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


The 10th Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems “Study of the Western Cruciform Sword Possessed by Fujisakae Shrine in Koka City”

A Scene from the 10th Seminar

 Fujisakae Shrine is located in Minakuchi, Koka City, Shiga Prefecture, the predecessor of which was Yoshiaki Reisha Shrine founded in the early 19th century in order to enshrine feudal lord Yoshiaki KATO, Founder of the family, governing Minakuchi area in the Edo period. The shrine has a variety of treasures, which are said to have been possessed by Yoshiaki. The Western style sword with a black lacquer sheath, which is said to have been granted by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, is one of them. Mostly intact in form, this sword is in no way inferior to the rapiers produced in Europe from the 16th to the 17th century. Although it seems to be the only Western sword handed down to the 21st century in Japan, the rapier has been stored at the Minakuchi Museum of History and Folklore in Koka City for many years without attracting much concern so far.
 In September 2016, the rapier was investigated from art historical and physicochemical perspectives by the five members of Ms. Akiko NAGAI (Board of Education in Koka City), Mr. Toshihiko SUEKANE (Tokyo National Museum), Ms. Motoko IKEDA (Kyoto National Museum), Prof. Kazutoshi HARADA (Tokyo University of the Arts), and me, Koji KOBAYASHI. The summary and the outcomes of our study were reported at the 10th Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems held on February 24th, 2017.
 The presentations made by the members are “Historical Background on the Western Cruciform Sword Stored at Fujisakae Shrine” by Ms. Nagai; “Study of the Substantiality and Age of the Rapier Handed Down to Fujisakae Shrine – Reconnaissance with Museum Collections, Excavated artifacts and eary modern genre paintings” by Kobayashi; “Regarding the Western Sword Housed by Fujisakae Shrine” by Mr. Suekane; “The Western Sword Possessed by Fujisakae Shrine: X-ray CT Scanning and Fluorescent X-ray Analysis” by Ms. Ikeda; and “The Western Sword Belonging to Fujisakae Shrine – Comparison with Overseas Materials –” by Prof. Harada. The outcomes of our preliminary study were presented from diversified perspectives, including the reference to historical backdrops on swords and related artifacts, the study of hilt patterns and production techniques from the viewpoint of the metalworking history, the report of the data obtained through CT scanning and fluorescent X-ray analysis, and comparison with rapiers stored overseas, in addition to topics on Fujisakae Shrine and Yoshiaki KATO.
 Furthermore, whether this Western sword was produced at home or abroad is an important issue in considering the craftsmanship in the Momoyama period and its historical evaluation. We discussed the issue by exchanging various opinions and views after the presentations, which did not result in any consensus. We recognized the importance of this sword and the necessity of its further research anew.

Workshops on Lacquerware at the Lacquerware Technology College in Bagan, Myanmar

Practical training on investigation of the lacquer objects
Practical training on observation of cross-section samples using a microscope

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation held a lacquerware workshop at the Lacquerware Technology College in Bagan, Myanmar, as part of the project ʻProtection and Conservation of Cultural Properties in Myanmarʼ Bagan is a major production area for lacquerware. The above-mentioned college is working hard to train young lacquerware specialists to pass down local traditions and techniques. A lacquerware museum is attached to the college, where many cultural properties are housed. On the other hand, they need knowledge and skills related to the conservation and restoration of their cultural properties and scientific research on materials.
 Twelve college teachers and the museum curators participated in the workshop held from February 6th to 8th, 2017. The participants were provided with practical training and lectures on investigation and scientific analysis which are essential for the basis on conservation and restoration of lacquerware. In the practical training, each participant was required to visually examine and take notes on three pieces of Japanese lacquerware and one from the museum collection, followed by a discussion about their uses, materials, techniques and condition of damage. Finally, the comments and explanations were given by the instructor. In the scientific analysis part of the practical training, the participants prepared and observed by themselves cross-section samples. Fragments detached from actual lacquerware were embedded in synthetic resin, and the well-polished samples were then observed using a microscope to understand the structure of the lacquer coating. To cover the practical training, lectures were also provided to introduce a case study of conservation and restoration, along with prevalent methods of scientific analysis.
 The aim of the workshop was to provide the college teachers and curators with experience that would help them to protect the cultural properties in Myanmar.

The Research on Conservation and Restoration Method for Outer Wall of Brick Temples in Bagan, Myanmar

Waterproof sheet covering the damaged areas
Lashing belt reinforcing the structure

 From February 5th to 28th, 2017, at Me-taw-ya (No. 1205) temple in the Bagan Archaeological Site in Myanmar, the experiments with restoration materials and techniques were carried out in order to establish restoration methods for outer wall of brick temples, mainly aiming at protecting mural paintings from rain leakage. The previous surveys raised the issues to be resolved: the selection of appropriate restoration materials and methods considering aesthetic appearance of the monuments. Repeated discussion with the staff members of the Bagan Branch, Department of Archaeology and National Museums, Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture of Myanmar, resulted in a meaningful exchange of ideas about concrete restoration methods. On the other hand, explained in detail by local experts, a study was conducted to get the information about the changes of techniques and iconography, related to mural paintings which are the principal subject of this project.
 During the field work on site, a series of significant damage was detected to the temple structure, caused by the earthquake measuring M6.8 that struck central Myanmar on August 24th, 2016. Consequently, the remedial intervention was taken on the damaged areas, partially rescheduling the first planning. In the Bagan Archaeological Site, obviously rain leakage is the crucial cause of deterioration of the brick temples and mural paintings which decorate their inside. Lashing belts were employed to reinforce the structure, along with nets and waterproof sheets to prevent collapses and water penetration, taking into account the approaching rainy season.
 The results of chemical analysis of various materials used during the construction period will provide the criteria for revising the restoration methods introduced in the past and for studying the compatibility between new and old materials. Also, a plan will be made with local experts for new restoration methods adapted to the current situation of the Bagan Archaeological Site.

Holding the seminar “Ancient Wooden Architecture in Mainland Southeast Asia: Reading the Features of Lost Buildings from Archaeological Evidence”

One of the lectures of the seminar

 The seminar “Ancient Wooden Architecture In Mainland Southeast Asia: Reading The Features Of Lost Buildings From Archaeological Evidence” was held on 13 February 2017. In this seminar, experts from
Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Japan made presentations on the developments on this field in each country, shared information and exchanged opinions.
 In their presentations, the lecturers explained the different efforts being carried out in each country in order to determine the features of already lost wooden buildings from the remaining archaeological evidence. In Myanmar, large postholes shaped as wells and surrounded by bricks have been unearthed at the Bagan Royal Palace site. In Thailand, foundation stones, unearthed roof tiles, and traces of wooden members remaining in masonry walls and pillars have been used as hints to deduce the features of the wooden posts, walls and roof structures that existed in the sites of Sukhothai and the Phitsanulok Royal Palace. In central Vietnam, foundation stones, ornamental eave-end tiles and burned wooden members have been excavated from several Lin Yi sites, and reconstruction proposals of wooden structures have been developed on the basis of postholes found at the Champa site of My Son. Regarding northern Vietnam, the features of the foundation works and unearthed roof tiles at the Thang Long Imperial Citadel site were introduced, and a comparative analysis between earthenware architectural models and existing ancient buildings was made.
 A question and answers session was held after each presentation, and at the end of the seminar a panel discussion with the participation of all the presenters was held, including the Japanese approach among the discussion topics.
 The results of the fruitful exchange of information carried out during this seminar will serve as a basis for future cooperative research efforts, directed at furthering the understanding of the wooden built heritage of Southeast Asia.

Facility Tour in January

Mokwon University students receiving explanation

 On January 13th, 2017, eight third-year students from Department of Microbial and Nano Materials, Mokwon University in Republic of Korea visited the TNRICP to learn microbial control techniques to preserve cultural properties. They were given an explanatory tour by researchers at the Biological Laboratory and the Performing Arts Studio.

Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems – Preliminary Research on the Theory behind Genpei Akasegawa’s ‘Model 1,000 –Yen Note’

“First Public Hearing in the ‘1,000-Yen Note Trial’— Evidence, Courtroom and Deeds” (1,000-Yen Note Incident Colloquium Secretariat, 1966), TNRICP collection
Scene of the seminar

 On January 31st, 2017, the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information of Systems Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties hosted a seminar led by guest researcher Daisuke KAWAI entitled “Preliminary Research on the Theory Behind Genpei AKASEGAWA’s ‘Model 1,000-Yen Note.’”
 Genpei AKASEGAWA (1937–2014) was a multifaceted figure who was active as an avant-garde artist, manga creator, illustrator, writer (of both novels and essays), and a photographer. Mr. KAWAI gave a talk covering the period from the January 1963 creation of AKASEGAWA’s printed exhibition invitation that was a single-sided reproduction of Japan’s 1,000-yen note to the conclusion of “1,000-Yen Note Trial” in 1970 in which he AKASEGAWA was ultimately unable to overturn the charge of violating Japan’s currency counterfeiting law. KAWAI analyzed AKASEGAWA’s own writings and looked at how AKASEGAWA’s concept of the “Model 1,000-Yen Note series” was formed. KAWAI pointed out that AKASEGAWA’s “Model” concept was his way of attempting to legitimize his work of art in a historical and theoretical context. KAWAI pointed out features of AKASEGAWA’s later writings and creative activities that continued to espouse the “Model” concept.
 Mr. Hirokazu MIZUNUMA of the Chiba City Museum of Art participated in the seminar as a commentator, offering a different view of “art” from that held by the artists involved in the 1,000-Yen Note Incident. He also discussed the court trial through the lens of relational art. The result was a lively exchange of views.

Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

 The Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems held its monthly workshop onJanuary 12nd, where the following presentations were given:
 - Building dynamic websites utilizing WordPress and resulting effects – the web version of ‘The Articleson the Deceased’ and ‘TheAnnals (General News) of theArtWorld’ used as examples” byTomohiro OYAMADA, Research Assistant at the Department
 -“The significance of Christian art paintings in Gyokuyo KURIHARA’s art works” by Tai TADOKORO , Associate Fellow at the Department
 In his presentation, OYAMADA reported actual improvements made on the website of the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties. The Institute has been publishing the “Year Book of Japanese Art,”a data book that summarizes trends in the art world in Japan, since 1936. On the other hand, the Institute has also made data accumulated in editing the book, including those on exhibitions and literature, available to the public on the Internet. As part of this effort, in April 2014, the Institute published database improved by using WordPress software. The database covers “The Articles on the Deceased,” a compilation of brief descriptions of the deceased who had careers in art, and “The Annals of the Art World,” which summarizes events in the art world for each year. As a result of this effort, the number of visitors to the website has significantly increased. In the presentation, OYAMADA made a comparison of the website designs before and after the improvement, and reported the effects of their new functions based on specific analysis results.
 TADOKORO made a presentation on the work of Gyokuyo KURIHARA (1883-1922), who had a successful career as a female painter in Tokyo in the Taisho period. Gyokuyo focused on painting under the theme of Christianity from 1918 to 1920. Among the works of art during the period, “Asazuma Sakura (Christian girl Asazuma with cherry blossoms),” presented at the 12th Bunten exhibition in 1918, is said to be one of her representative works. The painting visualizes a story that developed in the Edo period involving Asazuma, a prostitute at Yoshiwara, who was arrested for her Christian faith under the anti-Christian edicts and executed under cherry blossoms in full bloom as her dying wish. In his presentation, TADOKORO discussed Gyokuyo’s reason for painting “Asazuma Sakura” and the position of the painting in her works. He further gave an in-depth discussion of the significance of Christian art paintings for Gyokuyo. For the entire collection of Gyokuyo’s art works, please see TADOKORO’s other disquisition entitled “Initial Research on Gyokuyo KURIHARA” in The Bijutsu Kenkyu (The Journal of Art Studies) No. 420 (issued in December 2016).

TNRICP’s Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage Hosts 11th Seminar: “Ramie Kimono and Silk Kimono”

Scene from the public lecture

 In collaboration with the Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum, the Tokyo National Research Institute forCultural Properties’ Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage hosted its 11th in a series of publiclectures, entitled “Ramie Kimono and Silk Kimono.”The afternoon program focused attention on ramieand silk, two fibers essential to thediscussion of Japanesetextiles. Presentations were given by individuals involved in local textile production and covered changes in the social milieu regarding ramie and silk, the transmission of production techniques, and the significance of keeping traditions alive.
 Regarding ramie (karamushi in Japanese), Yukiko FUNAKI of the Showa Village Association for Conservation of Karamushi Production Technique located in Fukushima Prefecture gave the talk “Passing on Karamushi Techniques—Efforts at Showamura.” Tomoya YOSHIDA of the Higashi-Agatsuma Town Board of Education in Gunma Prefecture presented “Passing on Hemp Techniques—Efforts in Iwashima,” in which he spoke of the importance of techniques for cultivating hemp for textile use and how to extract the fiber from the plant, as well as the difficulties of passing on this knowledge. Joining these two voices from production locales was Kumiko HAYASHI of the Okaya Silk Museum in Nagano Prefecture. Ms. Hayashi spoke about the technological innovation that supported modernization in the silk industry and emphasized the significance of keeping such activities alive.
 After these reports, Mr. Kensaku KIKUCHI, guest researcher in the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, gave the talk “Ramie Kimono and Silk Kimono in Folklore,” and Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum curator Koka YOSHIMURA explained the exhibition, using the title “The Current State of Ramie and Silk Ascertained through the Planning of the ‘Ramie Kimono and Silk Kimono’ Exhibition.” A tour of the exhibition at the Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum was then conducted.
 To transmit the culture surrounding ramie and silk kimonos requires knowledge of techniques involving the actual raw materials, hemp and silk. The lecture program taught attendees about the many issues involved in carrying on traditions involving ramie and silk and aimed to raise interest in the importance of preserving not only the techniques for making kimonos, but the techniques for extracting the fibers used as the raw materials.
 The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage will establish a forum for discussing the many problems associated with traditional textile techniques.

Workshop on the Conservation, Management and Enhancement Plan for Ta Nei Temple, Angkor

The workshop in progress

 For more than 15 years the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) has been collaborating with the Cambodian national authority for the protection and management of Angkor and the region of Siem Reap (APSARA) in various ways, including conducting joint research and personneltraining. Over this period of time, fieldworks have been conducted mostly at the Ta Nei Temple ruin of the Angkor onuments. The most recent workshop was held in Cambodia from January 26th to 28th, 2017 to support the creation of conservation, management and enhancement plan for the site.
 Joining the workshop were H. E. Mr. Ros Borath, Deputy Director General of APSARA, and other experts from the organization’s sections on the conservation of monuments, tourism, forestry and hydrology. A total of more than 20 staff members attended. On the first day, lectures were given at the APSARA head office addressing basic outlining and planning procedures for the conservation and management of archaeological sites. The second day was a site visit to Ta Nei and its vicinity to survey and confirm the current state of the area. On the third day, the participants returned indoors to discuss the basic direction for moving forward with planning and how to carry out the conservation and enhancement project after this.
 Ta Nei Temple is a major archaeological ruin within the core zone of the Angkor World Heritage Site that is constantly filled with tourists, but it still retains the striking atmosphere of a lost temple overgrown by jungle forest. A major outcome of the workshop discussions was the agreement on significant issues such as the determination to upkeep the temple, maintaining its present state so that people can safely tour the ruin, and to restore the original access route to the temple so that visitors can get a physical sense of the site’s relationship to nearby Angkor sites. There was also agreement that all the concerned sections would work together on steadily pursuing specific areas of endeavor, including archaeological excavations and other necessary surveys. This project is being positioned as a pilot model project for the maintenance of ruins conducted by Cambodian initiative, and TNRICP will continue to provide the necessary technical assistance to enable the work to be carried out properly and smoothly.

Charitable Contributions Received

Masakatsu ASAKI, Chairman of the Tokyo Art Club (center) and Nobuo KAMEI, Director General of TNRICP (right)
Tadahiko MITANI, President of Tokyo Art Club (left) and Nobuo KAMEI, Director General of TNRICP (center)

 The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) has received charitable contributions from the Tokyo Art Dealers’Association (Director: Jun NAKAMURA) to support research publication (the publishing enterprise) and from the Tokyo Art Club Co., Ltd. (President: Tadahiko MITANI) to support research projects. The transfers into TNRICP’s bank account were made on November 30th, 2016.
 As a token of gratitude for the donations, Nobuo KAMEI, Director General of TNRICP presented a certificate of appreciation to both Masakatsu ASAKI, Chairman, and Tadahiko MITANI, President, of the Tokyo Art Club. As Jun NAKAMURA, Director of the Tokyo Art Dealers’ Association was unable to attend, Mr. ASAKI accepted a certificate of appreciation on his behalf.
 We are very thankful for the donations and for the understanding of the work we do at the research institute. We aim to make good use of the funds in upcoming endeavors.

Facility Tour in December

Teachers from Kyoritsu Women’s University and Metropolitan Museum of Art receiving an explanation

Two teachers visit from Kyoritsu Women’s University Faculty of Home Economics
 On December 5th, 2016, a professor from Kyoritsu Women’s University visited Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) to learn things that would assist in student education regarding textile preservation and restoration theory and hands-on museum training. Also, a member from the Metropolitan Museum of Art joined to attain knowledge of restoration of textiles. They toured the Library, the Performing Arts Studio, and the Chemistry Laboratory and received explanations about the work being done in these areas from the researchers in charge.

Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems-Letter to Kuroda Seiki from Yamamoto Hosui

Image: Dated April 5th, 1895, a handwritten letter from Hosui YAMAMOTO to Seiki KURODA The illustration depicts Hosui himself returning from China with a dog in his rucksack and a daffodil in his basket.

 The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) owns several letters written to painter Seiki KURODA(1866–1924) who later in life was closely involved in the establishment of the institute. These letters are valuable materials for elucidating KURODA’s network of personal contacts during his life. For the reprinting and annotation of the letters, the TNRICP sought the cooperation of researchersoutside of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems. As part of the research work, the department hosted a seminar on Dec. 8th, 2016, inviting Mr.Akifumi SHIINO of the Fukui Fine Arts Museum to give a talk on “The Reprinting and Annotation of the Letters of Hosui YAMAMOTO to Seiki KURODA.”
 Hosui YAMAMOTO (1850–1906) was a leading Western-style painter of the early Meiji Period. During his time studying painting in France, he is known to have encouraged KURODA to become a painter instead of a lawyer. After returning to Japan, he established a painting academy, the Seikokan, which he later handed over to KURODA. He also joined the new artists’ society formed by KURODA, the Hakubakai, maintaining a strong friendship. The institute owns 14 letters written by YAMAMOTO to KURODA, documenting their friendship in Japan. Of these, nine were date-stamped in 1896, when they had both just returned from service as artists in the Sino-Japanese War. The letters dealt with their painting activities and YAMAMOTO’s thoughts on KURODA’s “Morning Toilette,” which sparked a controversy on nude painting when it was submitted for the 4th National Industrial Exhibition. One letter includes a self-drawn image of YAMAMOTO immediately after his return to Japan from China; many things he writes are amusing. These letters are noteworthy primary materials that shed light on YAMAMOTO’s disposition after his return to Japan, whereas he is primarily known for his lighthearted character in the social world of Paris’ artists and intelligentsia. SHIINO’s talk also touched on the positions of the two artists in the world of Western-style painting in Japan, both of whom were held in high esteem while being 16 years apart in age.

The 11th Conference on the Study of Intangible Folk Cultural Properties

 On December 9, 2016 the 11th Conference on the Study of Intangible Folk Cultural Properties washeld on the topic titled “Intangible cultural heritages and disaster prevention—risk management andrecovery support.”The meeting featured four presenters and two commentators for a day of reports anddiscussion.
 The Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 and numerous smaller natural disasters in recent years have brought crisis to intangible cultural heritages, leaving many vulnerable to total demise. Significant physical and societal devastation occurs throughout Japan due to earthquakes, tsunamis, torrential rains, and other extremes of nature. While awareness is growing toward safeguarding cultural properties from disasters, little thought has been given to intangible cultural heritages. At this conference, many issues were raised regarding this situation and measures being taken were shared. Discussions arose regarding what kind of preparations are needed to safeguard intangible cultural heritages from natural disaster and what kind of support could be given after such an occurrence.
 The first report was from Iwate Prefecture, which presented findings on the current state of harm to intangible cultural heritages resulting from the Great East Japan Earthquake and the ongoing recovery process. The second report was from Ehime Prefecture, which presented a survey of the region’s history of damage due to past Nankai Trough earthquakes and the building of a disaster prevention and mitigation system network. This was followed by a report on the replication of Buddhist statues as a means of preventing the theft of cultural properties.
 Finally, there was a report on how to keep the necessary records for the repair and restoration of festival implements. In the general discussion that followed, comments were shared on efforts that are being taken in the Kansai area based on the experience of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake; examples were also shared from outside Japan. Based on such comments there was a discussion on the need to form networks, also touching upon the political issues involved in risk management.
 The content of this conference was published in a March 2017 report that is scheduled for release on the website of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Workshops on Conservation and Restoration of Urushi Objects in Cologne, Germany

Practical training on making a material sample book
Practical training on Ryukyu decoration techniques

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation holds these workshops every yearas part of the project ‘International Courses’. Urushi objects are an important part of collections inmuseums around the world, and a certain amount of knowledge and techniques are required in their handling. These workshops contribute to better conservation and restoration of cultural properties by enhancing theunderstanding of materials and techniques used for urushi objects.
 Two advanced workshops, ‘Investigation, Storage and Exhibition Conditions of Urushi Objects’ from November 30th to December 3rd, and ‘Finishing and Decoration Techniques’ from December 6th to 10th, 2016, were held at the Museum of East Asian Art, Cologne. Both of the workshops had been renewed to cover more specialized contents, and the conservators attended the workshops from several countries around the world. The first workshop provided lectures on storage and exhibition conditions of urushi objects and a storage tour of the Museum of East Asian Art led by the Director of the museum. The practical training sessions covered investigation of the urushi objects which belong to the museum collection and allowed the participants to understand various materials such as wooden substrates, various types of urushi and ground layers by making a materials’ sample book. In the second workshop, a specialist in Ryukyu lacquerware from the Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts gave lectures about the history and the decoration techniques. In the practical training, the prevalent decoration techniques of Ryukyu lacquerware were presented. The participants also experienced roiro-age, which is one of the final step of urushi coating, to understand the finishing process of Japanese urushi objects.
 A series of workshops will be planned and continued to be held in the future, taking into account the opinions and wishes of the participants and the related staff members to contribute to the conservation and restoration of urushi objects.

Facility Tour in November (1)

Nomura’s employees listening to an explanation

NOMURA Co., Ltd. 20 attendees
 On November 7th, 2016, a party of 20 visited the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo (NRICPT) for the purpose of acquiring accurate knowledge of “cultural assets” and contributing to their exhibition in an environmentally friendly manner at facilities including museums. They attended a lecture in the seminar room, followed by a facility tour to the Library and the Analytical Science Section, where researchers in charge described their business activities.

Facility Tour in November (2)

Participants in a Cultural Affairs Agency Workshop for Fine Arts and Crafts Repair Specialists receive an explanation.

Cultural Affairs Agency Workshop for Fine Arts and Crafts Repair Specialists 34 attendees
 On November 17th, 2016, a party of 34, who participated in a Cultural Affairs Agency Workshop for Fine Arts and Crafts Repair Specialists, visited NRICPT on the belief that it would be extremely useful to take a look at the national center for research on cultural assets in Japan. After receiving an explanation in a conference room in the basement, they took a tour to its facilities, such as the Performing Arts Studio and the Physical Laboratory, where researchers in charge described their business activities.

The 50th Open Lecture Organized

A lecture being given

 The Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems organized a two-day open lecture in the seminar room of the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) on November 4th and 5th, 2016. This year’s seminar marked the 50th milestone. Every autumn, TNRICP invites people from the general public to attend presentations given by its researchers and invited outside lecturers on the results of research that they conduct on a daily basis. This program is not only held as part of the Lecture Series of the Ueno no Yama Cultural Zone Festival organized by Taito Ward but is also associated with Classics Day on November 1st,2016.
 The following four lectures were given this year: “Documentation Activities and Archives – A group of materials on the Year Book of Japanese Art and its transmission (Hideki KIKKAWA, Researcher, Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems) and “Wolves Coming Back into Existence – Yamatsumi Shrine in Iitate Village – On the Restoration of the Ceiling Paintings) (Kyoko MASUBUCHI, Curator, Fukushima Prefectural Museum) on the 4th and “Techniques to Hand Down Forms – Welcome to the backstage of an exhibition) (Chie SANO, Director, Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems) and “Forms to Memorize and Those to Find – Meanings and Value of “Cultural Properties”) (Ken OKADA, Director, Center for Conservation Science) on the 5th. The event drew a total of 159 visitors from the general public over two days, and gained favorable reviews.

Acceptance of visitors and other activities under the 2016 project for inviting, giving training to, and exchanging with, Japanese-art librarians from outside Japan (commonly known as the JAL Project)

 The JAL (Japanese Art Librarian) Project is a project started in fiscal 2014the fiscal year before last supported by grants from the Agency for Cultural Affairs and led by the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo with the purpose, among others, of reconsidering the ideal framework of the service to provide information materials on Japanese art and related information by inviting to Japan experts (including librarians and archivists) who handle Japanese-art related materials outside Japan.
 The nine invited experts visited related organizations in Tokyo, Kyoto and Nara from November 27 to December 10, 2016. The group visited this institute on November 30 and we showed them in the library, etc. book materials, photos taken in the surveys of artworks, files of modern and contemporary artists, and moreover, the materials and projects related to art sales catalogues, and explained how we provide information on the Internet. Furthermore, the group exchanged information and discussed researches with our institute’s researchers and officials of related organizations in Japan. On December 9, the last day of the training, an open workshop was held in the lecture room of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo where the invitees made recommendations regarding the dissemination of information on Japanese art. It became a good opportunity to review how we provide information on cultural assets on a global basis.
Preceding the invitation, Dr. Emiko Yamanashi, Deputy Director General of this institute, had been asked to serve as a Member of the Executive Committee of JAL2016 and gave a seminar on information on Japanese art for graduate students of the University of Pittsburgh. Moreover, as the three-year project was to be completed at the end of fiscal 2016, an “Answer Symposium” (http://www.momat.go.jp/am/visit/library/jal2016/) was held on February 3, 2017, to respond to the suggestions and recommendations made so far.

DICH participates in the “Inheritance and Development of Cultural Heritage – Event to Support the Restoration of Local Performing Arts”

The event being conducted at the venue

 On November 13th, 2016, an event titled “Inheritance and Development of Cultural Heritage – Event to Support the Restoration of Local Performing Arts – Let’s talk and pass down together” was organized by the National Museum of Ethnology and held in the main hall of the Ofunato Municipal Sanriku Community Center.
 Disaster-stricken performing arts groups, supporters, administrative authorities, and researchers got together and exchanged views and opinions concerning the path that they have taken thus far, proactive measures, and know-how on receiving support and keeping equipment, tools and costumes safe.
 The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage (DICH) exhibited posters for the “311 Reconstruction Support and Intangible Cultural Heritage Information Network” that it has operated with more than one collaborative body since the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and for the protection of intangible cultural properties from disaster.
 While support has been diminishing, disaster-affected performing arts groups continue to face harsh circumstances. Few events that bridge these performing arts groups, supporters, administrative authorities, and researchers have been held to discuss the actual situation surrounding the devastated performing arts or issues associated with support on site and on a face-to-face basis. Continuously having opportunities to form “loose networks” such as this may lead to the ideal form of protection from disaster for intangible cultural heritages both now and in the future.

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Basic Research Underway for Developing New Ways of Killing Insect Pests in Historical Wooden Architecture (How to Capture Insect Pests)

A FIT
installation of FIT

 The Center for Conservation Science has been moving forward the basic research on “hot-air processing” as one of the new ways of exterminating insect pests in historical wooden architecture. It heats a structure while maintaining a steady moisture content so that wood or coloration sustains no damage, thereby exterminating insect pests that perforate members inside the building, such as columns and beams, or cause feeding damage to them.
 In research such as this, it is ideal to use insect pests that actually cause damage when evaluating insecticidal effects. However, it becomes necessary to identify ways of collecting living insect pests efficiently or to establish an artificial rearing method to ensure their steady availability. To that end, we here discuss ways of capturing them.
 In the case of ordinary sticky traps for capturing flying insects, because an adhesive substance adheres to the insect pests captured, it is difficult to catch them alive. We therefore looked into how they are captured by applying a method called a Flight Interception Trap (FIT). The FIT utilizes the characteristic that a flying insect shrinks its wings or legs and falls when hitting an obstacle and thus is made up of a transparent collision plate and a trapping container installed underneath.
 When we conducted a survey on insect pests captured by using a FIT at a temple on Mt. Nikko this fiscal year, we succeeded in capturing the intended insect pests (mainly deathwatch beetles) alive. Being able to capture them alive can not only provide clues to elucidating their biology or life history but also lead to artificial rearing.
 We believe that it is important to accumulate the results of such basic research activities as the foundation underpinning the development of new ways to exterminate insect pests in historical wooden architecture.

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