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


September Facility Visit (1)

 Six students from Taito City’s Okachimachitaito Junior High School
 On September 18, the students visited us as part of their “comprehensive learning time” class. They toured the Audio-Visual Documentation Section of the Department of Intangible Culture Heritage on the basement floor, the Restoration Studio (lacquer, paper, metal), the Analytical Science section of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques, and the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation on the third floor. Those in charge of each facility provided explanations and answered questions.


September Facility Visit (2)

 Two students from Chuo-ku Ginza Junior High School
 On September 18, these students also visited us as part of their “comprehensive learning time” class. They toured the Conservation Science Section, the Restoration Studio (lacquer, paper, metal) of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques, and the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation on the third floor. Those in charge of each facility provided explanations and answered questions.


September Facility Visit (3)

 Five commissioners of the Policy Evaluation/Independent Administrative Institution Evaluation Committee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, and other organizations
 On September 29, this group visited us as part of their inspection of organizations equipped with facilities related to cultural assets. After inspecting the Tokyo National Museum, they toured the Restoration Materials, Conservation and Biological Science Sections of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques on the third floor, as well as the Kuroda Memorial Hall, to learn about the surveys and studies conducted by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. Those in charge of each facility provided explanations and answered questions.


Conclusion of the Agreement on Cooperation for Protecting National Heritage with the Culture and Fine Arts Bureau of Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Mongolia

Director Erdenebat (left) and Director ISHIZAKI shaking hands with smiles after signing the agreement.

 On September 9, 2008, an agreement for cooperation in protecting the national heritage was signed by between the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, and the Culture and Fine Arts Bureau of Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Mongolia. The agreement covers such activities as the implementation of joint business, research and development cooperation, fostering human resources and implementation of workshops, focusing on protecting the national heritage. While respecting the positions of both organizations, the agreement emphasizes cooperation in protection of both tangible and intangible cultural heritage.
 Mr. SUZUKI Norio, the Director of our Institute, visited the Culture and Fine Arts Bureau of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in Ulan Bator, and signed the agreement together with Mr. Erdenebat, Director of the Culture and Fine Arts Bureau, Mongolia. Mr. SHIMIZU, the Director of Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation, Mr. MIYATA, the Director of Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, and several other members of our Institute also took place in the signature occasion.
 Following the signing of the agreement, both parties also signed a memorandum on fostering human resources in protection of cultural heritage, according to the clauses of the agreement.
 With these agreements, cooperation between our two nations in protection of our tangible and intangible cultural heritage is highly expected.


Field study on KURODA Seiki in France and Belgium

On Kuroda Seiki street, Grez-sur-Loing

 The Department of Research Programming is continuing the study and translation of letters in French addressed to KURODA Seiki (around 250 letters) stored in this Institute, as a part of the research project “Documentary Material Research on East Asian Art”. We are planning to issue a report “Collection of letters in French to Kuroda Seiki” (tentative title) in the next year, by adding a diary in French written by Kuroda (in 1888) stored in the Tokyo National Museum to the letters. As a field study, we visited places where KURODA stayed such as Paris, Grez-sur-Loing village, Barbizon village in France, and Brussels and Blankenberge in Belgium. The visit was conducted from September 10 to 15, and we identified the spots and executed investigation. The results will be announced in the above report.


Recording of kokyoku of Showa 30’s (1955-1965)

Ittyubushi “Futagosumidagawa” by UJI Bunga (1881-1975) and nisei UJI Shiyu (rokusei UJI Wabun: 1907-1986)

 The recorded tapes collected by the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage are currently being digitized one after another. Digital conversion is not only a simple transfer of media to compact disc. Indices that match the recording contents must be attached after checking the recording (including collation with the authentication note for tape), otherwise, it will be inconvenient for future data utilization.
 The TAKEUCHI Michitaka old audio data (referred to as “Takeuchi collection” hereafter), which acceptance procedure was completed in 2005, included many reel-to-reel tapes of kokyoku (katobushi, ittyubushi, miyazonobushi, ogiebushi). The performances are from the Showa 30’s, and most of them do not seem to have been recorded to be sold in market.
 The photo shows a CD created from a tape of ittyubushi “Futagosumidagawa” performed by UJI Bunga (1881-1975) and nisei UJI Shiyu (rokusei UJI Wabun: 1907-1986). It is a long kokyoku with a long performance time of approximately an hour. We hope to create an environment in which all citizens have a chance to listen to antique recordings that people rarely had an opportunity to listen to.
 We will open the SP records of the “Takeuchi collection” to the public in the form of catalogs when organization of data has been completed (“Geino no Kagaku 32”, “Research and Reports on Intangible Cultural Heritage Vol. 02”).”


Report on participation in the London Congress of International Institutes for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC)

A scene from “Climate change and museum collections”

 The IIC congress was held in 15-19 September at Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London. The main theme of the Congress was “Conservation and Access”. Various ideas, surveys and practical examples were given on transportation and handling of cultural assets, disclosure and management of easily damaged materials, and information was exchanged. A symposium entitled “Climate Change and Museum Collections” took place during the congress. Changes in environment due to global warming and consequent effects on cultural assets were discussed. In addition, representatives of the organizations in each country referred to as IIC Regional Groups held a meeting. Ms. SONODA of the National Museum of Ethnology and Mr. ISHIZAKI of our Institute from Japan attended. Strengthening of collaboration between the organizations in each country was discussed.


Participation in International Symposium on Conservation Science for Cultural Heritage in Seoul

Keynote lecture by ISHIZUKA Takeshi, the Director of Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques

 Three members of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques -ISHIZUKA Takeshi, HAYAKAWA Yasuhiro and MORII Masayuki – participated in the “2008 International Symposium on Conservation Science for Cultural Heritage” that was held at the Seoul Educational Cultural Hall from September 29, 2008 to October 1.
 The National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage, Korea, which hosted this symposium, has received a large research and development budget allocation in the conservation science area from the government of South Korea since 2006. The symposium was held partly to announce this achievement. Presenters for this symposium included 24 people from 7 other countries and 29 people from Korea, and active discussions took place in many fields.


International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper 2008

Practical session (orefuse / crease reinforcement)
Practical session (urauchi / lining)
Opening ceremony

 Ten persons were selected from a total of 80 applicants who are engaged in the conservation and utilization of cultural properties throughout the world to participate in the International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper from September 8 to 26, 2008 that was held jointly with ICCROM(International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Properties).
 The course consisted of lectures, practical sessions and a study tour. Topics covered in the lectures included material studies on paper and traditional Japanese adhesives, principles regard-paring the conservation of cultural properties, Japanese-style painting techniques, mounting techniques and mounting formats. In the practical sessions the participants cleaned paper made for practice, infilled holes that had been made to look as if they had been damaged by insects, and mounted the work they had restored into a hanging scroll. They also challenged Japanesestyle book binding. In the study tour, the participants first visited Mino city in Gifu prefecture and learned about minogami (Mino paper), from the traditional method for manufacturing it to the history of its distribution, at Hasegawa Washi Kobo, Mino-Washi Museum and Mino Historical Museum. They also visited the conservation studios of the Association for Conservation of National Treasures both at the Kyoto National Museum and their independent studios.


On-site investigation to support the restoration of cultural properties damaged by the Great Sichuan Earthquake

Most of a 28-meter tower had collapsed (Wenxingta, An-xian)

 An earthquake of magnitude 8 occurred in the Sichuan province of China, with the seismic center in Wenchuan-xian, on May 12, 2008. It was a catastrophic disaster that resulted in serious damages including deaths and fatalities due to the collapse of buildings and landslides. Sichuan province has a long history and many of its cultural properties were also seriously damaged. Following the dispatch of a team immediately after the earthquake in order to save lives, the Japanese government submitted a “support package” to the Chinese government listing the types of support that each ministry would be to provide. Response was received at the end of June, and it was decided to exchange Japanese and Chinese experts in order to support the restoration of cultural properties, a project proposed by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, conducted research from September 25 to 30. Focus was placed on collecting information in preparation for developing a specific plan for restoration activities that Japan would provide. For this purpose the current condition of damage was investigated and opinions were exchanged with local persons in charge of the protection of cultural properties. Although 4 months had passed since the earthquake occurred, traces of damage were still visible in the disaster-stricken area. For example, at some temple offices people were working in tents used during evacuation even though winter was approaching.
 The following were decided during this visit and through discussions with experts.
1) Approximately 10 experts from Japan would visit Sichuan province and hold a seminar on the theme of protecting cultural properties from earthquakes, working with Chinese experts.
2) Mainly buildings and objects stored in muse-ums would be restored.
3) The time immediately after the 2009 lunar New Year (January 26) would be appropriate.
 The Agency for Cultural Affairs has received the report of this investigation and is currently examining specific details.

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Conclusion of the Agreement between the Department of Culture and Art, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Mongolia and the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, Japan on Cooperation on the Conservation of Cultural Heritage of Mongolia

Investigation at Rashaan Khad site
Workshop for protection of cultural heritage in Japan and Mongolia

 From September 3 to 13, 2008, we visited Mongolia to conclude the agreement on cooperation for the conservation of cultural heritage of Mongolia with the Department of Culture and Art, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, hold a workshop as part of an exchange program commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, and survey the partner country.
 From September 5 to 8, we visited sites in Khentii Aimag (province), in the conservation of which Japan was asked to cooperate. At Rashaan Khad site, pictures of animals and characters of various languages are found on rocks dating from the Paleolithic era to the time of the Mongol Empire. Serven Khaalga site is a memorial of the war in which Genghis Khan participated. The present condition of these sites, valuable sites that may be called national treasures of Mongolia, were documented by photographs and GPS and the state of their deterioration was investigated.
 On September 9, the Agreement between the Department of Culture and Art, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Mongolia and the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, Japan on Cooperation on the Conservation of Cultural Heritage of Mongolia was signed. The agreement covers activities such as the implementation of joint projects, cooperation in research and development, capacity development and holding of workshops, all with focus on the protection of cultural heritage. It emphasizes cooperation in the protection of both tangible and intangible cultural heritages while respecting the positions of both organizations.
 On September 10 and 11, a workshop entitled “Protection of Tangible/Intangible Cultural Heritage in Mongolia and Japan” was held. This was the first of the joint projects between the two organizations and was supported by the Japanese embassy in Mongolia. The topic of the workshop was decided by the government of Mongolia in December 2007 for the purpose of improving laws related to the conservation of cultural heritage, protecting historical and cultural monuments, and promoting economic contribution by developing tourism. Fourteen people from Japan and twenty from Mongolia participated in the workshop. Four presentations each were given by Japan and Mongolia, followed by a question and answer session.


Hosting the 22nd international workshop on conservation and restoration of cultural properties

Presentation at the 22nd international workshop on conservation and restoration of cultural properties

 The 22nd international workshop on conservation and restoration of cultural properties entitled “Conservation of Sites and Water” was held on September 19, 2008, with 75 participants. 3 presentations were made: “The Hydrology, Hydraulics, and Geotechnics of Moenjodaro” by Mr. Richard Hughes of the International Heritage Conservation and Management Ltd., UK; “Present Condition and Problems of Conservation at the Sendai City Tomizawa Site Museum” by Mr. Sato Hiroshi of the Sendai City Tomizawa Site Museum; and “The Underwater Park of Baiae – Preservation and Public Access” by Dr. Nicola Severino of Naples and Pompei Special Archeology Station, Italy. These presentations were followed by comprehensive discussions. Ways to avoid water are often discussed in conserving sites, and exam-ples of sites at which conservation is conducted on the premise that there is water may be useful as reference when considering the conservation of sites in different circumstances.


Hosting the 4th Debriefing Session of Japan-Thai Joint Research Results

The 4th Debriefing Session of Japan-Thai Joint Research Results

 Based on the letters exchanged between the Thai Culture Ministry Fine Arts Department and the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo in October 2006, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation is performing joint research with the Fine Arts Department on the deterioration and conservation of ruins in Thailand. We hosted the debriefing session of the research results in Bangkok.
 The session took place at the Thai National Gallery on September 4 and 5. Research presentations were given at the session – six from Japan and four from Thailand- and lively discussion took place among the approximately 30 local researchers who participated.
 While staying in Thailand, we visited the Fine Arts Department, and had a meeting concerning the Asian Cultural Heritage International Conference to be held on January 14-16, 2009.


16th ICOMOS General Assembly/International Symposium (Québec, Canada)

Visiting restored urban areas of old Québec
ICOMOS General Assembly

 I participated in the 16th ICOMOS General Assembly held in Québec (Canada) from September 27 to October 4, as a part of research activities on international trends in cultural heritage conservation.
 Experts of various fields related to conservation of tangible cultural heritage assembled from around the world. Approximately 20 people from Japan attended making the 2nd largest delegation from the Asia-Pacific region. The theme “Finding the Spirit of the Place” was discussed throughout the whole session, at the General Assembly, during the International Forum for Young Researchers and Professionals, the meetings of the International Scientific Committees (ISCs), the International Scientific Symposium, as well as site visits. The Forum for Young Researchers and Professionals (Sept. 27-28) was a new attempt where young researchers contributed to active discussions. As many as 23 specialized meetings were set for the ISC meetings (Sept. 29) among which I attended five meetings where Japan was little or not represented so far, and calling for greater participation. On September 30, the opening of the General Assembly took place. The International Symposium (Oct. 1-2) had four simultaneous sessions set around the theme ‘Spirit of the Place’; various examples of conservation practices from all over the world were introduced along with poster sessions. On September 3, the participants divided into seven groups to visit the heritage of Québec, its old city and surrounding sites. As a result of the General Assembly and the elections, one member from Japan was elected for the Executive Committee and one member was admitted to honorary membership.  Throughout these eight days we had valuable opportunities to actively exchange opinions and develop networks further ahead.


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