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


Workers’ Art Exhibition, Governor of Tokyo Award

Celebrating the award with Ishimaru (from left to right: Director Nagai of the Department of Management, Director General Suzuki, Ishimaru, Goto)

 Ishimaru Shinya of the Accounting Section, Department of Management received the Governor of Tokyo Award in the Workers’ Art Exhibition (section on calligraphy) from the Governor of Tokyo on December 2 and reported this to Director General Suzuki.
 After congratulating Ishimaru, Director General Suzuki and Ishimaru talked about his work and various topics related to his creative activities.
 This art exhibition, popularly known as Kinbiten, provides an opportunity for people working in Tokyo to present the results of their creative activities. It is an exhibition with a history of 60 years.
 A total of 880 works including Japanese paintings, western-style paintings, three-dimensional formative art, craftwork, calligraphy and photography were exhibited. Of the 47 works presented in the section on calligraphy, the Governor of Tokyo Award is the most honorary award given. The judges commented that Ishimaru’s work is “characterized by very strong brush strokes and a feeling of youth permeates the entire work. The middle section of the three-part composition of the work, which moves from prelude to variation and finally to denouement, is very dynamic. The use of space between the lines is beautiful and the contrast between the parts where the brush strokes are clear and where they are somewhat faint is wonderful.”
 Ishimaru has been strongly attracted to calligraphy from his childhood and studied in the Calligraphy Course of Daito Bunka University. Then he went on to graduate school to pursue further study in this field at the Department of Calligraphy, Faculty of Literature of the University and has produced scholarly achievements as well. Presently, he is a member of 2 calligraphy associations, The Yomiuri Shoho-kai and Ranjukai, and is engaged in creative activities in the limited free time he has from his work at the Institute. Working at the Institute, which is a base for studies associated with cultural properties, provides Ishimaru with good stimulation and he is doing his best to create better works of calligraphy and to contribute to the development of artistic culture.
(Ishimaru’s major works and activities can be viewed on his home page: http://www.h2.dion.ne.jp/~shinya-i/top.htm)


Donations received

Director General Suzuki receiving donations from Director Shimojo and President Asaki (From left to right: Vice Director Yoshida, Director Shimojo, President Asaki, Director General Suzuki, and Director Nagai of the Department of Management)
Director General Suzuki presenting a letter of appreciation to President Asaki (President Asaki to the left and Director General Suzuki to the right)
Director General Suzuki presenting a letter of appreciation to Director Shimojo (Director Shimojo to the left and Director General Suzuki to the right)

 An offer for donation was made by the Tokyo Arts Dealers’ Association to subsidize projects for the publication of the results of investigation and studies related to cultural properties conducted by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. Another offer was also made by the Tokyo Bijutsu Club to subsidize research projects of the Institute.
 The Tokyo Arts Dealers’ Association has donated 1 million yen each twice a year since the autumn of 2001; this was their 13th donation. The Tokyo Bijutsu Club also donated 1 million yen last autumn and this spring, making the current donation its third one.
 On December 17, Director General Suzuki received the donations at the Tokyo Arts Dealers’ Association in Minato-ku, Tokyo from Director Shimojo Kei’ichi of the Tokyo Arts Dealers’ Association and President Asaki Masakatsu of the Tokyo Bijutsu Club. In return, Director General Suzuki presented letters of appreciation to them.
 The presentations were followed by an informal talk on the conservation of cultural properties and exhibitions of art objects.
 We are most grateful for their understanding of the Institute’s work and donations and hope to use them for the projects conducted by the Institute.


Study of “the original” (3): fundamental principles for the restoration of cultural propertie

 The Department of Research Programming holds workshops on the theme of “the original” in preparation for the International Symposium on the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Property which it will host next fiscal year. In December discussion was held with Director General Suzuki Norio who has been engaged in the restoration of cultural properties for many years.
 Today, the fundamental principle for the restoration of cultural properties in Japan is to conduct the minimum necessary treatment without hindering the scientific, historical and aesthetic value of cultural properties and keeping in mind the maintenance of the present condition. However, the question as to where the focus should be placed with regard to the material or the form of cultural properties or on which point in the history of a given cultural property the appearance of that cultural property should be maintained is a matter that is closely related to the fundamental question of where the essential value of cultural properties lies. It is a matter for which a standard rule cannot be laid and which requires many important decisions to be made during restoration.
 What was of interest was the comment that in Japan people have a unique sensitivity and sense of value that find beauty in the changes that passage of time brings to cultural properties – what is often referred to as “ageing” – and hope to transmit it. There was much active discussion since such a way of looking at cultural properties, not merely looking at them in their original but also placing focus on the value brought about by history, has something in common with the idea of “the original” that we wish to propose in the Symposium.

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Workshop for the publication of A Study of Exhibits from Art Exhibitions of the Showa Era (Pre-World War II Volume)

A poster for the Proletarian Art Institute (around 1930)

 As a part of the research project “Comprehensive Research on Modern and Contemporary Art,” the Department of Research Programming is working toward the publication in fiscal year 2008 of A Study of Exhibits from Art Exhibitions of the Showa Era (Pre-World War II Volume), a collection of articles on art of pre-World War II Showa period. A workshop was held on December 27 in relation to this publication. Following is a list of presenters and the titles of their presentations.
 Kita Takaomi (Aizu Museum, Waseda University): “Yabe Tomoe and the Proletarian Art Movement – Focusing on the Proletarian Art Institute”
 Adachi Gen (Graduate School, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts): “’Akujo’ and War – The World of Comics by Ono Saseo”
 Shikida Hiroko (The University Art Museum, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts): “A Study of Minimal Residences in Japan during the First Half of the Showa Period – Designing Activities of the Keiji-kobo and Its Associates”
 As the presentations were made by young researchers, their contents that covered such challenging, not-yet well studied fields like proletarian art, comics and design were fresh innovative and stimulating. Although most of the presenters and participants were contributors to A Study of Exhibits from Art Exhibitions of the Showa Era (Pre-World War II Volume), close to 30 researchers participated and held heated discussions based on the presentations. There is no question that this workshop served as a good impetus for the publication.


Workshop of the Department of Research Programming

 The Department of Research Programming holds workshops every month to give interim reports on or to present a part of the results of its research projects. On Wednesday, December 26 (from 3 pm) Tsuda Tetsuei made a presentation entitled “On the Local Production of Buddhist Statues in the 12th Century” which is a part of the research project “Cross-Disciplinary Study of Art Materials and Techniques.”
 Until now the fact that there are not many differences in expression or techniques between Jocho-style Buddhist statues, the standard sitting style of Amitabha Tathagata, made in the cities and in local areas was attributed to skills of the Buddhist sculptors who made these statues. Instead, Tsuda attributed the lack of difference to the way in which theses statues were produced. He noted the existence of local officials who had bases of their activities in both cities and local areas and who moved between the two. By so doing, and by giving directions as to how statues were to be made, they acted as key persons in the production of Buddhist statues and raised the cultural level of the local areas to that of the cities. Based on such hypothesis, Tsuda examined the statue of Amitabha Tathagata at Jogon’in temple in Shiga prefecture whose original canopy, nimbus and pedestal remain and other similar statues in nearby temples. The presentation was followed by active exchange of opinion among the participants, including indication of places where further study seems appropriate.


2nd Public Lecture of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage: “Kamigata yosebayashi – Works of Hayashiya Tomi”

A scene from the public lecture

 The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage held a public lecture on December 12, 2007 at the National Bunraku Theatre in Osaka. Hoping to choose a theme appropriate to Osaka, the place where the lecture would be held, it was decided to choose Hayashiya Tomi (1883-1970) who was designated in 1962 as a player of kamigata yosebayashi (music played in rakugo of the Kansai area), an intangible cultural property for which measures for documentation should be taken. Details of the program can be retrieved from the web site of the Institute (http://www.tobunken.go.jp/ich/public/lectures).
 If the public lectures given from the days of the former Department of Performing Arts are counted, this would have been the 38th one, but this is the first time that the lecture was held outside Tokyo. In the future we hope to hold such lectures throughout the country.


2nd Conference on the Study of Intangible Folk Cultural Properties

A scene from the Conference

 Last year the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage held a conference to discuss issues related to the protection and transmission of intangible folk cultural properties. The second session of this conference was held on December 7, 2007 in the Seminar Hall of the Institute. The theme for the 2nd Conference was “Merger of municipalities and the protection of intangible cultural properties.” Among the many types of cultural properties, folk cultural properties are most likely to be influenced greatly by merger since they are transmitted and protected within the given region. Presentations were made by municipalities that have recently experienced merger and municipalities that have succeeded in using the merger for the protection of their intangible folk cultural properties. These presentations centered on such matters as the systematization of preservation activities and collaboration with school education and were followed by overall discussions. The content of this conference is scheduled to be published in March 2008.


High school students visit the Institute

 Many people from Japan and overseas visit the Institute to see its facilities. In recent years, visits by junior and senior high school students are increasing. In December, approximately 20 students each from the Shinagawa Joshi Gakuin High School and Masuda High School in Shimane prefecture visited the Institute. At the former conservation science section of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques, Inuzuka explained the characteristics of stone and soil as well as the calculated temperature changes in the Takamatsuzuka Tumulus in order to determine the method for cooling its tumulus mound. Yoshida explained X-ray fluorescence analysis which is used for non-invasive analysis of colored materials and its application on research of paintings. Since the content of the explanation was applied scientific, it may have been a bit difficult for high school students. However, in today’s society where there is a trend away from science among the young, it is hoped that their experience at the Institute may have helped in making them see how such studies as physics, chemistry and biology are applied in the field of conservation.


Investigation of damages caused by fire and advice for restoration

Ebukuro Church, Shinkamigoto-machi, Nagasaki prefecture, before the fire
Ebukuro Church, Shinkamigoto-machi, Nagasaki prefecture, after the fire
Stained glass window damaged by fire

 On request from the Board of Education of Nagasaki prefecture, an on-site investigation was conducted of Ebukuro Church at Shinkamigoto-machi, which was damaged by fire in February 2007, and advice was given concerning its restoration. Ebukuro Church, a one-story, tile-roofed, wooden structure, was built in 1882 and is considered to be the oldest wooden church in Nagasaki prefecture. It stands on a steep mountain side overlooking the ocean. With its single-layer, modified hopped roof construction, it is also considered of value from the point of view of structure. However, the building was destroyed by fire, which was caused by a short circuit, in February, 2007. Rather than rebuilding the entire church, the local parishioners expressed their wish to save as much of the structural members that could be reused as possible. The Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques conducted on-site investigation and gave advice on restoration, which included impregnation of synthetic resin to members that could be reused because of comparatively less serious damage.


Completion of “Paper Cultural Properties,” a training course in the program for capacity building along the Silk Road project

Ms. Hou Jukun of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage of China looking at the results of works by the trainees
Photograph taken at the completion ceremony

 The “Paper Cultural Properties,” a training course in the program for capacity building that had been held at the China National Institute of Cultural Property in Beijing for three months has been completed. During the course a total of 12 experts from Japan served as lecturers for 196 hours. Particularly during the last 4 weeks 2 technical experts from The Association for Conservation of National Treasures conducted classes with Chinese experts and the trainees learned the techniques for restoring books and scrolls, although it was for a short period. On December 27, Ms. Hou Jukun of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage of China attended the course completion ceremony. A certificate of completion issued jointly by the National Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and China National Institute of Cultural Property was given to 12 trainees from 6 provinces along the Silk Road. This program will start the third year of its 5-year plan next spring. A course on ancient architecture is scheduled to be held in spring and a course on earthen heritage in autumn.

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Chinese experts visit Japan for training in the protection of stone cultural properties

Experiment with resin treatment

 The Conservation of Stone Statues at the Tomb of the Tang Dynasty Emperor in Shaanxi Province Project and the UNESCO Japanese Funds-in-Trust Conservation of the Longmen Grottoes Project, in which the National Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo participates, will both be in their final year in 2008. Since both have for their target cultural properties made of the same material, limestone, until now workshops, on-site investigations and trainings in Japan have been held actively for members of both projects jointly. From November 19 to December 16, 2 experts each were invited to Japan from the Xi’an Center for the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Relics and the Longmen Academy to receive training in such matters as the restoration of stone cultural properties, evaluation methods for the effects of application of water repellant material and environmental monitoring after restoration. The results of the training are expected to be put to use in the execution of restoration work that will be conducted in the last year of the projects.

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21st Conference on International Cooperation on Conservation

A scene from the conference

 21st Conference on International Cooperation on Conservation: “Monitoring after Conservation Work” was held on December 6, 2007 with an attendance of 93 persons. Three presentations were given: Nishiura Tadateru of Kokushikan University, “Importance of Monitoring for Conservation of Remains, and Its Problems”; Nahar Cahyandaru of Borobudur Heritage Conservation Office in Indonesia, “Monitoring of the Borobudur Post Restoration”; and Kim Sa-Dug of the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage, Korea, “Long-term Plan for the Conservation of Seokguram Grotto.” The presentations were followed by discussions. Various monitoring methods used ad respective sites were introduced and information was shared among the participants. We were made to realize that in order to introduce these methods to other sites it is necessary to make wider appeals about the importance of monitoring.


Conservation training program for Iraqi experts (3)

The training of x-ray radiography for archaeological artifacts (at the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties)

 The conservation training program, “Restoration of the Laboratories of the Iraq National Museum in Baghdad,” a UNESCO Japanese Funds-in-Trust project for Iraqi conservators from the Iraq National Museum, Baghdad, which was held for 3 months, was completed on December 12. The trainees visited Saitama Cultural Deposits Research Corporation on November 13 and 14 to see its conservation laboratory of archaeological artifacts, exhibition and storage rooms and to participate in the conservation work of pottery. From November 19 to December 3, they participated in a training program on the use of various apparatuses used in conservation, such as x-ray radiography, at the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties. On December 10, they delivered a presentation on the current conditions of the Iraq National Museum, Baghdad, and local museums in Iraq, and their activities in the conservation laboratories as well as on the trainings in Japan. It is hoped that the 4 trainees will employ what they have acquired in the training to contribute to the conservation of cultural heritages


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