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


Open Seminar: “Toward Sharing Information on Art Magazines”

Open Seminar: “Toward Sharing Information on Art Magazines”; On-going Discussion

 One of the sources for information regarding any exhibition or art museum is the art magazine. In recent times, there has been an increasing use of TV or the internet as an information source. However, before TV and the internet became popular and accessible to all, the art magazine, regularly published with pictures of various works of art, was a visual and immediate source for transmitting/supplying information to persons involved in the fine arts and art lovers. In the research on Japanese modern art, these art magazines play an important role as materials that reflect the details of the trends and movements in the fine arts of the time. Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties is a rich source of information as numerous art magazines published in the Meiji era and thereafter are in its possession. An open seminar titled “Toward Sharing Information on Art Magazines” was held on March 16th to provide an opportunity for participants to discuss the organization, publication, and sharing of such information.
 In this seminar, the following three researchers specialized in Japanese modern art delivered presentations, whose titles are as shown below:
 ○Jun SHIOYA (Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties): “Art Magazines of Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties – History of Its Collection and Publication”
 ○Shogo OHTANI (The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo): “Another Art Scene in the Period from the Mid-1930s to the Mid-1940s from “Nikkan Bijutsu Tsushin (Daily Art Journal)”
 ○Hitoshi MORI (Kanazawa College of Art): “The Art Magazine – Its Value and the Obstacles to its Production”
Mr. Shioya unveiled the Institute’s history of collecting art magazines and described the project started by its predecessor, The Institute of Art Research, in 1932, to compile the art history of the Meiji and Taisho eras and the project to publish the “Yearbook of Japanese Art” initiated in 1936. Then, Mr. Ohtani pointed out the scarcity and the significance of the art industry journal published from 1935 through 1943, “Nikkan Bijutsu Tsushin (Daily Art Journal)” (the title was changed to “Bijutsu Bunka Simbun (Art Culture Newspaper)” in 1941), by introducing its articles on reorganization of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts and the inside story of the organization that led to it publicly seeking works for its exhibition. Finally, Mr. Mori presented a comprehensive view on the friction between the concepts of “fine arts” and “magazine” brought in from Western Europe and the scope of Japanese pre-modern art, after presenting an overview of modern art magazines.
After the presentations, the three researchers held an active discussion together with Mr. Hideki KIKKAWA (Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties) as the MC taking questions on the presentations from the audience and settling on the proposed ways of sharing information using art magazines as a topic. In addition, Mr. Kikkawa mentioned how there has been steady progress regarding international information sharing among art magazines, and he introduced the efforts of the Institute, such as (a) a joint project with the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures to build a database of Japanese fine arts literature mentioned in European magazines; (b) providing metadata of “Mizue” published in the Meiji era for the Getty Research Portal operated by the Getty Research Institute; and (c) uploading “The Bijutsu Kenkyu (The Journal of Art Studies)” and “Yearbook of Japanese Art” on JAIRO, operated by the National Institute of Informatics.
 The seminar, which functioned as a site to exchange valuable information, attracted 80 persons involved in archive operations at art museums, universities, and publishing and other companies. Related to the presentation by Mr. Mori, a book editorially supervised by him and containing information on art magazines from the Meiji era through the pre-war period of the Showa era, will be published soon by TOKYO BIJUTSU Co., Ltd. titled “Overview of Japanese Art Magazines 1867-1945” (temporary title).


Consultation and Lecture at the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures in the UK

On-going seminar organized by the Sainsbury Institute

 The Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures in Norwich, UK is one of the hubs for the study of Japanese arts and cultures in Europe. The Sainsbury Institute and Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties have been jointly engaged since 2013 in the Project to Shaping the Fundamentals of Research on Japanese Art. As part of the project, researchers of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems annually visit the Sainsbury Institute to offer consultation on the project and deliver a lecture. In the FY 2017, three researchers, Jun SHIOYA, Takuyo YASUNAGA, and Tomohiro OYAMADA, stayed in Norwich from February 13th through 16th, 2018 for that purpose.
 As for consultation, we discussed the measures to be taken for the development of this project with Dr. Simon KANER, Head of the Centre for Archaeology and Heritage, and the staff members at the Sainsbury Institute, Mr. Akira HIRANO, Ms. Keiko NISHIOKA, and Ms. Miwako HAYASHI. Specifically, we talked about the English translation of the “Year Book of Japanese Art” (published annually by this Institute), improvement of the quality of basic information available on the names of Japanese writers included in the database, and so on.
 On February 15th, a lecture by Jun SHIOYA was held at the Weston Room of Norwich Cathedral. This was organized as part of the monthly seminar for general audience held on the third Thursday by the Sainsbury Institute. A researcher from this Institute annually delivers a lecture there since 2014. Jun SHIOYA made a presentation titled “Respect, Curiosity and Taboo – Differing Visual Expressions of the Meiji Emperor,” which was interpreted by Dr. Kaner. Based on the book titled “Art History of the Imperial Court 6” (published by Yoshikawa Kobunkan), for which Jun SHIOYA served as a representative author, he discussed the development and the limits of the visual expressions of the emperor in modern Japan by introducing a discussion on the portraits of the Meiji Emperor by Ms. Keiko MASHINO. These portraits are placed in the book while referring to the lese majesty, which was believed to have been committed by a journalist named Gaikotsu MIYATAKE, and the caricature of the Meiji Emperor in Europe. The seminar attracted an audience of around 80 people, including researchers such as Mr. Toshio WATANABE, Emeritus Professor at University of the Arts London and Professor at the University of East Anglia, and Dr. Barak KUSHNER, Associate Professor at the University of Cambridge, in addition to regular local participants. During the Q&A session after the lecture, a lot of questions were asked by the participants, which indicated high interest in Japanese cultures in the UK.


Conservation and Restoration of Contemporary Art ― Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

Presentation by Ms. Ayako Ogawa during the seminar

 Although many people once had an image of gendai bijutsu (contemporary art) as being difficult to understand and tended to avoid it, it is now becoming familiar even to Japanese people as they start to refer to it as “gendai art,” which seems to sound more approachable. It has become normal for art museums to exhibit and store works of contemporary art. However, the materials and techniques used in contemporary art vary tremendously from one piece of work to another, and art museums are now finding it increasingly difficult to effectively conserve and restore them using their traditional expertise. To discuss such issues concerning the conservation and restoration of contemporary art, the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems held a seminar on January 30th, featuring the following speakers: Ms. Ayako OGAWA, Project Researcher, The National Museum of Art, Osaka; and Mr. Yuichiro Taira, Project Associate Professor, Arts & Science LAB., Tokyo University of the Arts.
 In her presentation titled “The Conservation and Restoration of Contemporary Art in Art Museums,” Ms. Ogawa addressed the issues facing art museums. The National Museum of Art, Osaka (NMAO), which she works for, actively collects and exhibits time-based media works (artworks that employ a temporal form of expression) including video recordings, installations, and performances, which do not simply fit into the framework of museums. Just days before this seminar, the exhibition Travelers: Stepping into the Unknown started at the NMAO (from January 21st to May 6th, 2018). Providing examples from this exhibition, including a work by Robert Rauschenberg and a performance-based work by Allora & Calzadilla, Ms. Ogawa outlined a range of tasks involved in hosting such artworks, from receiving to exhibiting.
 Mr. Taira’s presentation was titled “Is Contemporary Art Such a Special Thing in the History of Art Conservation and Restoration?” and challenged the idea of how Western art and ancient Japanese cultural properties should be conserved or restored. The works of video art created from the 1960s to 1980s, most notably those of Nam June Paik, use cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors. Today, liquid crystal displays (LCDs) have become the dominant type of display, making it almost impossible to find a replacement CRT monitor. However, even if the material identity of the original work is lost after restoring it with an LCD instead of a CRT monitor, the core identity of the work, or its “DNA,” could be clearly communicated to the audience. Mr. Taira presented an argument from a broad perspective, even taking into account the ritual of Shikinen Sengu (a periodical transfer of god to a new shrine building) in Ise Shrine and other methods of passing down cultural properties that date back to ancient Japan. His argument extended beyond the topics of contemporary art and provided an opportunity for us to rethink how best to restore cultural properties, for which people have different approaches to inpainting, reworking, and hypothetical restoration depending on each property.
 While most presentations delivered at the Department’s seminars usually cover topics related to art history, this particular seminar was devoted to the topics of conservation and restoration of art, which attracted many people from other departments. After the presentations, participants exchanged their views from different professional perspectives.


People who Supported Seiki KURODA and Masterpieces that Fostered Ryusei KISHIDA – Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

Seiki KURODA (far-right in the back row) and his relatives. His birth father, Kiyokane, is on the left side of the front row while his adoptive father, Kiyotsuna, is on the right side.
Photographed at his home in Hirakawa-cho in 1904.

 On December 26th, 2017, a monthly seminar was held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems and the following researchers presented at the seminar.
• Mr. Koji CHIKAMATSU (Visiting Researcher of the Department): “Interpretation of the Documents and Letters Related to Seiki KURODA”
• Mr. Atsushi TANAKA (Visiting Researcher of the Department): “Acceptance of Classical Works of Art by Ryusei KISHIDA from 1913 through 1916”
 Mr. Chikamatsu reported on his research of letters written to a western-style painter Seiki KURODA (1866–1924), owned by the Institute. Research on the letters sent to this painter has been repeatedly reported at this seminar. Mr. Chikamatsu targeted his research on the letters written by his family members and relatives, including his birth father Kiyokane (1837–1914), his adoptive father Kiyotsuna (1830–1917), the Hashiguchi family, into which his adoptive sister married, and the Kabayama family, which adopted a child from the Hashiguchi family. Like the letters written by his adoptive mother Sadako presented by Mr. Jun TANAKA at the seminar held in August 2016, the letters reported here also showed that his relatives discussed Seiki’s change of profession from a lawyer to an artist during his stay in France.
 Mr. Tanaka presented on the paintings of Ryusei KISHIDA (1891–1916), a western-style painter, during the period that he lived in Yoyogi, Tokyo (1913–1916). In his book titled “Ryusei’s Book of Paintings and Artistic Views” (published in 1920), he referred to the great masters in Europe, such as Albrecht Dürer, Andrea Mantegna, and Jan van Eyck, saying, “It was really nice and reasonable for me to be influenced by these classical works of art.” Among them, Mr. Tanaka paid attention to Andrea Mantegna, an Italian Renaissance artist. Following a discussion of his process of accepting classical works of art based on the European book of paintings, which Ryusei may have watched, the presenter closely examined Ryusei’s process of establishing realistic expressions in his representative work, “Sketch of Road Cut through a Hill” (painted in 1915), and others.


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.


Art and Gender: Two Decades of Progress Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

Ticket for the Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts exhibition “Floating Images of Women in Art History: from the Birth of the Feminism toward the Dissolution of the Gender”

 The study of art history from the perspective of gender, which signifies the social and cultural constructs relating to male/female differences, developed in the West in the 1970s and ’80s. In Japan, gender was chosen as a theme by the Japan Art History Society in the ’90s, leading to exhibitions at art museums throughout the nation, attracting attention. Now, two decades later, we look back on the development and progress of gender studies. Ms.Reiko KOKATSU traced the footsteps in her presentation titled “The Gender Perspective: Its Introduction and Current Status in Japanese Art History Studies and Art Exhibitions.”
 Ms. KOKATSU, who was involved in the planning of the 1997 “Floating Images of Women in Art History: from the Birth of the Feminism toward the Dissolution of the Gender” exhibition at the Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts, is also party to the ensuing “gender debate” that the exhibition helped to ignite. What emerged from the debate was the perspective of whether “art” exists as a separate world, cut off from real-world society. Ms. KOKATSU says such differences in perspective are prevalent in art circles even today. One example of coordinated movement by society and art might be the involvement of art historians in the protests against the “gender-free bashing” that became a social problem from 2004 to ’06.
 After the presentation, Ms.Midori YAMAMURA (Special Researcher, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) spoke about the current state of gender studies in the USA. Ms.Maki KANEKO (University of Kansas) and Ms. Ryoko MIZUNO (Japan Women’s University) were also in attendance, with Ms.MIZUNO presenting some examples of the gender perspective in Japanese classical art studies. A multifaceted exchange of views took place in relation to art and gender.
 For a summary of KOKATSU’s presentation, please refer to Vol. 12 of Gender History issued in 2016. 


Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems – Unexpected Interaction between a Japanese-style Painter and Philosophers

Sketch of by Gaho HASHIMOTO (Source: “Collection of Gaho’s Rough Sketches” edited by Shuho HASHIMOTO)

 Gaho HASHIMOTO (1835-1908) is a renowned painter, who tries to innovate the modern Japanese-style painting together with Hogai KANO. Mr. Junichiro TANAKA (Ibara Municipal Denchu Art Museum) gave a presentation titled “Expressions in Figures by Gaho Hashimoto – Over the Possessed by Toyo University,” which has not been referred to so much among his works, at the research meeting held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems on June 27.
 The , where the four sages of Socrates, Buddha, Confucius and Kant are depicted on a hanging scroll, is now housed at Toyo University, but it is a very rare one among Gaho’s works. This scroll was painted at the request of Enryo INOUE (1858-1919), who is the founder of the University and a philosopher in the Meiji period. The four sages directly reflect Enryo’s perspective of philosophy, regarding them as the greatest philosophers of all ages and countries. This scroll has been used for the Philosophy Hall Ceremony organized at Philosophy Hall (Four Sages Hall) located in Nakano, Tokyo for many years. However, there are still unclear points about the scroll, including when it was painted and its background. We are curious about the sources on which Gaho was based to depict the unprecedented motif of Socrates and Kant in the authentic Japanese-style painting. Anyway, it is true that this is a unique work which implies unexpected interaction between a Japanese-style painter in the Meiji period and philosophers of the world.


Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems organizes a workshop – “Oishii seikatsu”: Look at Japanese culture in the transitional stage to the tertiary industry

A scene of the venue of the Japan World Exposition (Osaka, 1970)

 “Oishii seikatsu” (delicious life) is an advertising catchphrase hammered out by Seibu Department Store in 1982. While a high-speed growth era in which people sought material affluence was brought to end, in an era represented by this catchphrase where people try to build an individualistic lifestyle, how did artists respond to the trend? At a workshop organized by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems of the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) on April 25th, 2017, Ms. Midori YAMAMURA (Special Researcher of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) gave a presentation titled “‘Oishii seikatsu’: Look at Japanese culture in the transitional stage to the tertiary industry,” which was an attempt to explore the society and the origin of culture in the 1980s.
 According to Ms. YAMAMURA, artists who emerged from the end of the 1980s to the 1990s were greatly influenced by the Japan World Exposition held in Osaka in 1970. Artists participated in the World Expo, which excited enthusiasm in a great many Japanese people, through designing pavilions or exhibiting a piece of art. Meanwhile, those contemporary artists who were critical of the event’s stance of accepting the information industry or urbanization ended up becoming further alienated from people at large. A younger generation of artists, however, began conducting production activities by snuggling up to an everyday sense of ordinary people in the city. It is safe to say that the “Saison culture” based on a cultural strategy spelled out by the Saison Group, a distribution powerhouse centered on Seibu Department Store, which disseminated art, music, play or cinema that was in the forefront of the era between the 1970s and 1980s, played a role in fostering those artists’ flexible sensitivity.
 The workshop invited Mr. Yuji MAEYAMA of the Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, who made a remark on the cultural context in the 1970s to 1980s. Due in part to the fact that many participants underwent the same era, opinions and views were exchanged passionately, going beyond the framework of specialty. The content of the presentation is scheduled to be complied in the First Chapter of the book titled Japanese Contemporary Art After 1989 to be published by REAKTION BOOKS.


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).


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.


Rescued Cultural Property Afterward – Restored Shochuhi memorial in Sendai

Bronze Black Kite Being Hoisted by the Crane on October 13th
Restored Shochuhi memorial (Photographed by Mr. Takashi OKU)

 As repeatedly reported through this activity report, the Committee for Salvaging Cultural Properties Affected by the 2011 Earthquake off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku and Related Disasters having its secretariat in this Institute provided rescue activities for numerous cultural properties damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011. The Shochuhi memorial (managed by Miyagiken Gokoku Shrine) standing on the site of the inner citadel of Sendai Castle (Aoba Castle) is one of them. The monument was built to console the souls of war victims related to the Second Division in Sendai in 1902. Due to the earthquake, a bronze black kite installed on the stone tower about 15 m in height fell to the ground. Its broken pieces were collected and the main body was relocated as Cultural Properties Rescue Operations by the Committee. After the completion of the Operations in 2014, the Monument was restored as the Disaster-Affected Museum Reconstruction Project in Miyagi Prefecture. The joining work for the broken black kite conducted at Bronze Studio located in Hakonegasaki, Tokyo from FY2015 was finally completed. From October 11th through 17th, 2016, the black kite was installed at its original location in Sendai.
 The bronze black kite (4.44 m in height, 5.68 m in width, 3.819 t in total bronze weight), whose original virile appearance with its wings widely spreading was restored in Tokyo after about five and a half years, was transported to Sendai by trailer on October 12th, 2016. On the next day, the bronze statue was installed in the lower front of the stone tower by crane, under the watchful eye of the people concerned, local mass media, and tourists visiting Sendai Castle. The bronze black kite, which had been placed on the top of the tower, was installed at the foot of the tower for security, considering the possibility that it may fall again from the tower top when another large earthquake occurs if placed in its original position. This bronze statue was commissioned, and then produced and cast at Tokyo Fine Arts School (Tokyo University of the Arts, today). Now, you can get a close look at the dynamic appearance of the huge black kite produced with the united efforts of the art school in the Meiji era, although it is now located in a place different from its original position.
 The restoration process that has taken over a little more than five years has revealed a lot of unknown facts about the Shochuhi memorial. The boring survey conducted in June, 2016 showed that there is a large hollow surrounded by brick walls inside the tower. Another fact that one of the wings of the black kite had toppled over due to an earthquake on November 3rd, 1936 prior to the Great East Japan Earthquake was confirmed with a newspaper at that time.
 According to the restorers of the bronze statue, the restoration process has revealed a variety of techniques made full use of for production. Particularly, the lead and concrete filling the inside of the statue to fix the rail inserted as an iron core connecting the black kite and the stone tower, as well as to balance the black kite in weight, was removed in this restoration for weight reduction. On the other hand, for installation of the restored black kite, steel pipes with different diameters are connected like inserts are used as a support rod inside the bronze statue. To join the steel pipes, lead was cast to fill the gap for fixing. The fixing method used for this statue clarified during the restoration process was applied to this approach. Thus, the Shochuhi memorial has been revived from the earthquake damage by utilizing the excellent technique of our predecessors. We sincerely hope that this valuable monument in the Meiji era will be handed down from generation to generation for ever after re-realizing the value of new knowledge obtained during the restoration process.


Seminar Held by Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems — Letters to Seiki Kuroda from His Foster Mother, Sadako

Seiki Kuroda and his foster mother, Sadako
Part of a letter from Sadako to Seiki Kuroda dated July 9th, 1886

 The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) possesses a number of letters addressed to Seiki Kuroda (1866-1924), a Western-style painter who contributed greatly to the foundation of the Institute. As these letters are important materials for understanding his human network, the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems has been working on their transcription and investigation. Among them, there are letters that were exchanged between Kuroda and his family. With the objective of also focusing on such communications with his family, Mr. Jun TANAKA, Research Assistant of the Department, gave a research presentation titled “Transcription and Bibliographical Introduction of Letters to Seiki Kuroda from His Foster Mother, Sadako Kuroda” at the Departmental seminar.
 Sadako Kuroda (1842-1904), the wife of Kiyotsuna Kuroda who adopted Seiki as his heir, raised Seiki from his infancy. The letters sent to Sadako from Seiki during his period of study in France had already been transcribed and published in “Diary of Seiki Kuroda” (Chuo Koron Art Publishing Corporation, 1966). At this seminar, over 70 letters from Sadako to Seiki were introduced. As was the case with the letters from Seiki to Sadako, the letters from Sadako were also written in plain kana characters with colloquial expressions inserted here and there. The contents pertain mostly to family news, telling Seiki, who was studying abroad, the recent events of family members in detail and her husband Kiyotsuna’s intention. She thus seems to have been serving as a mediator between the father and the son. In particular, when Seiki, who had left for France to study law, decided to direct his efforts toward becoming a painter, it is worth noting that Sadako, together with Kiyotsuna, expressed her support by writing, “It’s a very, very good idea” in her letter dated July 9th, 1886. It would be no exaggeration to say that the painter Seiki Kuroda came into being thanks to such emotional support from his foster parents. This seminar has given us an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of family ties in Kuroda’s accomplishments as a painter.


Special Exhibition: Seiki Kuroda, Master of Modern Japanese Painting: The 150th Anniversary of His Birth

The exhibition hall –Seiki Kuroda’s atelier is reproduced and sketches of Talk on Ancient Romance and others are on display.
The exhibition hall – From the section that reproduces the mural painting for the entrance of Tokyo Station for the Imperial Family, Wisdom, Impression and Sentiment is viewed.

 This year marks the 150th year since the birth of Western-style painter Seiki Kuroda (1866-1924) who made a great contribution to modernizing Japanese art and establishing the Institute. To commemorate this milestone, the Special Exhibition: Seiki Kuroda, Master of Modern Japanese Painting: The 150th Anniversary of His Birth was held at the Heiseikan, Tokyo National Museum from March 23rd through May 15th, 2016. The Institute, which has continued to conduct research and studies on Kuroda since its estublishment, was involved as an organizer in planning and composing the exhibition, resulting in making the exhibition that reflects the outcome of our research.
 In this exhibition, over 200 pieces of his works were collected together ranging from those he created while he was studying in France to those sent to Hakubakai that he led and those exhibited at Bunten, to sketches in his late life, not to mention familiar masterpieces such as Reading and Lakeside. Moreover, as an attempt unique to this exhibition, paintings by French painters who influenced Kuroda while he was studying in France and those by Japanese Western-style painters with whom Kuroda got involved were also exhibited. As regards French paintings in particular, we invited Mr. Atsushi MIURA, an expert of French modern art and professor of the University of Tokyo, as a guest curator. French works, including Shepherdess with her flock (owned by Musee d’Orsay) by Jean-Francois Millet whom Kuroda looked up to and Froreal (owned by Musee d’Orsay, deposited in Musee des beaux-arts d’Arras) by Raphael Collin, his mentor, were also on display, providing a good opportunity to compare these with the counterparts by Japanese Western-style painters in order to identify what Kuroda learned from the mainstream of Western art and tried to bring over to Japan.
 In the exhibition, while the audience appreciated Kuroda’s original works, real-size images of works that were destroyed by the fire during a war, including Morning Toilette and Talk on Ancient Romance, were also displayed. The mural painting for the entrance of Tokyo Station for the Imperial Family completed in 1914 based on Kuroda’s concept was burnt down in an air raid in 1945, but based on some photographs, a corner was set up to allow the audience to feel the ambience using images of Tokyo Station in those days as well.
 The exhibition not only coincided with the cherry blossom viewing season and Golden Week holidays but also received good reviews from various media; as a result, it drew as many as roughly 182 thousand visitors in total. With this exhibition, the Institute believes that Kuroda’s great presence was felt anew. The exhibition offered an opportunity to take a comprehensive view of his career as a painter and life on the one hand. On the other hand, there are still materials yet to be elucidated, including the letters addressed to him that the Institute owns. The Institute will continue to conduct research and studies on Kuroda and publicize the outcome on the Bijutsu Kenkyu (The Journal of Art Studies) and its website.


Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems: Reading letters addressed to Seiki Kuroda from Yoshimatsu Goseda

Yoshimatsu Goseda (right) and Seiki Kuroda
From a commemorative photo of a get-together among Bun-ten exhibitors (“Bijutsu Shinpo” Vol. 12, No. 2 December 1923)

 The Institute owns a large number of letters addressed to Seiki Kuroda (1866-1924), a Western-style painter who was deeply involved in establishing the Institute. Regarding them as valuable materials that help us look into a network of personal contacts involving Kuroda, the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems has worked on their republication and research, while seeking cooperation from outside researchers. As part of this initiative, Mr. Takuro Tsunoda, a curator of the Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History, was invited to give a presentation titled “Reading letters addressed to Seiki Kuroda from Yoshimatsu Goseda – Profile, Tokyo School of Fine Arts, and History of Western-style Painting in the Meiji Period” at the seminar of the department held on April 21.
 In recent years, Yoshimatsu Goseda (1855-1915), who is one of the leading Western-style painters in the first half of the Meiji period, has been reevaluated and reviewed through exhibitions and studies by Mr. Tsunoda. Yoshimatsu, who grew up in a family of machie-shi (town painters), went to France earlier than Seiki Kuroda and won a prize at a salon, displaying his talent. After returning to Japan in 1889, however, his activities were rather low-profile. Thus, he was treated as a person whose existence has been forgotten in art circles. Mr. Tsunoda’s presentation this time dealt with the details surrounding the latter half of Yoshimatsu’s life, which had not been told very much, through 25 letters that he addressed to Kuroda since 1908. In many of these letters, Yoshimatsu, who was trying to sell his old works to the Tokyo School of Fine Arts, asked Kuroda, who was a professor of the school, to go between. Kuroda replaced the previous generation, including Yoshimatsu, and led the world of Western-style painting in those days. In fact, a great many Western-style paintings that Yoshimatsu created in the early Meiji period while he was in Europe, such as “Ayatsuri Shibai,” were included in the collection at the school, where Kuroda worked, allowing you to make a survey of the trends in Western-style paintings from the early to the late Meiji period. Mr. Tsunoda’s presentation was an attempt to find positive significance in the creation of the history of Western-style painting in the Meiji period from exchanges between Yoshimatsu and Kuroda, which went beyond their respective positions, and reminded us of the importance of these letters that describe the background.


Retirement Lecture of TANAKA Atsushi (Deputy Director General)

TANAKA Atsushi lecturing on artist KISHIDA Ryusei

 As a part of the comprehensive study meeting program for the researchers of the Institute, the lecture meeting of TANAKA Atsushi (Deputy Director General) who was retiring at the end of this fiscal year was held on March 1st. Tanaka has been with the Institute since 1994 and engaged in research study on the contemporary art and published many literatures concerning Japanese modern Western paintings especially in the Meiji and Taisho eras. His books include “TAIYO TO JINTAN: Aspects of Japanese post-impressionism and modernism, 1912-1945” (Brücke Co., Ltd., 2012).
 In the lecture titled “The substratum of the modern Japanese art ― with the focus on KISHIDA Ryusei,” the relationship between KISHIDA Ryusei as an artist of Western painting and the collectors surrounding him was viewed and discussed as the “substratum” that had supported his creative work. Tanaka’s view has deep-rooted in his research approach that was adopted in the above literary works and that he has developed over the past years. Furthermore, his lecture using abundant materials based on solid research has revealed that Kishida’s network with SUMITOMO Kanichi who was the eldest son of SUMITOMO Shunsui (the founder of the present Sumitomo Group and a well-known art collector), ODAKA Sennosuke who was a staff member of the Institute of Art Research (the predecessor of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo), and others led the artist of Western painting to become an ardent admirer of the Eastern art such as Ming & Xing-era paintings and Ukiyo-e.
 In addition to the Institute’s staff members, the lecture meeting was also attended by many former staff members of the Institute who used to work with Tanaka. A reception was held after the lecture, which was filled with a warm and friendly atmosphere just like that of an alumni reunion.
 After retirement, Tanaka will continue to support the Institute as its honorary fellow and a visiting researcher of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems.


Rescued Cultural Property Afterward – Report on Current Restoration Status of the Shochuhi memorial in Sendai

The Shochuhi memorial is being restored at Bronze Studio in Tokyo (on November 7, 2015)
A bronze black kite spreading its wings is placed on its back. Referring to the pre-earthquake photos pinned on the board behind, the broken pieces are put back together one by one.

 As repeatedly reported through this activity report, the Committee for Salvaging Cultural Properties Affected by the 2011 Earthquake off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku and Related Disasters having its secretariat in this Institute have provided rescue activities for numerous cultural properties damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011. The Shochuhi memorial standing on the site of the inner citadel of Sendai Castle (Aoba Castle) is one of them. The monument was built to console the souls of war victims affiliated with the Second Division in Sendai in 1902. Due to the earthquake, a bronze black kite installed on the stone tower about 15 m in height fell to the ground. Its broken pieces were collected and the main body has been relocated as part of the Cultural Properties Rescue Operations by the Committee. Since the completion of the Operations in 2014, the Monument has been restored as the Disaster-Affected Museum Reconstruction Project in Miyagi Prefecture. In this fiscal year, the broken black kite pieces have been transferred to Bronze Studio located in Hakonegasaki, Tokyo, and joining operations are now under way. Here, I would like to report on the restoration process of the black kite based on my visit to the Studio on November 7, 2015.
 The broken black kite was delivered to Tokyo twice on June 3 and July 10. First, as a step prior to the joining process, the concrete and lead inside the largest part of the broken black kite (approx. 5.1 t) was removed. The black kite was filled with these materials to fix the rail inserted as an iron core connecting the black kite and the stone tower, as well as to balance it in weight. After the three months it took to remove them, the process to join the broken bronze pieces started on a full scale. Based on the images taken during the research before the earthquake, the pieces are being put together in such a way as to return them to their original form. Since the head and wing tips of the black kite are crushed, small pieces are being assembled like a jigsaw puzzle.
 The construction of the Shochuhi memorial , on which a huge black kite weighing over 5 tons was installed on a tower 15 m in height, was really a feat of strength. According to Mr. Yuji Takahashi of Bronze Studio, the on-going restoration process has revealed the painstaking craftsmanship dedicated at that time, such as fine parts that are now produced with machines were manually processed one by one. The restoration process made us recall the time-consuming endeavors undertaken by the people involved in the construction of the Monument during the Meiji period. These piecing operations will proceed on to the next fiscal year. After the completion of all processes, the black kite will go back to Sendai. On the other hand, however, the stone tower has deteriorated due to the infiltration of rainwater. Although five years have passed since the earthquake, many challenges still remain over the conservation and restoration of the Monument. Long-term initiatives are required.


The donation of the photo materials of Hata Shokichi during his study in Paris received

Self-portrait of Hata Shokichi. Taken in 1910
He pointed the camera lens at the mirror to shoot himself pressing the shutter. His writing on the negative tells that it was taken in Hotel Soufflot in Paris that was a favorite place to stay for Japanese intellectuals and artists.

 Hata Shokichi (1882-1966), a sculptor, was a professor at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts (present Tokyo University of the Arts) and Tokyo Higher School of Arts & Technology (present Chiba University), and created commemorative medals and reliefs as a non-regular employee of the Japan Mint and Decoration Bureaus. He went to France as an overseas business trainee of the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce between 1907 and 1910 and became the first Japanese sculptor admitted to the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts (National School of Fine Arts) where he studied sculpture. Twelve negatives during his stay in France have been kept by his bereaved family and Mr. Fumio Hata, a grandchild of Shokichi, donated them to this Institute. The photo negatives include those of his self-portrait, him with Yasui Sotaro, Fujikawa Yuzo and other Japanese artists who were in Paris at that time. We may say that the negatives are highly precious materials that help us look at his association with other Japanese in a foreign country. We will convert these negatives into digital photos and make them available on the web.


The Holding of a Study Meeting of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems “Issues Related to Letters to Seiki Kuroda from Saburosuke Okada”

A postcard written by Saburosuke Okada, dated December 5, 1896
A letter partly written by Yachiyo Okada under the name of Saburosuke Okada, dated June 30, 1911

 The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, possesses a large number of letters sent to Seiki Kuroda (1866-1924), an oil painter deeply involved in the establishment of the institute. The Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems promotes republication and study on the letters as important materials to suggest a network of people surrounding Kuroda, while also asking for the cooperation of researchers outside the institute. As part of the efforts, we held a study meeting on August 31 for staffers at the department on letters from Saburosuke Okada, who established academia of Japan’s modern oil painting together with Kuroda. Presenters and titles of their presentations are as follows.
· Ms. Yuri Takayama (curator at the Fukuoka Prefectural Museum of Art)
“Letters to Seiki Kuroda from Saburosuke Okada: Republication and Bibliographical Introduction”
· Mr. Seiichi Matsumoto (deputy director of the Saga Prefectural Museum and the Saga Prefectural Art Museum)
“The Image of Saburosuke Okada observed in the novels of Yachiyo Okada”
 Seiki Kuroda said that letters in Saburosuke Okada’s own handwriting “are worthy of designation as a national treasure in the future.” This means that Okada rarely wrote a letter on his own. In the presentation by Ms. Takayama, she suggested that there is a difference in the handwriting in the letters sent to Kuroda under the name of Okada, and provided further insights into the persons who wrote the letters under the name of Okada. Okada’s wife Yachiyo, one of such persons, was also active as a novelist and drama critic. In the presentation by Mr. Matsumoto, he introduced a newly discovered manuscript of Yachiyo’s novel reflecting her own view on married couples as well as letters sent to Kuroda that were written by Yachiyo under the name of Okada. He showed the image of Okada through the eyes of a woman who was married to a painter. While letters in the modern age are generally seen as important as primary documents in the sender’s own handwriting, this study meeting offered an opportunity to reaffirm the difficulty of understanding letters through the case of letters written by other people under the name of a sender and the excitement of revealing new human relationships surrounding a sender by discovering his/her relationship with people writing letters for the sender.


The holding of a monthly workshop by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems: About “Sansui Zukan” said to have been painted by Gion Nankai and the Gajo (an album of paintings) possessed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art

“Monkeys” painted by Kawanabe Kyosai, in the Kindai Nihon Gajo album of paintings possessed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
©The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Charles Stewart Smith Collection, Gift of Mrs. Charles Stewart Smith, Charles Stewart Smith Jr., and Howard Caswell Smith, in memory of Charles Stewart Smith, 1914

 The Art Research, Archives and Information Systems held a monthly workshop on the topic and with the presenters mentioned below on June 4.

– Takuyo Yasunaga (researcher at the department): About “Sansui Zukan,” said to have been painted by Gion Nankai (possessed by the Tokyo National Museum)
– Ms. Eriko Tomizawa-Kay (Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures) “Modern Japanese-style painters observed in collections of paintings outside Japan and their drawing activities – mainly about the establishment and acceptance of ‘Kindai Nihon Gajo (commonly known as the Brinkley Album)’ ”
 
 On the topic of “Sansui Zukan,” a painted scroll in the Edo period that is said to have been painted by Gion Nankai and depicting the Kumano pilgrimage routes running from Wakayama to the Nachi falls via Nakahechi, Hongu, and Shingu, Ms. Yasunaga discussed the possibility of the work having been painted by Gion Nankai [1676-1751], based on the geographically accurate depiction of Kumano and the characteristics of its expression by comparing the scroll with Nankai’s other newly found works and other measures. In addition, she also pointed out the scroll’s relationship with the learning activities of Chinese paintings by early Japanese bunjinga (literati painting) painters and new expressions of actual sceneries. However, attendees of the workshop provided various remarks such as the issue of whether the painting scroll was just a sketch and the relationship with other paintings of the same age.
 Ms. Tomizawa made presentations based on the survey of “Kindai Nihon Gajo” possessed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. While paintings included in this gajo are separated individually at present, it originally consisted of 95 paintings created by seven Japanese-style painters who were active in the Meiji era, including Kawanabe Kyosai, Hashimoto Gaho and Kawabata Gyokusho. Ms. Tomizawa’s research revealed that dealer and collector Francis Brinkley (1841-1912) originally asked Kyosai to create an album of 100 paintings. However, as Kyosai died in 1889, the creation of the album was divided among the other six painters, according to her research. Charles Stewart Smith, a prominent U.S. entrepreneur who stayed in Japan in 1892 and 1893, purchased the album from Brinkley and Smith’s bereaved family donated the album to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The album remains in the museum’s possession to this day.
 Among the paintings included in the album, 12 painted by Kyosai were temporarily returned to Japan and exhibited along with their sketches (possessed by the Kawanabe Kyosai Memorial Museum) at the exhibition “KYOSAI-Master painter and his student Josiah Conder” held at the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo, in the Marunouchi district of Tokyo from June 27 to Sep 6. The elaborate brushworks are prominently respected among other paintings in the album, so we recommend that you see them on this occasion.


A database of images from Bijitsu Gaho (The Magazine of Art) is available for public access

Imaging of A Painting of Mahamayuri

 Bijitsu Gaho(The Magazine of Art) is an art journal that was first published by Gahosha as Nihon Bijitsu Gaho in June 1894. In addition to “new works” by artists at the time, the journal also featured artworks and handicrafts dating from before the Edo period as “reference works.” The journal provides a glimpse into what works were considered classics in the Meiji era. The name of the journal changed to Bijitsu Gaho in 1899, and the journal continued publication until 1926.
 A database featuring images from Nihon Bijitsu Gaho and Bijitsu Gaho is now available for public access via the Institute’s website. The database allows searches by the names of artists and the names of pieces.
http://www.tobunken.go.jp/materials/gahou
The database currently contains images from Japanese Art Pictorial Vol. 1, No. 1 (June 1894) to Vol. 5, No. 12 (May 1899). Plans are to make images from subsequent volumes available as well. In addition, volumes prior to Vol. 3, No. 12 (June 1897) can be viewed with a book viewer, which users can peruse like flipping through a book, so we invite you to have a look.


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