Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties Center for Conservation Science
Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation
Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage


The Canoe Summit was held at the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts, Guam 2016

Introducing the crews at the Canoe Summit
Demonstration of canoe navigation

 The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo (NRICPT) held the first Canoe Summit at the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts in Guam on 26th of May, 2016. The summit was part of the “Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project; Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in the Island Countries of Oceania” scheme, which has been commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan.
 The Festival of Pacific Arts is held once every four years, and was attended this year by 27 Pacific countries and regions. The festival gathers artists, specialists on Pacific cultures, and community leaders. During the two weeks of the festival, a wide range of issues relating to Pacific culture were discussed and traditional dances and crafts were performed.
 During the festival, NRICPT held the “Canoe Summit” in partnership with the Anthropological Institute of Nanzan University, the Traditional Arts Committee, Guam, and the Tatasi (Seafaring) subcommittee, Guam, with the support of UNESCO and the Organizing Committee of the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts, Guam. About 100 people attended the summit, and specialists and crews who are involved in activities aiming to preserve the cultures of Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia introduced their traditional navigation systems and discussed their cultural revival activities.
 The canoe is a symbol of Pacific culture and has important value as an aspect of intangible cultural heritage. It has recently been reevaluated as an important form of sustainable transport. However, a more pressing issue is how regional traditional cultures can be protected from the threat of globalization and natural disasters caused by global warming. Some attendees of the Summit felt that sharing information about the revival of canoe culture throughout the entire Pacific region was a very important contribution to ensure that the richness of Pacific culture will be passed on to the next generation.


Publications related to post-earthquake reconstruction of intangible cultural heritage and disaster prevention

 The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage published the Report on the Study Project on the Preservation and Utilization of Intangible Folk Cultural Properties: Issues Regarding Reconstruction of Intangible Cultural Heritage from Disasters at the end of the last fiscal year. The publication is not only a report on the project but also a summary of what was discussed at the 3/11 Reconstruction Assistance: Intangible Cultural Heritage Information Network Conference. The Conference has been held every March since 2013 to discuss the reconstruction of intangible cultural heritage affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake with participants from various fields. Many of the issues, which reflect conditions that vary from year to year, are ongoing and the content of the publication may contribute to preventing cultural properties from being affected by a future natural disaster.
 The department also published a booklet titled Cultural Heritage in the Region and Disaster Prevention, which summarizes the outline of the Project for Collecting, Organizing and Sharing Information about Regionally-designated Cultural Properties and of the Research and Study Project on a Dynamic Record for Preserving Cultural Properties. Especially for the project for collecting information on regionally-designated cultural properties, it is important as the first step to identify the location information of the properties by working with local governments. The publication spells out such significance and puts together how to move the project forward.
 Issues Regarding Reconstruction of Intangible Cultural Heritage from Disasters is available in PDF format on the department’s website.


Study Meeting on Production of Recorded Videos for Intangible Cultural Properties

Having a discussion while watching the recorded video

 On February 22nd, 2016, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage held a study meeting titled “Production of Recorded Videos for Intangible Cultural Properties,” where Takeshi ABE (Tohoku Institute of Filmed Cultural Properties) was invited as a guest speaker. He has been engaged in production of recorded videos for intangible cultural properties of Iwate Prefecture in Tohoku District. The meeting was held as one of the efforts of the “preparation of dynamic records for cultural properties protection” project that was governed by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo as a part of the promotion program of the National Taskforce for the Japanese Cultural Heritage Disaster Risk Mitigation Network under the National Institutes for Cultural Heritage.
 In this meeting, the current state of folk performing art in the disaster-affected areas was reported based on the activities of Mr. Abe in Iwate Prefecture after the Great East Japan Earthquake and a discussion was held on how to utilize the recorded video for disaster prevention and mitigation.
 Today, due to the development of digital equipment, ordinary people who are not professional photographer can easily take moving pictures and a possibility to accept those pictures as a part of the records in a flexible manner was also discussed.
 The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage held the Sub-conference on Video Recording of Intangible Fork Cultural Properties over the years from 2003 to 2007. Based on what was discussed there, the Conference on the Study of Intangible Fork Culture Properties was heled and relevant reports such as “Guidance on the production of recorded videos for intangible fork cultural properties” have been published. Based on the discussions held so far, it is considered necessary to address new challenges that have arisen and also to include intangible traditional techniques in local areas into our continuing discussion in the future meetings on production of recorded videos.


The 10th Conference on the Study of Intangible Folk Cultural Properties

Scene from the general discussion

 The 10th Conference on the Study of Intangible Folk Cultural Properties was held on December 4th, where reports were presented and discussions were held on the topic titled “Outward-facing intangible cultural heritage―Transmission of attractiveness and external power” by four presenters and two commentators.
 There have been a number of cases reported where, in the process of restoration after the Great East Japan Earthquake, the attempt taken by the severely afflicted areas to bring in “external power” has resulted in contributing to inheritance of culture. Through the attempt, I-turn & U-turn migrants, tourists, and other new groups of people who had never been involved in cultural inheritance activities in a community came to take part in those activities (expansion of successors) and came to transmit patrimonies to new audience and supporters (expansion of receivers). In this regard, when having intangible folk cultural properties “face outward” in a variety of forms, what kind of structures and methods will be needed? And, what kind of challenges and visions will there be? Discussion was exchanged this time on “external power” and inheritance of culture not by limiting the target to disaster-stricken areas, but by covering various regions across Japan that are declining because of depopulation, aging, and urbanization.
 From the reports on four regions, namely Aomori, Yamagata, Hiroshima, and Okinawa and through the subsequent discussion, a wide variety of topics were posed including not only specific ones such as how to create methods and structures for transmitting attractiveness, but also how to address “tradition” and change, and what meaning it has for a region to make efforts to hand the culture on to the next generation. It was especially impressive to know that all these four regions had never relied on external power from the start in their efforts to hand down culture, but rather the successors and community people surrounding them had continued to choose their own path through numbers of discussions on the ideal way of cultural inheritance and through trials and errors. The Conference this time gathered more participants than in past years, including many who were actually engaged in cultural inheritance activities in an organization working on conservation of intangible cultural heritage. It not only indicated a rising interest in the issue of having intangible cultural heritage “face outward” but also renewed our recognition of how serious the patrimony issue is for the parties concerned.
 The report of the Conference was published in March 2016 and was posted on the website of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage.


The 10th Public Lecture Held by the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Stage performance at Public Lecture

 On December 18th, the Department held the Public Lecture under the title of “Melody and Accent of Japanese Music―from the Medieval Period through the Early Modern Period―” (at Heiseikan Auditorium). With the focus on Noh (Noh chant; a medieval performing art) and Nagauta (long epic song; an early-modern performing art), the lecture was delivered jointly with Professor Kiyoe Sakamoto of Japan Women’s University, a Japanese language scholar, on the correspondence relation as to how Japanese language accent had its influence over the melody of songs. Then, the participants all enjoyed a stage performance of Noh chant “Matsukaze (wind blowing through the pine trees)” in which the melody of the Momoyama period was restored and a stage performance of Nagauta “Tsuru Kame (crane and turtle)”. It was clearly understood that influential relation varied by category, changed over different time periods, etc. A total of 285 participants were present. Many feedbacks were obtained, which especially mentioned that the content consisting of a lecture combined with stage performances by a Noh player and a Nagauta player was very interesting.


Seminar on the “Intangible Cultural Heritage and Disaster Prevention―Importance of Recording for Conservation of Traditional Techniques

Demonstration of winnowing-basket making process

 A seminar was held on December 22nd,2015 under the title of “Intangible Cultural Heritage and Disaster Prevention―Importance of Recording for Conservation of Traditional Techniques.” This seminar was organized under the “preparation of dynamic records for cultural properties protection” project that was governed by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo as a part of the promotion program of the National Taskforce for the Japanese Cultural Heritage Disaster Risk Mitigation Network. As intangible cultural heritage specifically includes “immaterial” culture, use of recording is considered an important element for the purpose of disaster prevention/disaster reduction.
 This time, with a focus on the traditional techniques especially in the radiation-affected area in Fukushima Prefecture among the disaster-affected regions of Great East Japan Earthquake, two cases were introduced using the pre-disaster and post-disaster records to show what efforts have been underway towards disaster prevention and reconstruction.
 The cases introduced were “Obori-Soma Ware” of Namie Town, Fukushima Prefecture, and “Odaka Winnowing-Basket Making” of Minami-Soma City. The case of “Obori-Soma Ware” showed the reconstruction efforts that were in progress after the workshops had moved out of Namie Town after the disaster. Further, in the case of “Odaka Winnowing-Basket Making,” the current efforts to restore the technique by referring to the videos that had been recorded before the disaster were introduced. Further to explain acquisition of skill obtained in the recorded video, a part of the actual making process was demonstrated while discussion was held about importance of recording in intangible cultural heritage.
 As we need to think of a wide variety of cases for disaster prevention of the intangible cultural heritage, there is no single best answer to it. Based on continuous discussion, we will keep making efforts to contribute to disaster prevention/disaster reduction of the cultural heritage.


Seminar II on Passing Down Intangible Cultural Heritage (Traditional Techniques):“Passing Down Dyeing and Weaving Techniques and Regional Involvement”

At the Kumagaya Traditional Industry Passing Down Room (Kumapia)

 On November 11 and 12, 2015, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage held Seminar II on Passing Down Intangible Cultural Heritage (Traditional Techniques) “Passing Down Dyeing and Weaving Techniques and Regional Involvement” jointly with Kumagaya City. In connection with the previous seminar “The People and Tools that Sustain Textile Techniques” (held on February 3, 2015), we invited experts concerned from Kumagaya City in Saitama Prefecture and Kyoto City of Kyoto Prefecture, both of which give proactive support to the conservation and utilization of “tools” essential to dyeing and weaving techniques, for this seminar. We exchanged opinions on how administration could be involved in the conservation and utilization of “tools” as elements indispensable for dyeing and weaving techniques.
 On the first day, after the report on “Protection and Utilization of Tools” from a perspective of cultural heritage by Mr. Shunsuke Nakayama, Head of the Modern Cultural Properties Section of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques of this Institute, Mr. Norihiro Oi of Kumagaya City Library gave a speech on “Protection of Kumagaya Dyeing Related Tools and Administrative Involvement,” and Ms. Naoko Kotani of the Traditional Industries Section, City of Kyoto talked about “Projects Supporting Dyeing and Weaving Techniques in Kyoto City.” At the comprehensive discussion following these presentations, opinions were exchanged vigorously over what administration could do, the importance of collaboration among people in different positions, and so forth. The audience also mentioned that it would be necessary to consider the collaboration with other “regions” with a focus on the “region” in which the technique to be passed down was rooted.
 On the second day, after the lecture of “Small History of Modernization of Dyeing and Weaving in Saitama Prefecture – With a focus on Kumagaya Dyeing –“ by Ms. Kayoko Mizukami of Toyama Memorial Museum, we toured the Kumagaya Traditional Industry Passing Down Room (inside the Kumagaya city sport cultural village “Kumapia”). The long board rotary, water washer, and steaming box have been relocated with aid from the Pola Foundation for the Promotion of Traditional Japanese Culture.
 This seminar, where discussions were developed based on concrete cases on dyeing and weaving techniques and the tools supporting them, provided a good opportunity for us to recognize the importance of conserving tools anew for smooth and secure passing down of traditional dyeing and weaving techniques.
 The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage will continually provide opportunities to discuss various issues surrounding traditional techniques.


Organization of Seminar on Techniques and Materials of Dyed and Woven Cultural Properties: “Workshop on Yuzen Dyeing – Materials, Tools and Techniques –“

Lecture on Dyeing

 The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage organized a workshop on Yuzen dyeing jointly with Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum on October 16 and 17, 2015. For this workshop, we invited Lecturer Takashi Seto from J. F. Oberlin University to focus on “Yuzen Dyeing” as a technique representing modern Japan. Comparison was made between the materials inherited from the early modern times (Japanese paper soaked in blue dayflower pigment, Yuzen glue, natural dyes, etc.) and synthetic materials in recent times (synthetic dayflower pigment, mucilage, and synthetic dyes), as well as their respective tools.
 On the first day, the current situation surrounding the production of materials and tools used for Yuzen-dyeing was explained together with images. Then, a series of processes were demonstrated: Drawing a design while making a comparison between natural dayflower pigment and synthetic dayflower pigment, masking with reddish glue made from starch glue, sappanwood and slaked lime, and undercoating with glue and ground soybean juice. On the second day, after learning the differences between natural and synthetic dyes, the remaining processes of coloring with synthetic dyes, steaming, and washing with water were performed. While steaming the fabrics to fix the dyes, the participants experienced masking with mucilage to learn the differences in the masking process from starch glue. At the end of the workshop, the participants discussed the “tradition” that they thought should be handed down.
 At this workshop, we could understand the relations among changing materials, tools and techniques through actual working processes, while sharing issues on techniques to be protected for handing them down to the coming generations through discussions with the participants.
 The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage will continue to plan a variety of seminars to focus on diverse techniques.


Video Record Producing Project for Folk Technique – Kizumi’s Technique for Making Wisteria Winnowing Baskets as a Model Case

Recording technique for making wisteria winnowing baskets

 Video recording is very effective for smoothly disseminating folk techniques to the coming generations. Particularly after the Great East Japan Earthquake, the importance of such records as tools for restoring and reproducing lost techniques has been recognized anew, attracting attention as a measure for ameliorating the effects of disasters as well.
 However, the existing videos produced for research and popularization took about one hour each to record, and only a few focused on the acquisition of skills or nurturing of new craftsmen. Therefore, clarifying what to record and how to record it will help learners acquire skills that have not been sufficiently verified in terms of the approach as well. This is an urgent issue because in the front line those with the knowledge and skills are aging, and proper recordkeeping is becoming an increasingly important task in ensuring that these techniques are passed on to future generations.
 Accordingly, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage started a project to produce records of images for folk techniques by focusing on Kizumi’s technique for making wisteria winnowing baskets in Sosa City, Chiba Prefecture (intangible folk cultural properties designated by the national government) as a model case in September 2015 as part of the disaster prevention program. We will proceed with the production through consultation with both predecessors and successors regarding at which angles we should shoot the film and which information we should pick up to support the successors in the series of technical processes from the collection and processing of raw materials to making wisteria winnowing baskets. The project is expected to last for two years, and we will also consider how the recorded videos will be released for utilization.


Publication of “Research Report on Passing Down Intangible Cultural Heritage (Traditional Techniques)”

“Research Report on Passing Down Intangible Cultural Heritage (Traditional Techniques)”

 The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage started a research project on passing down intangible cultural heritage (traditional techniques) in FY 2014. In this project, we conducted joint research of dyeing ateliers under an agreement concluded with the Kumagaya Municipal Government in Saitama Prefecture, which had been conducting a pioneering program on tools related to dyeing techniques. This report summarizes the outcomes of our joint research.
 This report also introduces challenges and suggestions in passing down dyeing and weaving techniques from the perspective of each craftsman who cooperated in our field study. As complementary data, this report includes interviews in the joint research, floor and elevation plans of the ateliers, and videos shot during the research. In addition to these, a round-table talk on the “Current Situations of People and Tools Supporting Dyeing and Weaving Techniques” during the workshop on passing down intangible cultural heritage (traditional techniques) held on February 3, 2015.
 The video material attached to this report as the first attempt of the Institute is also a repository of “skills and techniques” as intangible cultural assets. The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage will continually promote comprehensive recordkeeping including image and other data, in addition to literal and photographic recordkeeping. The “Research Report on Passing Down Intangible Cultural Heritage (Traditional Techniques)” will be released later on our department’s page of the Institute’s website.


Investigation on inau brought by the Kitamaebune trade

Inau honogaku (votive tablet) brought to the Monzenmachi district of Wajima
Three inau existing in the town of Fukaura, Aomori Prefecture

 This fiscal year, we started an investigation on inau (equipment used for Ainu religious rituals) existing in Honshu and below. A large number of materials related to Ainu from the early-modern times to the Meiji era, which are believed to have been brought through the Northern Trade, were introduced to port towns on the Sea of Japan side, which once flourished as anchorage sites for kitamaebune trading boats. Among the materials, we found that inau dedicated to shrines or temples still exist in Ishikawa, Aomori and other prefectures, and we are currently investigating them together with Mr. Mikio Toma of the Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of History and Mr. Jirota Kitahara of the Center for Ainu & Indigenous Studies at Hokkaido University.
 In the investigation conducted so far, we have found four inau honogaku (votive tablets) with inscriptions showing years from 1887 to 1890 in the Monzenmachi district of Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, while one inau honogaku with an inscription of the first year of the Meiji era (1868) was found in Hakusan, the same prefecture. These tablets carry ink-written letters meaning such things as “dedication” or “maritime safety,” suggesting that they were dedicated by the owners of kitamaebune boats to a prayer for, or in appreciation of, a safe navigation. Meanwhile, in the town of Fukaura, Aomori Prefecture, which provided an important port for kitamaebune boats to wait for a good wind to sail, there are 27 inau, the years of which are unknown, implying that they were dedicated in relation to the belief in the sea.
 While these inau are not well known so far, they can be regarded as very valuable historical materials that are the oldest next to one believed to have been collected by Juzo Kondo in 1798, and those possessed by the Tokyo National Museum (1875) and by the Botanic Garden, Hokkaido University (1878). In addition, these historical materials suggest that the owners of kitamaebune boats carefully brought inau used for Ainu religious rituals back to Honshu and have been protecting them up to the present day by dedicating them to temples or shrines in their respective communities. In addition, it can be said that they are very suggestive materials reflecting the realities of exchanges between wajin and Ainu people through the Northern Trade. As there are possibly undiscovered inau in areas along the coast of the Sea of Japan, we will continue the investigation in cooperation with relevant institutions.


Survey on activities for the conservation of intangible folk cultural assets in the northern area of Hiroshima Prefecture – Research exchange with South Korea’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Center

Mibu no Hana Taue
Miyoshi no Ukai

 Since 2011, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage has been conducting the second Research Exchange between Japan and South Korea in relation to the Safeguarding and Preservation of Intangible Cultural Heritage with South Korea’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Center (the former National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage). As part of the program, Mr. Ban So Young of the center visited Japan from June 1 to 22 and conducted a joint survey. Aiming to conduct concrete case studies on activities of conservation groups and others for the safeguarding and utilization of intangible cultural heritages, we inspected Mibu no Hana Taue, the ritual of transplanting rice in the Mibu area of Kitahiroshima town in Hiroshima Prefecture, (designated as a national important intangible folk cultural property and inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity) and Miyoshi no Ukai, a traditional fishing method using a cormorant conducted in Miyoshi, the same prefecture, (designated as a Hiroshima prefectural intangible folk cultural property), and interviewed the people concerned. For their transmission to later generations, both Hana Taue and Ukai are indivisibly connected to tourism. Especially because of that, not only successors but also a wide range of actors such as local governments, related organizations, people in relevant communities, researchers and audience are interrelated in various ways for the transmission of the intangible folk cultural assets, and these assets have been passed down to later generations in more flexible ways while having relations with local economies. In the latest survey, we could learn a part of the actual situations.
 In South Korea, a new law concerning intangible cultural heritages will be implemented in March 2016, which will greatly change the environment surrounding the conservation of intangible cultural heritages in the country. At the same time, this research exchange program will end in this fiscal year, and we will summarize the program in the next fiscal year. In the future, we will compile the results of the second research exchange, while both countries plan to discuss ways of bilateral exchange in the year after next and beyond with moves after the revision of the law in South Korea in mind.


Publication of “Local Identity and Folk Performing Arts: Relocation/ Resettlement and Intangible Cultural Heritage”

Report on the 9th Conference on the Study of Intangible Folk Cultural Properties

 The 9th Conference on the Study of Intangible Folk Cultural Properties was held on December 6, 2014, and a report on that Conference was published at the end of March. The theme of this year’s conference was “Local Identity and Folk Performing Arts: Relocation/Resettlement and Intangible Cultural Heritage.” How will folk culture be passed down and what role does folk culture play when people are relocated and resettled? The answers to these questions were posited and discussed through specific examples from the past. The Great East Japan Earthquake led to a reappraisal of the value that people attach to folk culture as a basis for their identity. This discussion is warranted both for communities that were stricken by the Earthquake and for areas with fewer young people and growing proportion of elderly.
 A PDF version of the report is available for download from the website of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage.


A survey of a festival in the Takenoura area in the Town of Onagawa

A lion dance in the port. In the background, one can see the village being relocated to higher ground.

 The Intangible Folk Cultural Properties Section is conducting surveys to create an ethnography in order to document intangible cultural heritage in areas where residents were forced to move or relocate as a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake. One of the sites currently being surveyed is the Town of Onagawa, Oshika County, Miyagi Prefecture. A survey was conducted on April 29 in conjunction with the Tohoku History Museum. The survey team visited the Takenoura area. Soon after the Earthquake, residents of a village of about 60 homes evacuated to the City of Senboku, Akita Prefecture. Temporary housing was subsequently built, but evacuees were scattered among 30 or so locations. There are few opportunities to bring this disjointed community back together. One such opportunity is the lion dance (“lion shake”) at New Year’s. A mikoshi (a portable shrine) is carried from a shrine and brought down to the pier in the new port. There, the lion dance takes place. The village’s landscape is changing as the village relocates to higher ground. Documenting life in terms of intangible cultural heritage such as festivals and performing arts will hopefully help the community to reunite and recover.


Recording of Noh chanting by SEKINE Shouroku of the Kanze school

Recording SEKINE Shouroku

 Noh chants from Sotoba Komachi were performed by the preeminent SEKINE Shouroku, a lead actor in the Kanze school of Noh, and recorded on March 13. A Noh play intended primarily for the initiated, Sotoba Komachi features the part of an old woman that can only be performed by veteran actors with years of experience. Somewhat more complex techniques than are normally used are used to portray the old woman’s mindset. Plans are to continue with this recording work after April and record the old woman’s part.


A seminar on passing down intangible cultural heritage (traditional techniques): The People and Tools that Sustain Textile Techniques

The seminar venue

 A seminar on passing down intangible cultural heritage (traditional techniques) was jointly organized by the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum on February 3, 2015. The title of the seminar was “The People and Tools that Sustain Textile Techniques Tools are essential to passing down textile techniques. The seminar featured a panel discussion of how those tools and techniques are related and the current state of those tools and techniques. FUJII Kenzo (of the Kyoto Textile Research Institute) was invited to comment. The panel included YOSHIMURA Kouka (a curator at the Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum), textile makers who were filmed for the exhibition, NAKAYAMA Shunsuke (Head of the Modern Cultural Properties Section of the Institute’s Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques), and KIKUCHI Riyo (of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage).
 The textile makers described how they are continually confronted with a choice regarding which tools to use, i.e. whether to introduce machinery to increase operational efficiency or to continue using the tools they have inherited. The textile makers also described how the techniques to make those tools have disappeared over the past few years. As a result, tools that were once readily available are no longer available, so craftsmen cannot inherit them even if they want to.
 That said, there is the view that only those techniques with accompanying demand should be preserved. Kimono are currently worn on special occasions. Kimono production is almost non-existent in comparison to the days when kimono were everyday wear. Textile techniques are a form of intangible cultural heritage, but textile manufacture also falls within the framework of an industry. Textile makers produced textiles to make a living, but that cannot happen if there is no market for those textiles. In other words, what sort of kimono do consumers want? Existing techniques can change depending on the answer to that question.
 The people that sustain textile techniques are not merely the textile makers. Each person who buys or wears clothing made from those textiles and wishes to preserve those textiles sustain the techniques used to make them. This seminar was meaningful since it impressed that fact upon a number of attendees. The seminar had numerous issues, such as time constraints, a lack of further discussion, and the fact that too broad a range of topics was covered. In the future, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage would like to draw on the views expressed by attendees and provide a forum in which individuals with different perspectives can discuss the passing down of textile techniques.


A survey of a technique to make winnowing fans from Japanese wisteria in the Kizumi area

Harvested Japanese wisteria is buried in the ground before the week of the vernal equinoctial ends
Working dwarf bamboo

 On January 24, efforts to preserve and pass on a technique to make winnowing fans from Japanese wisteria (nationally designated as an Intangible Folk Cultural Property) were surveyed. This technique has been passed down in the Kizumi area of the City of Sosa, Chiba Prefecture.
 Winnowing fans are an essential tool for everyday life since these fans are used to carry items and separate grain from chaff. These fans are also ceremonial implements that are used in festivals and annual events. These fans are thus an essential part of life. Three techniques to make these winnowing fans have currently received national designation as an Intangible Folk Cultural Property (folk technique). One of these techniques is practiced in the Kizumi area of the City of Sosa, where winnowing fans continue to be made using Japanese wisteria and dwarf bamboo. Winnowing fans from the Kizumi area are light, sturdy, and extremely flexible, and these fans were widely used throughout the Kanto region. The heyday for the making of winnowing fans was from the Taisho Period to the mid-1950s, when the Kizumi area and surrounding areas produced 80,000 winnowing fans annually. However, changes in the social climate and the spread of plastic baskets and baskets from China have resulted in a sharp decline in current demand for the winnowing fans.
 The Kizumi Society to Preserve the Making of Winnowing Fans was formed to pass on the technique to make winnowing fans in the Kizumi area. Starting in 2010, the Society has conducted a class to pass down the technique and the Society has worked to foster individuals who will continue to pass on the technique. The class is held monthly. Local individuals who wish to pass down the technique act as teachers, and they work tireless to collect materials for the winnowing fans, work those materials, make the fans, and put on demonstration sales at local festivals. Students attending the class vary in age; some wish to start making the winnowing fans after mandatory retirement, some are learning how to make winnowing fans while working bamboo professionally or semi-professionally, and some are local organic farmers. Regardless of who they are, the students are passionate about learning. Some of the students are residents of the Kizumi area while others attend monthly from places such as the Town of Yokoshibahikari and the City of Kamogawa. The class on January 24 had several dozen students who learned about harvesting Japanese wisteria and dwarf bamboo and then treating and working those materials.
 The demand for many folk goods has declined sharply due to changes in the social climate and the spread of materials and tools that can be used to mass produce items at a low cost. Circumstances continue to hamper the passing down of folk techniques. If those techniques are no longer needed by society, how will values change? Is there a point to passing down those techniques and if so how? Numerous communities are facing these issues.
 The survey found that residents of the Kizumi area have created a place and an atmosphere where people can learn how to make winnowing fans and they have taken in outsiders who are interesting in learning how to make those items. The residents do this as part of their own life’s work, as a hobby, or as practitioners of an art. The survey revealed evidence of a new relationship emerging in which people are no longer forced make winnowing fans as an occupation, as they were in the past. Instead, people have decided themselves that they want to make winnowing fans. As the evidence indicated, this approach may constitute a new model with which to pass down techniques. This approach is possible because values are more diverse today, so people have the option of reexamining traditional culture and seeking to return to a life more in tune with nature.


A Conference on the Study of Intangible Folk Cultural Properties

A general discussion during the conference

 The 9th Conference on the Study of Intangible Folk Cultural Properties was held on December 5. The topic of the conference was “Local Identity and Folk Performing Arts: Relocation/Resettlement and Intangible Cultural Heritage.” The Great East Japan Earthquake re-emphasized the fact that intangible cultural heritage such as folk performing arts is a way for a place to maintain its local identity. What role could folk performing arts play when communities are forced to relocate to higher ground or settle elsewhere because of an earthquake? To answer this question, this conference featured detailed presentations citing 4 examples of relocation or resettlement from around the country.
 The first example concerned the role and current status of folk performing arts that settlers brought with them when they settled Hokkaido. The second example concerned the state of “hometown associations” that natives of different islands and regions of Okinawa organized in Tokyo and the role that folk performing arts serve for these associations. The third example concerned the characteristics of believers in Pure Land Buddhism who migrated from Hokuriku to Fukushima Prefecture during the Edo period. The last example concerned folk performing arts that were discontinued as a result of depopulation in Yamanashi Prefecture; in fact, these arts are being practiced again by migrants to urban areas. The presentations were followed by a general discussion that delved deeper into the topic of folk performing arts based on the examples provided. Plans are to publish a report on the conference in March 2015.


Scholarly exchange with the University of the South Pacific

A commemorative photo of a goodwill visit with the Director General of the Institute
Visitors from the University of the South Pacific receive an explanation at the Folk Museum of Higashimurayama

 This year, a project on safeguarding the cultural heritage of the Oceania island countries was implemented as part of the Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project. Fiji is a key country collaborating with the project, and 3 researchers from the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development of the University of the South Pacific were invited to visit Japan. Joeli VEITAYAKI, Semi MASILOMANI, and John Kaitu’u from the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development visited Japan on December 15 and concluded a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on scholarly exchanges and exchanges with the Institute. Until their departure on December 21, the researchers participated in various field studies and scholarly exchanges.
 On December 16, a Workshop on the Cultural Heritage of the South Pacific was held at the Institute, and opinions regarding cultural heritage were discussed in relation to sustainable development in the South Pacific and Japan. On December 17, a field study of the landscape and cultural heritage of satoyama woodlands was conducted near the City of Higashimurayama, Tokyo. On December 18, a survey on the use of cultural heritage was conducted in Chiba Prefecture’s Boso-no-Mura Museum. From December 19–21, the researchers visited Okinawa where they toured the Oceanic Culture Museum and learned about the cultural landscape in Bise (the Town of Motobu, Kunigami District). One of the visitors remarked that “Japan is a model of development in the Pacific region in the sense that it retained its culture as it developed.” Additional scholarly exchanges with the university are anticipated in the future.


Participation in the Ninth Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage

Discussion of “Washi”
The Committee in session

 The Ninth Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris November 24–28, 2014. The session was attended by 4 personnel from the Institute. These staff members gathered information on the state of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
 During the session, 34 elements of intangible cultural heritage were inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (the Representative List). The inscribed elements included “Washi, craftsmanship of traditional Japanese hand-made paper.” “Sekishu-Banshi,” which was already inscribed on the Representative List, was joined by “Hon-minoshi” and “Hosokawa-shi.” This was the first time that a State Party had added elements to inscribed intangible cultural heritage. On the day the decision was made, there were numerous Japanese news media at the session. Like the nomination of “Washoku” last year, this year’s nomination also included the word “Wa (which means “Japanese”),” and this may explain the heightened in interest in the nomination.
 That said, there were instances when State Parties that nominated elements for inscription on the Representative List or that reported on the status of elements inscribed on the Representative List were criticized by other State Parties for including elements of those parties. Indicative of the relations between states, such conflict is probably unavoidable. The inscription of an element on the Representative List does not imply exclusivity or ownership of that element by the nominating State Party, and an element need not exhibit originality or uniqueness with respect to similar elements. These facts must be publicized both at home and abroad.
 As UNESCO’s Secretariat reported, most of the nomination files that State Parties submitted to propose elements for inscription on the Representative List had missing or incorrect information and had to be sent back to the nominating State Party. This was due to lack of experience with document preparation as well as an imperfect system for documenting intangible cultural heritage that should be protected. State Parties should avoid seeking merely to inscribe an element on the Representative List. Support is needed to create a framework for identification and protection of differing intangible cultural heritage. This is, after all, the initial goal of creating a nomination file. Japan can play a role in providing this support.


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