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


Joint program – Craftsmanship underlying the traditional sounds

Demonstration by instrument makers
Panel talk (From left) Megumi Maehara (Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties), Kaoru Hashimoto (Tokyo University of the Arts)
Conclusion of the public lecture (From left) Kazuko Tanigaito (Japan Council of Performers Rights& Performing Arts Organization), Megumi Maehara, Tamiko Tamura (DO-GU LABO for Japanese Traditional Performing Arts), Hidekazu Hashimoto (Marusan Hashimoto Co.), Tomo Ishimura (Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties)
Playing nagautaTamagawa (Tama River)” (From left) Sachi Oshima, Chie Mitsui, Yuji Suzuki, Akito Tsuzuki

 On August 3rd (Fri.), 2018, the 12th public lecture of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and the 24th exhibition and demonstration seminar of Tokyo samisen and koto” were held jointly by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and Tokyo Japanese Musical Instruments Association (Tohokyo) under the theme of the “craftsmanship underlying the traditional sounds.”
 In the morning, instrument makers (koto and samisen) from Tohokyo gave demonstration and explanation along with time for Q&A session and hands-on experience. Participants had a valuable opportunity to talk directly with makers and learn how to play the instruments. At the lunch time, a staff member who had been engaged in instrument manufacturing and inspection for repairs in the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage gave a panel talk by introducing specific examples. At the public lecture in the afternoon, three lecturers raised the issues concerning the craftsmanship underlying Japanese traditional sounds and reported their activities from different positions. With a commentator joining in the seminar, all those issues and problems were organized, and opinions were exchanged on clues for solution. Lastly, young promising players closed the seminar with their nagauta (ballads sung to samisen accompaniment). The seminar participants shared the issues at various levels surrounding the traditional craftsmanship with producers, researchers, and players being linked together.
 The seminar was attended by 148 participants from various communities, such as manufacturers of music instruments and their accessories, live performers from different genres, researchers, educators, and devotees of traditional performance arts. It was found that there is a great interest in the craftsmanship underlying traditional performance arts. A report will be published at the end of this year, and going forward, we will conduct multi-faceted research on this theme and continue with our studies benefitting the preservation and inheritance of craftsmanship, by utilizing the newly established network at this opportunity.


“Workshop on Conservation Science for Conservators of Japanese Painting and Calligraphic Works”

The lecture about solvents using molecular models
Practical work of removing stains on a painting

 To conserve Japanese paintings, calligraphic works and other pictorial artifacts, we are now increasingly required to have some knowledge of conservation science. To meet these demands of conservators Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and the Association for Conservation of National Treasures (ACNT) jointly conducted a workshop with a training program for conservators from July 31st to August 1st, 2018, which included lectures on basic knowledge and practical work sessions. The workshop aimed to provide hands-on knowledge that can be applied to actual conservation works. To achieve this purpose, we designed a curriculum that would help participants accurately understand the chemical properties of organic solvents and enzymes as well as the proper handling of basic laboratory instruments and chemicals for more effective and safer restorations. The workshop has been held once a year since 2016.
 A total of 11 people, one from each corporate member of ACNT, participated in the workshop. Dr. Sano, Director of the Center for Conservation Science; Dr. Sato, Head of the Biological Science Section; and I provided lectures on the safe handling of organic solvents; integrated pest management (IPM) for cultural properties at restoration studios; and removal methods of adhesives and stains, respectively. Based on these lectures particularly using models of the molecular construction of solvents, the participants practiced removing various types of stains on the sheets of paper that we prepared, by using suitable solvents and enzymes. The practical work session also covered other topics such as the use of cyclododecane as a temporary protective coating for water-sensitive colorants. Mr. Kimishima, ACNT’s Senior Conservator, taught in the work session and provided hands-on training to the participants.
 The program ended with a lively Q&A session and discussion. We will continue to hold such workshop in the future.


“International Symposium on the Conservation of Modernization Heritage and Its Promotional Planning” in Taiwan

The symposium in session
On-site survey: Steam hammer Taipei Factory No. 141 still remains at the smithery in the vehicle factory of Taipei railway workshop (manufactured by Toyo Iron Works and purchased in 1934).

 The Modern Cultural Heritage Section has been interacting with Taiwanese officials and researchers working on cultural properties since FY 2017 so as to share mutual experiences and issues on conservation and utilization of modern cultural heritage for their smooth resolution through research.
 As part of this activity, we participated in the “International Symposium on the Conservation of Modernization Heritage and Its Promotional Planning” held under the auspices of the Bureau of Cultural Heritage, the Ministry of Culture and Chung Yuan Christian University in Taiwan on August 17th, 2018. At the symposium, Japanese experts representing the industrial heritage, railway and machinery areas delivered lectures. Mr. Kitagawa, the Head of the Modern Cultural Heritage Section at Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, lectured on the administration of cultural properties related to modernization heritage. The symposium attracted a large Taiwanese audience, including administrative officials, owners of cultural properties, university researchers, and citizen groups, resulting in engaging discussions ranging from the principles of conservation and utilization of modernization heritage to their approaches.
 In conjunction with the symposium, we discussed with Taiwanese researchers how hydraulic structures, factories, and railway facilities constructed during the period of Japanese rule have been conserved and utilized, along with various approaches and issues. Among them was a very interesting case in which a motorcycle manufacturer who had developed an electric-assist railbike made use of the dead track of a now-defunct railway. The railway is now protected as a cultural property for the operation of the facility.
 We also visited Director-general Gwo-Long Shy and other officials at the Bureau of Cultural Heritage, the Ministry of Culture in Taichung. There, we exchanged ideas on Japanese and Taiwanese histories, and on concepts concerning systems for the protection of cultural properties associated with modernization heritage, as well as their conservation and utilization.


“Workshops on Conservation of Japanese Textile” in Taipei

Basic workshop: lecture on Japanese textiles
Advanced workshop: practical work to understand the characteristics of dyes

 Two workshops on the conservation of Japanese textiles were jointly organized by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) and National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) for the purpose of preservation and utilization of Japanese textiles overseas. A basic workshop “Cultural Properties of Textile in Japan” was held from August 8th to 10th and an advanced workshop “Conservation of Japanese Textile” was held from August 13th to 17th, 2018. Both were conducted at the Research Center for Conservation of Cultural Relics in NTNU by researchers specialized in textiles and conservators from Japan and Taiwan. The participants were conservators, researchers and students; the basic course had nine participants from six countries and the advanced one had six participants from five countries.
 The basic workshop started with lectures on the systems of protection of tangible and intangible cultural properties, and moved its focus to fibers and threads as textile materials and some of the representative textiles in Japan. Following the lectures, the participants also experienced folding and displaying Japanese garments (kimono). The practical work on making a paper model of kimono helped the participants to understand the general way in which kimono is constructed from a bolt of fabric. The first half of the advanced workshop focused on the identification of dyes, surface cleaning and wet cleaning. The latter half introduced a Japanese approach to textile conservation and treatment, and the participants experienced stitching a support silk fabric to the back side of an old textile fragment and making an enclosure for it. In both workshops, there were lectures on case studies, and various methods of the display and conservation of Japanese textiles were shared. It served as an opportunity to comprehend conservation materials and application methods as well as textile materials and techniques.
 Similar projects will continue to be implemented with the aim of contributing to not only the conservation and utilization of Japanese tangible textile objects abroad, but also the preservation of related intangible cultural properties.

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