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


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.


The 9th public lecture at the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo

Kaido-kudari” by the Kyogen actor SATO Tomohiko

 On October 18, a 9th public lecture took place at the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. The lecture was held in Heiseikan of the Tokyo National Museum. The topic of the lecture was “Michiyuki as Popular Songs: The Origins and Spread of Noh and Kyogen songs with a focus on ‘Kaido-kudari.’” Michiyuki, or a song describing sceneries seen along a journey, have long captured people’s hearts and have become popular songs. Led by a lecture by OKADA Mitsuko of the Osaka Institute of Technology, the public lecture dealt with how Michiyuki influenced Soga (ballads popular among nobles, samurai, and Buddhist priests that were popular in the Kamakura Period), Noh and Kyogen songs, and Michiyuki that have been passed down until today. In the third portion of the public lecture, SATO Tomohiko (an Izumi-style Kyogen actor) and ASAKURA Toshiki (a Hoshu-style Noh actor) performed chants and komai (lit. small dances), which were well received by lecture attendees.


A study of the revived lion dance in the Town of Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture

Myung Jin LEE (left) presenting results of a survey of Kagura in Tohoku

 The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage and South Korea’s National Intangible Heritage Center have been conducting Research Exchanges between Japan and South Korea in relation to the Safeguarding and Preservation of Intangible Cultural Heritage. As a result, Myung Jin LEE of the Research and Documentation Section visited Japan for 30 days starting on August 11. LEE conducted a joint study on the Sugisawa Hiyama Bangaku (the Town of Yuza, Yamagata Prefecture) and Hayachine–Take Kagura and Koda Kagura (the City of Hanamaki, Iwate Prefecture). LEE reported the results of this study during a presentation, entitled Kagura Traditions in the Tohoku Region that took place in the Institute’s seminar hall on September 8. Basically, Kagura is sacred and ritual performing arts to invite gods. Kagura performed in the Tohoku Region often includes dramas or acrobatic feats. Bangaku is also one of the local names for Kagura.
 LEE’s presentation began with a basic description of the characteristics of mountain asceticism in the Tohoku region and the relationship between Kagura and mountain asceticism. LEE then compared the 3 Kagura traditions. LEE discussed topics related to preserving intangible cultural heritage, such as specific examples in which traditions were maintained and passed down as well as involvement of preservation societies and government bodies, in detail. LEE also described conditions in South Korea for comparison. In addition, LEE discussed characteristics of Kagura traditions in the Tohoku region as folk performing arts, and LEE suggested that the traditions may be comparable to “gut” (shamanistic rituals) and the “Mask Dance” in South Korea. The presentation was quite meaningful in that it described the current state of and issues with preservation of intangible cultural heritage from the perspectives of preserving cultural practices and folklore studies.


Publication of the Survey Report on the Oceania Island Countries and scholarly exchanges with the University of the South Pacific

Survey Report on the Oceanic Island Countries
With Pacific Centre staff of the University of the South Pacific

 The Survey Report on the Oceania Island Countries has been published. These surveys took place last year as part of a project on International Contribution to the Protection of Cultural Heritage (expert exchanges) commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan. The Republic of Kiribati and Tuvalu face the potential effects of rising sea levels due to climate change. The report primarily contains photographs of cultural heritage in these 2 countries and the state of that cultural heritage. 
 In addition, a project on protecting the cultural heritage of island countries in Oceania was implemented last year as a Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project. Personnel from the Institute visited the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, a key country collaborating with the project, on August 8. Personnel met with Elisabeth A. HOLLAND, Director of the University’s Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development and discussed signing a memorandum on scholarly exchanges between the Institute and the University of the South Pacific. In addition, results of surveys of intangible cultural heritage primarily in the Republic of Kiribati and Tuvalu were reported and representatives of the Pacific Centre expressed their views. 
 Through this project, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage will continue to teach and train personnel in order to document and protect the intangible cultural heritage of island countries in Oceania.


Scholarly exchanges with South Korea’s National Intangible Heritage Center

Glue ingredients (swim bladders of Honnibe croakers)

 The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage conducts scholarly exchanges with South Korea’s National Intangible Heritage Center. This year, KIKUCHI Riyo studied the current state of the passing down of Korean textile techniques over a 2-week period starting on August 18.
 Information on “Materials and Tools” is essential to the passing down of textile techniques. Even if finished pieces look the same, use of different materials and tools can change the way the pieces were made (how they were made) and thus affect the technique used to make them.
 In Japan, there are currently no requirements for an individual to be designated as an important intangible cultural property (a living national treasure) under the Act for the Protection of Cultural Properties. This is presumably because the type of material selected and the choice of which tools to use to produce an item are essential aspects of being designated as an important intangible cultural property. In contrast, designation as a preservation society involves requirements that limit the materials and tools that can be used. This is the major difference between designation as an individual and designation as an organization. Restrictions on materials and tools that can be used affect the production of items in various ways. This is because changes in lifestyles have made some materials and tools hard to obtain. In light of the current circumstances in Japan, interviews regarding materials and tools were conducted in South Korea.
 These interviews covered gilding, braiding, sewing, cotton fabric-making, and indigo dyeing techniques, which are designated as important intangible cultural properties in South Korea. These techniques are also found in Japan, but the materials and tools used differ. A look at gilding, for example, shows that in Japan glues made from seaweed, rice paste, or starch paste were used to affix gold leaf to a form or mold fashioned from Japanese paper coated with persimmon tannin. A different technique has been passed down in South Korea, where gold leaf is affixed to a wooden mold with glue made from the swim bladders of the Honnibe croaker. Conditions have changed, making this fish glue harm to obtain.
 The type of material selected and the choice of which tools to use to produce an item are essential aspects of being designated as an important intangible cultural property in Japan, and the current interviews indicated that the same holds true in South Korea. In both countries, the supply of materials and tools changes on a daily basis. The techniques that make crafts possible must be passed down so that materials and tools that were used in the past are still available. The current interviews revealed that the passing down of these techniques is an issue that both South Korea and Japan must deal with.


A study of the revived lion dance in the Town of Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture

The lions of Onagawa [lion dance performers] gathered at Revive! The Lion Dance Performance

 In the Town of Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture, locals refer to the lion dance as the “Shishi-furi.” In the Town of Onagawa, the lion dance has been passed down in most of the settlements dotting the rias of the prefecture’s coast. However, most of these settlements were devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake, and many of the dance props and costumes were washed away. Despite this, there is a mounting call for the dance to resume. Fortunately, the dance props and costumes are being recreated with support from several sources.
 The revived lion dance was performed at Revive! The Lion Dance Performance that took place last summer. The lion dance was originally performed at New Year’s, but prior to the earthquake the dance was performed on the water during the Onagawa Port Festival at the end of July. Performers from each settlement would ride on fishing boats in a maritime parade. Although this event is a relatively new tradition, it is deeply ingrained in the minds of the people of Onagawa. Reconstruction of the port is not yet finished, so this year the performance took place on the field at an elementary school. Nonetheless, throngs of residents of the Town of Onagawa gathered to boisterously cheer on several wildly dancing lions [lion dance performers]. The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage has continued to study the lion dance in Onagawa since the earthquake. This year, the Department has worked on creating an ethnography focusing on the lion dance.


Study of the conservation and further utilization of tools used in textile techniques: A case study of Kumagaya dyeing

 Starting this year, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage has studied the preservation and further utilization of tools associated with intangible cultural heritage. Craft techniques and folk techniques are intangible cultural properties, and tools are essential to these techniques. However, a system of preserving these tools has yet to be instituted. Workshops and plants in various places are closing due to the advanced age of the craftsmen who work in them and the lack of individuals to carry on techniques. As a consequence, tools are in danger of vanishing. Preservation and further utilization of tools is essential to passing down intangible cultural properties, and the current state of the preservation and further utilization of these items probably needs to be ascertained and discussed. 
 Kumagaya dyeing (yuuzen [a form of dyeing with drawn patterns] and komon [intricate pattern dyeing]) is a traditional handicraft as designated by Saitama Prefecture. This year, the tools used in Kumagaya dyeing were studied with the cooperation of the Kumagaya City Library in the City of Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture. Workshops that use Kumagaya dyeing were found to use traditional craft techniques and to incorporate somewhat modern craft techniques such as screen printing. Information about early modern textile techniques that have expanded on traditional textile techniques must be compiled to pass down those techniques. Information about the tools that are kept by and used in various workshops is essential to understanding the techniques those workshops use. As the study progressed, it revealed that the type, usage, and repair of tools differed depending on the workshop. In the future, we would like to explore new ways to pass down intangible cultural heritage as we compile information about these tools.


Efforts to use descriptions of folk customs in areas stricken by the Great East Japan Earthquake

The class at the Hometown Center

 The Description of Folk Customs in Goishi is a report that was produced by the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage last year documenting religious festivals and life in the Goishi region of Massaki-cho in the City of Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture. The region was stricken by the massive tsunami that followed the Great East Japan Earthquake. An attempt to read this report together with local residents and put it to use has begun. The Kasumigaseki Knowledge Square has been active in the Massaki region. As part of the Square’s Digital Community Center, a class was conducted entitled “Learn in Massaki! A look back at our hometown…via the Description of Folk Customs in Goishi.” KUBOTA Hiromichi of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage attended the class. The class took place at the Hometown Center in the Massaki region and it had about 30 attendees. After a lecture, attendees exchanged various types of information. In the future, local residents will take the lead in creating descriptions of more familiar folk customs and in passing on those customs to local children. This approach was evident in the class. Preserving local identity is a concern since communities are scattered or they are relocating to higher ground. The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage plans to continue its efforts, and its efforts in the Goishi region may serve as a case study. The Description of Folk Customs in Goishi (in Japanese) is available in PDF format on the website of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage .


Survey of festivals at Yamada Shrine in the City of Minamisoma

A festival at Yamada Shrine

 As part of a survey of intangible cultural heritage in areas stricken by the Great East Japan Earthquake, an annual celebration at Yamada Shrine in the City of Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture was attended on April 23, 2014. Located on the coast, the shrine was washed away by the tsunami following the earthquake, and the area served by the shrine suffered heavy losses. Chief priest MORI Yukihiko also works as a curator at Fukushima Museum. In addition, comments and expressions of sympathy were received by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Information Network operated by the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
 After the disaster, a temporary shrine was built through the efforts of volunteers from Kumamoto Prefecture. One the date in question, a number of attendees joined parishioners as a result of extensive media coverage of the plight of Yamada Shrine. However, parishioners’ organizations in many of the surrounding areas are on the brink of collapse. Major issues regarding maintenance and reconstruction of the shrine remain. Religious institutions like shrines and temples tend to be thought of as distinct from management of cultural properties in light of the separation of church and state. That said, the existence of those institutions is closely tied to the passing down of intangible cultural heritage. Thus, relevant information needs to be shared and issues need to be discussed in the future.


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