japan but also even in Thailand. At the 9th seminar held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems, Prof. Tomohito TAKATA of Siam University who is specialized in Buddhism art history in Thailand gave a presentation on the history of Thailand’s raden in the early-modern and modern times.
 Mr. Takata, first of all, explained that raden works in Thailand are seen on the doors and windows in Buddhism temples, on the pedestal bowl offerings for monks, and on the sutra boxes and Cabinets, they had been donated closely related to Buddhism, and they had been made rather exclusively with strong relationship with the royal family of Thailand. Further, he chose, as the analysis subjects, the temple doors whose dates of making or construction are accurately known and divided the history of raden from the 18th to the early 20th century into three periods according to the differences in the main motifs, patterns and techniques utilized. The three periods are the 1st period (from the middle of the 18th century to the beginning of the 19th century), the 2nd period (from the first half to the middle of the 19th century), and the 3rd period (from the latter half of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century). Based on this, he further pointed out that, in the 1st period when the patterns and motifs only included tendril patterns and portrait of the deities in which external influences were hardly observed, the Buddhism values such as the three realms of existence were expressed in raden works like in other wooden sculptures and paintings. In contrast, the 2nd period characterized by appearance of the story of Ramayana as well as Chinese decorative patterns reflects diplomatic relations with China and East Asia during this era. Further, in the 3rd period when the patterns that expressed forms of medallions in raden were made, new relationship between Thailand and the West as well as an increase in power of the royal family gave influence over raden crafting.
 The workshop also included participation of Ms. Ayumi HARADA, expert in Thai art history, from Kyushu National Museum and Prof. Norihiko OGURA from Department of Crafts (Urushi-Art) of Faculty of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts. Ms. Harada gave us comments on the origin of Thai raden, external relations, etc. from the expert’s point of view. Further, Prof. Ogura delivered opinions from a viewpoint of an artist. The workshop also contained active discussion about relationship with Japanese raden works of the 19th century that have been discovered successively in Bangkok in recent years. The workshop could also serve as a good opportunity to recognize significance of Thai raden that had not often been subject to academic discussions.

“Summit Conference on Winnowing Baskets ― Discussion of Weaving Techniques”

Demonstrations of winnowing basket-making technique
From the top: Oidara winnowing basket, Kizumi winnowing basket, and Ronden/Kumanashi winnowing basket

 On November 13th, “Summit Conference on Winnowing Baskets ― Discussion of Weaving Techniques” was held at Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) and over 80 people concerned participated from all over the country.
 The winnowing basket is a farm tool to sort and carry grain. Although it was an essential tool in everyday work up until the high economic growth period, the demands then sharply dropped because of modernization of people’s way of life. As a result, the weaving technique is also facing the crisis of inheritance. Therefore, with the aim of holding a discussion on how to pass on such basket weaving techniques to future generations, among the winnowing basket weaving techniques that are the nationally designated as important intangible folk cultural properties (folk technique), we invited successors of the Oidara winnowing baskets from Akita City of Akita Prefecture, the Kizumi winnowing baskets from Sosa City of Chiba Prefecture, and the Ronden/Kumanashi winnowing baskets from Himi City of Toyama Prefecture to hold demonstrations and panel discussion.
 The objective of this summit was to share current situations and to promote mutual exchange among various people who are concerned with winnowing baskets, including creators, sellers, users, fans, and researchers. With regard to inheritance of folk technique, although an investigative approach including research and recording is important, what these studies can contribute to actual succession of technique is very little. In order to inherit technique from one person to another, maintaining demands in the era is indispensable and, for that sake, it is important to change technique in line with the times in a flexible manner. In search of the solution, it is necessary to address the challenge by gathering, as extensively as possible, the wisdom of people who are concerned with winnowing baskets.
 At the panel discussion, the current severe conditions in technique succession were introduced and many participants presented opinions on what efforts the sellers are making, what problems they are facing, what features of the winnowing baskets attract users most, etc. We would like to develop a network of the participants that was created through this summit, while continuing to discuss and work on inheritance of techniques of winnowing basket making.
(Details of the summit are scheduled to be published in the form of a report and will be also disclosed on the website at the end of the fiscal year.)

Survey of jet-engine parts in the possession of International Christian University

Two exhaust nozzles of a jet engine carried into the laboratory. The right part has a cover
Process of separating the cover

 The Center for Conservation Science, under the request of International Christian University, together with Japan Aeronautic Association, conducted survey of two materials which were excavated on the university campus in 1950 and were most likely to be parts of a jet engine. A survey conducted at the university on May 20th, 2017 revealed that they were likely to be exhaust nozzles of a jet engine manufactured in Japan during World War II. In response to this result, a more detailed investigation was conducted at the Center’s laboratory from July 6th to October 26th.
 In addition to survey of the literature and visual inspection, measurement of major dimensions and weight and survey of the structure material were carried out, together with photographic recording. Furthermore, X-ray CT photography was conducted with the cooperation of the Tokyo National Museum for the purpose of investigating the composition of the material and the internal structure. One of the two surveyed materials consisted of two parts. After being carried into the Center, it was carefully separated, foreign matters such as dust and dead leaves adhering to the surface were removed, and anticorrosive treatment was provided.
 Through the investigation, it has been confirmed that there are engravings similar to those engraved on other Japanese aircrafts manufactured during the wartime, all parts are made of stainless steel and therefore heat resistant, and the shape and structure are similar to the exhaust nozzles of jet engines “ネ130” and “ネ330,” which were also developed in Japan during the wartime. As a result, it is concluded that the materials are highly likely to be exhaust nozzles of a jet engine made in Japan and that the corresponding engine is “ネ230,” developed together with Hitachi by Nakajima Aircraft Company, which existed during World War II on the grounds of International Christian University. The exhaust nozzles are considered to have been never used because of the absence of any traces that they were attached to the body of a jet engine using bolts.
 Out of the jet engines developed in Japan during the wartime, only two examples of parts have been confirmed to exist. Therefore, the materials surveyed this time are quite valuable, showing both the advancement of Japanese technology in the 1940s and the process of the aircraft development in Japan.
 On October 26th, the representatives of the survey team visited International Christian University and submitted an interim report to President Junko Hibiya. In the future, the final report will be compiled including results of the survey on the value as cultural property.

The 30th General Assembly of ICCROM

Appearance of the site
Deliberation under way

 The staff members of the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) participated in the 30th General Assembly of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Properties (ICCROM) held in Rome, Italy, from November 29th to December 1st, 2017. ICCROM was founded based upon the decision at the 9th Session of the UNESCO General Conference in 1956. It is an intergovernmental organization with its headquarters located in Rome since 1959, especially characterized by covering a wide range of cultural properties, regardless of whether they are movable or immovable. It is well known as one of the three Advisory Bodies for the World Heritage Committee and is in a cooperative relationship with TNRICP over many years especially through training activities for preservation and restoration of cultural properties made of paper and urushi lacquer.
 The General Assembly of ICCROM is held biannually. During the latest General Assembly, Dr. Webber Ndoro nominated by the Council to be a candidate for Director-General was elected to serve as the new Director-General starting January 1st, 2019. As Dr. Ndoro is the first Director-General from Africa, it is expected that ICCROM’s projects in Africa will be further activated during his term of office for a period of 6 years.
 Further, as has happened in the past, an election was also held due to the expiration of the term of office for about one-half of the Council members. As a result of the election, the Council members from Belgium, Egypt, Sudan, Switzerland, and Germany were reappointed, while new Council members were elected from China, Dominica, Lebanon, Poland, Swaziland, the U.S., Portugal, and Russia.
 In the thematic discussion, various cases were introduced under the theme of “Post-conflict Reconstruction – Recovery and Community Involvement.” From Japan, Prof. Toshiyuki KONO of Kyushu University made a presentation on reconstruction efforts of buildings in Japan after World War II.
 TNRICP intends to continue working on collecting information on the international trends regarding preservation of cultural properties and widely transmitting the activities carried out in Japan.

Special Lectures at Kanazawa University

Special lecture by Associate Fellow

 On November 24th, three Associate Fellows from the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) held special lectures for the Forum for Cultural Resource Studies at the Center for Cultural Resource Studies of Kanazawa University. TNRICP and Kanazawa University entered a cooperative research agreement in 2014 and the TNRICP’s staff members have been cooperating in training, field survey, etc. for the “Graduate Program in Cultural Resource Management”, the University’s Leading Graduate School program that develops specialists in preservation of cultural properties.
 The special lectures on the day concerned the areas of expertise of the Associate Fellows and the TNRICP’s activities, which included the following three: “An Introduction to Heritage Science” (Mariya MASUBUCHI), “Struggle to Conserve Nepalese Cultural Heritage Damaged by the Gorkha Earthquake” (Hiroki YAMADA), and “Origin and Characteristics of the Japanese Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties” (Asuka SAKAINO). Students showed keen interest in the lectures, which were followed by an active Q&A session.
 It is our pleasure that, through these lectures, we could contribute to the educational program for students aiming to become specialists in preservation of cultural properties and, at the same time, it was a valuable experience for the TNRICP’s staff members who had not often had opportunities to speak to students. We will continue maintaining and further developing exchanges with Kanazawa University and other academic organs by utilizing the expertise of our staff members.

Participation in the 21st session of the General Assembly of States Parties to the World Heritage Convention and the 12th extraordinary session of the World Heritage Committee

Deliberation under way

 On November 14th and 15th, 2017, the 21st session of the General Assembly of States Parties to the World Heritage Convention and the 12th extraordinary session of the World Heritage Committee were held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) dispatched two staff members.
 The General Assembly of States Parties to the World Heritage Convention is held biannually during the period of the ordinary session of the General Conference of UNESCO, where the Committee members of the World Heritage Committee are elected. Although the World Heritage Convention sets the term of office for the Committee members to six years, with the aim of expanding the opportunity for many countries to become a Committee member, the Operational Guidelines invite the Committee members to consider voluntarily reducing their term of office to four years and discourage from seeking consecutive terms of office. At this General Assembly, 12 countries retired from the Committee members after serving for four years and, as a result of the secret ballot among the States Parties participating in the session, the countries of Australia, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, China, Guatemala, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Norway, Saint Christopher-Nevis, Spain, and Uganda were newly elected.
 It is the normal practice of the World Heritage Committee sessions to update the World Heritage List and to decide on the site and date for the next World Heritage Committee session. However, at the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee that was held in Krakow of Poland this year, there was no Committee member that officially expressed its interest in hosting the World Heritage Committee session for the next year. Therefore, it was decided that, concurrently with the re-election of Committee member countries at the 21st session of the General Assembly of States Parties to the World Heritage Convention, the 12th extraordinary session of the World Heritage Committee was to be held to invite a country that wishes to be a hosting country and to decide the site and chairman of the Committee session. As a result of adjustment at the extraordinary session, it was decided that the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee would be held in Manama of Bahrain from June 24th to July 4th, 2018.
 TNRICP will continue to collect the latest information on recent trends concerning the World Heritage Convention and to disseminate it widely among parties concerned in Japan.

Evaluation Seminar 2017: Workshops on conservation of Japanese lacquerware (urushi objects)

Group photo with the contributors after the seminar

 Workshops on Conservation of Japanese Lacquerware (urushi objects) have been held since 2006, with the cooperation of Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst, Museen Köln (Museum of East Asian Art, Cologne), Germany. The workshops introduce the knowledge and techniques required for the preservation and utilization of lacquerware overseas. In these past 10 years, 179 professionals and students in total had participated from 17 countries. In order to measure the outcomes of the past workshops, this year, an evaluation seminar was held at Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) on November 8th and 9th, 2017.
 Prior to holding the seminar, a questionnaire survey targeting all former participants was conducted. Contributors to the seminar were gathered from the respondents of the questionnaire, and 4 specialists and professors in conservation and restoration were invited from 4 countries (Belgium, Germany, Greece and the USA). On the first day of the seminar, the contributors presented their conservation projects and/or educational activities in conservation, which were undertaken after they participated in the workshops. The presentations provided the opportunity to share their situations and challenges on how the acquired knowledge and skills were applied to their work. The second day started with reporting the results of the questionnaire survey from TNRICP, followed by an in-depth discussion with the contributors. Issues on conservation of lacquerwares overseas and how we can support to address such issues by providing the workshops were considered.

A Mission for the Project “Technical Assistance for the Protection of the Damaged Cultural Heritage in Nepal” (Part 8)

Instructing how to use a 3D scanner to the local staff
Target installed on the external wall of the building for displacement measurement

 Staff members have ongoingly been dispatched to Nepal under the project regarding the above subject that has been entrusted by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. Field surveys were conducted by six experts from October 29th to November 10th and by two experts from November 20th to 26th.
 First, with regard to a group of buildings surrounding Aganchen Temple in Hanumandhoka Palace in Kathmandu, following the survey in June, recording current conditions and detailed measurement for preparation of a restoration scheme were performed. Concurrently with this, the structural engineer team mainly consisting of members of the Institute of Industrial Science, the University of Tokyo, carried out measurements by 3D scanners. As there are some areas inside the Palace where entry of foreigners are restricted due to religious reasons, we instructed local staff members from Department of Archaeology, Government of Nepal, regarding how to use the surveying instruments and conducted the measurement works in cooperation with them. Although entry prohibition imposed a restriction on implementation of the survey, it seems to have served at the same time as a good opportunity for promoting transfer of skills.
 Next, for the interior walls that had already been surveyed, the finishing layers were peeled off and specifications as well as conditions of the underlying brick wall were examined. This process is not only necessary in order to accurately identify the damage conditions of the brick walls but also very important in order to clarify the transition of the building. Especially, for the places that may have to be torn down for reasons such as very severe damage, observation with utmost care and deliberation was needed as this survey might become the last opportunity to survey and record historical evidences.
 Further, with the aim of continuously monitoring any possible adverse effects on the buildings adjacent to the work area throughout the restoration work, we installed the targets for displacement measurement and glass plates for the fixed-point observation of wall inclination at various spots, and measured the initial values.
On the other hand, we have also worked on documentation of the excavated artifacts from the excavation research that was conducted near the Shiva Temple inside the Palace in June. Further, instructions and advices were given to the staff of Department of Archaeology on the methods of documentation.
 Two years and a half have passed since the earthquake that caused extensive damages to cultural properties as well and restoration projects led by teams of various countries have finally become active. We also would like to continue supporting the above-mentioned restoration project in which restoration specialists from Japan participate while working on transfer of skills to the local engineers.

Facility Tour in October

Briefing at the Chemical Laboratory II

 A Researcher from the National Museum of Iran and Another Researcher from the Research Center for Conservation of Cultural Relics (RCCCR)
 On October 30, two Iranian researchers toured the Institute to see how environmental management is conducted at Japanese museums for the protection of the items housed there. They visited Chemical Laboratory II and other sections, where they received a briefing from the persons in charge.

The Survey of Disaster Prevention for Intangible Cultural Heritage in Fiji

Village N in the eastern part of Viti Levu Island, where the on-site survey was conduced
Hearing survey with local residents

 The International Research Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (IRCI), one of the Category 2 centres under the auspices of UNESCO, located in Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture has been conducting a research survey on disaster prevention for intangible cultural heritage in the Asia-Pacific region since 2016. The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage of this Institute has continually cooperated in its program. Mr. Tomo ISHIMURA, Head of the Audio-Visual Documentation Section of the Department, joined the on-site survey conducted by IRCI in Fiji as its collaborative researcher.
 Fiji is an island nation in the Pacific region. Many of its areas suffered tremendous damage due to a direct hit of Tropical Cyclone “Winston” in March 2016. This on-site survey was implemented in two villages with particularly serious damage in the eastern part of Viti Levu Island, where the capital is located. Interviews with local residents about intangible cultural heritage and disasters were made there. The hearing survey was conducted by four members from September 23 through October 3, 2017: Ms. Yoko NOJIMA, Associate Fellow from IRCI, Ms. Elizabeth EDWARDS from the Fiji Museum, Ms. Ilaitia Senikuraciri Loloma from the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, and Mr. Ishimura from the Institute.
 Although most buildings had been destroyed by the cyclone in both villages, houses were being reconstructed with the aid of the Fijian government and overseas NPOs. However, most of the new houses were built with lots of modern construction materials such as galvanized plates and concrete blocks. Regrettably, traditional-style wooden thatched houses called bures disappeared completely.
 Interviews with local residents disclosed the fact that much of their traditional knowledge was related to disaster prevention, including one heralding a cyclone. For example, they said that they had regarded trees bearing too much fruit as a warning sign of a cyclone. It was particularly true when a branch of the bread tree bore multiple fruits. In recent years, however, people have made light of such knowledge without utilizing it fully.
 The hearing survey also revealed the fact that the number of traditional bures had gradually decreased since the 1960s. Most of them disappeared due to the damage of Tropical Cyclone “Bebe” in 1972, and they were completely eradicated after the hit of Tropical Cyclone “Kina” in 1993. On the other hand, some people said that bures were optimum to ward off the heat and the cold and that it was comfortable to live there. They also said that there were few people who were capable of building bures these days.
 This on-site survey tells us that disasters change our traditional lifestyles and that intangible techniques are also apt to be lost accordingly. We understand that these tendencies are also greatly affected by globalization and modernization, not just resulting from disasters only.
 Based on these findings obtained through the on-site survey, we would like to seek the best way to maintain a good balance between “Reconstruction” and “Protection of Culture”.

Cooperation with the Asia-Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO (ACCU) in Its Seminar

On-site seminar in the Performing Arts Studio

 The Cultural Heritage Protection Cooperation Office of the Asia-Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO (ACCU) (Nara City) conducted the “Training Course on Cultural Heritage Protection in the Asia-Pacific Region 2017: Recording, Conservation and Utilization of Cultural Properties at Museums” from October 10 through November 3, 2017. The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage of this Institute cooperated on this program by delivering a lecture titled “On-Site Seminar: How to Record Intangible Cultural Heritage” at the Institute on the afternoon of October 30, 2017. The lecturer was Mr. Tomo ISHIMURA, Head of the Audio-Visual Documentation Section of the Department.
 This seminar attracted six trainees from the Pacific region, who were experts engaged in practical affairs at museums (three from Fiji, two from Papua New Guinea, and one from the Solomon Islands). In the first half of the seminar, the Japanese system to protect intangible cultural properties was explained while in the last half, how to record intangible cultural heritage was presented concretely. Particularly, focus was placed on image recording by using videos recorded actually by the Department (Kodan storytelling, a technique to make winnowing baskets from Japanese wisteria in the Kizumi area, and others recorded as videos) as visual aids.
 Although there is a wide variety of intangible cultural heritage in the Pacific region, from which the trainees came, it seems that records have not been sufficiently prepared yet. They recognized the significance of video recording well since most of the intangible techniques require manual movements in particular, which cannot be fully covered with written records in many cases. We felt that they had much interest in recording while answering their specific questions, including one referring to “how oral traditions have been recorded in Japan.”
 We realized that it would be meaningful to utilize the research outcomes accumulated by the Department for the protection of cultural heritage not only at home but also abroad.

Publication of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Archives

Map screen of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Archives
Individual screen of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Archives

 As part of the “Cultural Heritage Disaster Risk Mitigation Network Promotion Project” (commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs), the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems have been working on the “Project to Collect, Organize and Share Cultural Properties Designated by the Local Governments.” The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage is now compiling a database of intangible cultural heritage information collected throughout Japan while establishing archives of its related data as one of its missions.
 We have already published our “Intangible Cultural Heritage Archives” subject to Wakayama Prefecture as its pilot version (http://mukeinet.tobunken.go.jp/group.php?gid=10027). You can learn the name of each intangible cultural property, its place of publication and overview, as well as view its photos and videos, by searching it with a map, classification, date of performance and keyword. We have disclosed the information and images on intangible cultural properties located in Wakayama Prefecture, which were collected thanks to the Wakayama Prefectural Board of Education.
 We will expand the same data collection and publication to all prefectures while accumulating and disclosing related records as much as possible.

Seminar on Environmental Management at Museums for Iranian Researchers

On-going lecture at the Institute

 In March 2017, the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) exchanged a letter of intent with the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicraft and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) and the Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and Tourism (RICHT) so as to commit its cooperation in various academic fields for the protection of Iranian cultural heritage for the next five years.
During the survey conducted in Iran in October 2016, Iranian experts consulted us about serious air pollution in the capital Tehran, which resulted in damage to cultural properties. They said that even metal products displayed and housed in the National Museum of Iran were eroding.
 Thus, we invited two researchers, one from the National Museum of Iran and the other from the, RICHT for a seminar and a study tour of the Institute, expecting the improvement in exhibiting and housing environments at Iranian museums.
 We provided lectures on the museum environment and air pollution at the Institute, in addition to a study tour at the Tokyo National Museum (TNM) so as to inspect its display and storage environments and to the Great Buddha of Kamakura.
We will continually provide cooperation next year for Iranian museums, aiming at enhancement in their exhibiting and housing environments.

Seminar on “Challenges and Issues to 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”

Group photo with trainees
Survey at Tagar Church (St. Theodore Church)

 As part of the above-mentioned program commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we provided a seminar titled “Challenges and Issues to Wall Painting Conservation” from October 30 through November 2, 2017. The seminar held at Nevşehir Hacı Bektaş Veli University attracted 30 conservators and restorers from 10 national conservation and restoration centers in Turkey.
 This seminar aims to review the existing emergency procedures, which are important in conserving mural paintings in Turkey, as well as to establish the protocol. For this first seminar, we delivered introductory lectures on “Mural Painting Techniques and Main Causes of Deterioration,” “Principles in Conservation and Restoration” and so on. An opportunity provided to exchange opinions on lectures between lecturers and trainees resulted in motivating the members to work on challenges together in a united effort.
 On the last day of the seminar, we visited Tagar Church (St. Theodore Church), where on-site training is planned from the next year, to check the conservation state of the mural painting in the church based on the knowledge learned from the lectures delivered to date. We discussed how emergency procedures should be as important steps in conserving and managing mural paintings unlike general conservation and restoration projects, eliciting a variety of views from them.
 At present, a system to conserve and manage mural paintings well has not been established fully in Turkey. It is important for us to proceed with this program in step with the Turkish government.
 Before starting this seminar program, we visited the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and the Department of Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Properties, Faculty of Fine Arts, Gazi University to exchange opinions for enhancement of the seminar program. Four training courses will be provided by 2019. We hope to build up a practical and feasible system for experts engaged in conservation activities for cultural properties by all the members attending these seminar courses.

Facility Tour in September(1)

Briefing at the Biological Science Section

 Four members from the Council for the Protection of Cultural Properties in Sakegawa Village, Yamagata Prefecture
 Due to rapidly aging cultural property administrators, it is becoming increasingly difficult to conserve and manage cultural assets year after year in Sakegawa Village. They came to the Institute on September 13th to find solutions to be reflected in their cultural property protection program. The members visited the Biological Science Section and others to receive briefings from the staff in charge.

Facility Tour in September(2)

Brief overview at the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation

 Six Members including Vice-Chancellor from the Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute in India
 They visited the Institute to attend the “Seminar on Indian Cultural Heritage” on September 26th.
 After a brief overview provided by the staff from the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation, the members toured the Performing Arts Studio and other sections.

Facility Tour in September(3)

Briefing at the Performing Arts Studio

 Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Tajikistan in Japan, Dr. Hamrokhon ZARIFI, Second Secretary, Mr. Azizu Nazarof, and Interpreter, Mr. Kireer
 They paid a courtesy call on the Institute. The members also toured the Biological Science Section, the Library, and the Performing Arts Studio to receive briefings from the staff in charge.

Seminar on Art Archives in France Today – Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

Inside the Library of L'Institut national d'histoire de l'art

 The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties has been making efforts to collect, organize and publish art materials accumulated since its foundation in 1930 as The Institute of Art Research, following the art archive models in Europe. After more than 80 years, the way in which European art is archived has progressed. The presentation titled “Introduction of Modern Art Materials, Museums, Libraries, Archives and Internet Resources in France and Their Utilization Cases” provided on September 5th by Mr. Tatsuya SAITO (visiting researcher) of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems was a good opportunity for us to understand the current situation in France.
 Mr. Saito, who now researches French modern art for his doctorate at Paris-Sorbonne University in Paris, daily accesses archives in France. From the viewpoint of their user, he mainly introduced the cases in public institutions, such as the Bibliothèque nationale de France, L’Institut national d’histoire de l’art, the Musee de l’Histoire de France Archives Nationales, and the Musée d’Orsay. Compared with Japan, the digital archives operated by each institution are excellent in quality and quantity in general. Particularly manuscript materials, including letters written by artists, are digitalized well. The staff of this Institute, where lots of similar materials are housed, were extremely inspired. On the other hand, as not all materials are digitalized, it is also necessary to refer to original materials. We nodded in agreement at his comment as researchers.
 At the seminar, Mr. Masaya KOIZUMI from Hitotsubashi University gave comments as a commentator while Ms. Masako KAWAGUCHI and Ms. Megumi JINGAOKA from the National Museum of Western Art and Mr. Rei KOZAKAI from the Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art joined the seminar. Although the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems daily focuses on Japanese art, the staff proactively exchanged opinions with researchers in Western art about what art archives should be like.

Research of the Western-style Cruciform Sword Possessed by Fujisaka Shrine in Minakuchi, Koka City, Shiga Prefecture by an Expert from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and an Initial Report at the 7th Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

Research by Dr. Pierre Terjanian
Presentation at the Seminar of the Department

 The cruciform sword possessed by Fujisaka Shrine in Minakuchi, Koka City, Shiga Prefecture is a slender Western-style sword, which is said to have been owned by feudal lord Yoshiaki KATO (1563-1631) who served Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI and Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, the founder of the Kato family ruling the Minakuchi Domain in the Tokugawa Shogunate. This sword of excellent workmanship is formed completely differently from those used in Japan or in Asia. A survey conducted by domestic specialists in 2016 revealed that this was a rapier produced in Europe between the 16th and early 17th century and that this is the only Western-style sword handed down to the present time in Japan (reported in TOBUNKEN NEWS No. 65). However, the research conducted at that time did not address some essential problems, such as whether this sword was made in Japan or brought to Japan from Europe, and around which year it was manufactured.
 To resolve these problems, we invited Dr. Pierre Terjanian, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Curator in Charge, Department of Arms and Armor, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which boasts the world’s leading rapier collection. After conducting research in Minakuchi, Dr. Terjanian presented his considerations on this Western sword under the title “European Renaissance Rapiers and the Minakuchi Rapier” at the 7th seminar held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems.
 According to his consideration, the copper hilt was obviously made in Japan, and the sword blade was probably made in Japan or in Asia, not in Europe. The original European rapier, on which the Minakuchi rapier was modeled, would have been manufactured between 1600 and 1630, but closer to 1630. Moreover, this sword displays less practicability.
 His view unveils a new fact utterly unknown so far that Japanese people scrutinized a Western sword from Europe and even manufactured a reproduction of it in the early 17th century in Japan. On the other hand, another fact was also found: that a unique technique was used to connect the hilt to the blade with an advanced screw structure, which has not been confirmed in European rapiers. You can understand that such a unique feature resulted from much effort and ingenious attempts by Japanese artisans of the day who worked hard to accurately reproduce an unfamiliar Western sword with the knowledge and techniques they had.
 Thus, the research of a Western-style sword handed down in Minakuchi reveals various facts about the metalwork techniques of the early 17th century and about the acceptance of foreign culture. We will proceed with further research and study, including the issue of where and how this sword was manufactured and by whom. We are planning to disclose the actual situation of this sword and its historical backdrops.

The 28th EAJRS Conference “Digital Strategies for Japanese Studies: Theories and Practices”

The 28th EAJRS Conference: Session at Professorboligen, the University of Oslo
The 28th EAJRS Conference: Resource Provider Workshop

 The 28th European Association of Japanese Resource Specialists (EAJRS) Conference was held at the University of Oslo, Norway from September 13th through 16th. From the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems of this Institute, Mr. Kikkawa attended the conference. EAJRS is an organization composed of librarians, professors, and museum and gallery curators who handle Japanese study materials in Europe. The 2017 conference was titled “Digital Strategies for Japanese Studies: Theories and Practices,” attracting more than 90 participants. At this conference consisting of 14 sessions, 30 presentations were made, regarding studies on the collections of Japanese materials overseas by the Chester Beatty Library, the C.V. Starr East Asian Library at Columbia University, and so forth; digital archive programs by the National Institute of Japanese Literature, the National Museum of Japanese History, the International Research Center for Japanese Studies, the Japan Center for Asian Historical Records, and the Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation; the expertise on references using internet tools by the National Diet Library; and initiatives by the EAJRS Conservation/Preservation Working Group.
 At the conference, we conducted a resource provider workshop and set up a booth to introduce our research programs and archives. We exhibited our publications and digital archives with explanations. Through talks during the period, overseas experts gave us concrete advice on how information should be disseminated through the institutional repository, as well as evaluation of our publications. This was really a good opportunity for us. You can access the EAJRS site (http://eajrs.net/) to watch this conference. The 2018 conference is scheduled to be held at Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania.

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