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


International Workshop on the Conservation of Intangible Cultural Heritage: “Current status and issues on protection measures in Asia-Pacific region countries”

 On January 14, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage held an international workshop on the protection of intangible cultural heritage at the seminar room of the Institute under the framework of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Administrators and conservation specialists from nine countries in the Asia-Pacific region (Indonesia, South Korea, China, Fiji, Philippines, Bhutan, Vietnam, Mongolia and India) participated in this workshop. Members of the Ainu Old-Style Dance Performance Alliance Conservation Association along with Mr. Miyata from the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage joined the workshop, and gave a presentation on the current status of and issues relating to the protection of intangible cultural heritage. At the comprehensive discussions we discussed the role of the community in the protection of intangible cultural heritage. On January 15, we visited Miura City, Kanagawa, which was registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage site last year.


Public Lecture of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Lecture by Ms. Kiyoe Sakamoto, Professor at Japan Women’s University

 The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage held a fourth public lecture on Wednesday, December 16 at the Hall of the Edo-Tokyo Museum.
 These past several years the public lecture sessions have used a theme of listening to audio recordings which have been recorded by the Cultural Properties Protection Commission (currently the Agency for Cultural Affairs) as part of its activities on the protection of cultural properties. This year we took up the second dan “Kikaigashima” of “Heike Nyogonoshima”, recorded in March 1949, under the title “Oral tradition of Gidayubushi”.
 Performers Toyotake Yamashironoshojo (1878-1967) and Tsurusawa Seiroku IV (1889-1960) were certified as the holders of important intangible cultural properties for Ningyo Jorur (Japanese puppet show) Bunraku Dayu (singer) and Ningyo Joruri Bunraku Shamisen, when the system started in 1955; in other words, they were living national treasures. The many recordings they left are approved as superbly normative performances even today. “Kikaigashima-no-dan (Shunkan)” is one of those recordings as well.
 In the first half of the lecture session, we considered the meaning of the recordings and the relationship they currently have with oral tradition, and in the second half we enjoyed the consummate art of both performers, listening to half of the entire recording.


Fourth Conference on the Study of Intangible Folk Cultural Properties

4th Conference on Study of Intangible Folk Cultural Properties

 The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage holds a conference on the study of discussing various problems concerning the conservation and inheritance of intangible folk cultural properties every year. We held the fourth conference with the theme of “inheriting intangible folk cultural properties and their relationship with children” at the seminar room of our Institute on November 19, 2009. The declining birthrate and a growing proportion of elderly people have also greatly affected the inheritance of folk cultural properties. In such circumstances, however, various kinds of assistance are given in cooperation with various organizations such as schools and museums so that children become familiar with local traditional events and festivals and can participate in them. At the conference, advanced examples of such activities were reported, and active discussions were held thereon. The details of the conference will be issued as a report in March 2010.


Photos of Kabuki Taken by Umemura Yutaka

Photos of Kabuki Taken by Umemura Yutaka

 The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage is proceeding with arranging Kabuki photos taken by Mr. Umemura Yutaka and donated in autumn 2007.
 The photos include snapshots of actor interviews in 1955 and later as well as the photos of backstage staff. They are highly valuable materials for studying the history of performance art.
 The arrangement of these materials started in 2008, and some of the achievements were reported in Volume No. 3 of the Study Report on Intangible Cultural Heritageas an introduction of materials.
 Because the number of photos is enormous, we are now currently focusing on the photos of Kabuki actors playing on stage, and proceeding with arrangements, while confirming the performance dates and actors chronologically. We have arranged 1,041 photos as of this October, and will complete the arrangements of monochrome stage photos in the Showa 30s (1955-1964) within this year, together with the work finished in the previous year and shown in the above-mentioned report.


Recording a Story Told by Master Storyteller Kanda Shori

Recording a Story Told by Master Storyteller Kanda Shori

 The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage has been recording live performances of historical narratives told by master storytellers Ichiryusai Teisui and Takarai Bakin since 2002 (the former Department of Performing Arts). We asked both masters to perform continuous performance of long stories, opportunities for which are less frequent in recent years. Starting this year, master storyteller Kanda Shori has also assisted us. Shori also excels in performing long, continuous stories. From his large repertoire, he selected Tokugawa Tenichibo (a samurai story) and Banzuiin Chobei (a townsman story). The first recording was conducted on September 29.


Field Survey on Star Festival Dancing at Osato of Ichikikushikino City

Tanabata-odori practice (uchinarashi) at Osato

 We performed a field survey of the Star Festival Dance (Tanabata-odori) inherited by Osato of Ichikikushikino City, Kagoshima Prefecture as part of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage’s Investigation and Research on the Conservation and Use of Intangible Folk Cultural Properties study project. The Tanabata-odori is performed in 14 localities in the Osato District, and consists of dancing with drums (Taiko-odori) played by representative dancers of each locality, large decorations created by all the localities, and various processions. In this field survey, we paid special attention to the practice of continuous dancing for one week, which is called Narashi. Narashi is mainly carried out by youth groups of each locality, assisted by all the people in the district. Through this cooperation, we can clearly see the way social relationships have been maintained and restructured. On the other hand, we also need to consider that handing down traditions can be difficult, causing a large problem from the viewpoint of conserving cultural heritage.


Research on Musical Instrument Collection Heirlooms of the Kishu-Tokugawa Clan

 Since 2006, The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage has been participating as a research representative in the Research on Musical Instrument Collection Heirlooms of the Kishu-Tokugawa Clan, a joint research project with the National Museum of Japanese History. The Kishu-Tokugawa Clan, along with the Hikone-han, had an immense collection of Japanese traditional musical instruments at the end of the Edo Era, including many musical instruments with long histories. In July, we inserted a CCD camera into a Japanese harp and lute, observed the inscriptions written on the insides for supplementary survey, and obtained some information. Our report on this project will be presented in 2010.


Toward Recording 100-ban Hosho-style Yokyoku (Noh Songs)

Recording of a Noh song by Master Imai Yasuo

 The first time we asked Master Imai Yasuo, the eldest Noh actor of Hosho style, to record a ban-utai (singing a piece of Noh song without musical accompaniment) was in 2005. The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage plans to record a total 100 ban (pieces) of Hosho-style Yokyoku (Noh songs) (currently 180 in number), and make two recordings per month. Hokazou, recorded on June 29, brought the number of recorded tunes to 83.
 The techniques of singing Noh songs have varied somewhat depending on the historical period. Master Imai Yasuo was born in March 1921, and is still active on the stage, taking over and showing us the techniques and art of the masters of the Meiji and Taisho era.
 We consider this is a great opportunity to record his excellent skills, and to pass on Noh to future generations.


Training at the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage, Korea

 Mr. Hyoki of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage received training in South Korea for two weeks from May 25 to June 8 based on the exchange between Japan and Korea on research related to the conservation of intangible cultural heritage decided upon last June with the Division of Folklore and Folklife of the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage, Korea. In last year’s training, most of the surveying was conducted on the archives of important intangible cultural properties created by the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage, Korea, and research was also conducted on archives related to important intangible cultural properties in other Korean organizations. I myself did a detailed investigation on the current status of the traditional arts archive of the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts and the folk archive of the National Folk Museum of Korea. Both organizations have carefully established classifications for sorting materials and metadata in anticipation of a future coalition of archives: I felt that they taught many points that would be helpful for similar projects in Japan. During the training sessions I was able to have the opportunity to see two intangible cultural properties in the suburbs of Seoul: the Kannun Dano Festival, and the Yeongsanjae Ceremony.


Report on the 3rd Conference on the Study of Intangible Folk Cultural Properties Conservation of Goods Related to Intangible Folk Cultural Properties

Report on the 3rd Conference on the Study of Intangible Folk Cultural Properties Conservation of Goods Related to Intangible Folk Cultural Properties

 The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage holds an annual meeting where preservation personnel, administrative personnel, and researchers gather: They decide a theme every year and discuss the protection and inheritance of our intangible cultural heritage. On November 20 of last year, the Department chose the theme Conservation of Goods Related to Intangible Folk Cultural Properties and held their meeting in the seminar room of the Institute. We summarized the details of this conference, issued a report in March 2009, and distributed it to interested persons and organizations. This report can also be downloaded in PDF format from the website of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
http://www.tobunken.go.jp/~geino/kyogikai/03mukeikyogikai.html(link rot)


“Structure of Nohkan and Ryuteki Clarified by X-ray Radiography” Exhibited at Entrance Lobby

Clarifying the structure of Nohkan and Ryuteki using radiography

 The Institute periodically exhibits panels at the entrance lobby so that all visitors can see our research results. Starting at the end of March, we have been introducing the results of radiography study on flutes used in Noh, Nohkan. The Nohkan delivers a unique sharp tone: To do so, the inner diameter between the mouthpiece and the first ventage has been narrowed as an artifice. The subsequent crafting technique was conventionally known: An additional material called “nodo (throat)” was inserted into this portion to narrow the inner diameter. However, X-ray photography discovered several old Nohkan flutes whose inner diameter had been narrowed without inserting “nodo”. One researcher put forward the view that Nohkan was derived in the process when a broken Ryuteki was repaired by inserting a tenon. However, this theory must now be revised as a result of this X-ray photography conducted. With this exhibition, we are making preparations so that the sound from an old Nohkan can be heard, and we are also exhibitingthe X-ray photo of the Ryuteki housed in the Buddha statue in the Kamakura period. We are very happy that this exhibit allows people to actually hear Japanese traditional music.


‘Research and Reports on Intangible Cultural Heritage’ Issued

‘Research and Reports on Intangible Cultural Heritage Vol. 3’

 Accompanying the reorganization and change in name from the Geino Department to the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2006, the name of the report magazine was also changed from ‘Geino no Kagaku’ to ‘Research and Reports on Intangible Cultural Heritage’. This year volume 3 was issued. This volume examines intangible cultural heritage as a whole, not limited to Geino, and half of the included research papers and reports are not directly connected to “Geino”. As soon as preparations are finalized, the PDF edition of all contents will be posted on our Website in the same way as before.


Second Meeting of the Study Group on Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage in Asia

2nd meeting of the Study Group on Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage in Asia

 The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage has been holding meetings on activities to safeguard intangible cultural heritage in Asia since last year. This year, on February 19, we invited Dr. Kim Sam Ki of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Division of the Cultural Heritage Administration, Korea. He gave a lecture on the system of and activities for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in Korea and discussions were also held with relevant persons outside our Institute. In particular, Dr. Kim introduced in detail the processes of designating intangible cultural heritage and holders of intangible cultural heritage. He also spoke about the system for training successors that is obligatory for holders of intangible cultural heritage. The participants actively voiced their opinions and raised questions. Both Japan and South Korea have led the systematization of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, and this meeting clearly showed the differences and similarities between the two nations. We learned about the validity of referring to the activities of both countries in dealing with the problems that each country has.


International Seminar Sharing Intangible Cultural Heritage in Oaxaca City, United Mexican States

International seminar “Sharing Intangible Cultural Heritage”

 This international seminar was hosted by organizations such as the International Social Science Council and National Autonomous University of Mexico and was fully supported by the Mexican government and Oaxaca City. Miyata Shigeyuki, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, was invited as the sole participant from Asia, and gave entitled The Creation of Future Intangible Cultural Heritage in Japan. Mexico is a committee country of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, a constituent country of the supplementary organization that examines the candidates registered in the representative list currently submitted by each country, and one of the countries that positively develops activities for conserving intangible cultural heritage. This seminar invited certain key people who conserve intangible cultural heritage, including the Director-General of UNESCO and Mr. Cazdanard, the chairman of assembly conference for signatory countries of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Vivid discussions were held with relevant local individuals. The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage hopes to positively participate in such opportunities and widely communicate the Japanese experience.


Third Public Lecture of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Third Public Lecture by the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage

 On December 16, 2008, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage held a public lecture in the large lecture room of the National Noh Theater. Since 2006, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage has held lectures on audio recordings made by the Cultural Properties Protection Comission (currently the Agency for Cultural Affairs) in the past. This year, a recording of noh-bayashi (musical accompaniment to noh) was introduced in a lecture that focused on the changes in noh as traced by audio materials.
 It appears that the main purpose of the recordings of noh-bayashi made in 1951 was to document the performances of Kawasaki Kyuen, an o-tsuzumi player, and Ko Yoshimitsu, a ko-tsuzumi player. Both Kawasaki and Ko received the first individual recognition as holders of important intangible cultural properties (socalled “Living National Treasures”). This lecture allowed listeners to hear the consummate art of the two masters who supported noh in the Taisho and Showa periods and to learn about the significance of the recordings made by the Agency for Cultural Affairs in the past and the relationship of the recordings with the transmission of noh.
 The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage is planning to hold another lecture next year based on audio materials made by the Commission in the past.


Third Conference on the Study of Intangible Folk Cultural Properties

3rd Conference on Study of Intangible Folk Cultural Properties

 The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage held its third conference on the study of intangible folk cultural properties on November 20, 2008. This year’s topic was Conservation of Goods Related to Intangible Folk Cultural Properties. To conserve intangible folk cultural properties, including manners and customs, folkloric performing arts, and folklore techniques, not only must the skills be transferred, but many goods such as materials and tools, huge decorations, floats, and stalls must be appropriately secured and maintained. From this viewpoint, we listened to examples of four cases reported by relevant organizations engaged in actual maintenance and protection, and had discussions with people involved on the floor. Eager discussions were held on the difficulty of “conserving while using” (i.e. the organization of conservation activities with a view to new creation) and building a system to conserve both the tangible and intangible as a whole. The detailed agenda for this conference will be summarized and issued in March 2009.


Research at the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage of Korea

 Based on the agreement for research exchange between Japan and Korea on the conservation of intangible cultural heritage, which was signed last June with the Folkloric Studies Division of the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage of Korea, Hyoki Satoru of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage researched visual documents of intangible cultural heritage in South Korea for two weeks in October 2008. The purpose was to investigate the current condition of such visual documents and apply the results of this research to the management and utilization of similar documents in Japan. In South Korea, the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage actively creates visual documents of intangible cultural heritage and manages them in cooperation with various organizations including the National Archives of Korea and the Korean Film Archive. There are many points to be learned from this organizational management system. For example, the active use of visual documents made by the Institute in television broadcasting was quite impressive. The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage is now creating a database of locations of visual documents on Japanese intangible cultural heritage and would like to consider sharing information with Korea.


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

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

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


Participation in the 23rd International Costume Congress

The 23rd International Costume Congress

 On August 20 and 21, the 23rd International Costume Congress was held at the Hida Earth Wisdom Center (Takayama city). Approximately 200 researchers, textile-dyeing artists and designers from Korea, Taiwan and Mongolia as well as Japan participated. Kikuchi Riyo of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage attended the Congress and presented a research paper.
 The common theme of this academic meeting was “East/West Exchanges in Costume Culture.” Lectures, presentations of research papers, poster sessions and an exhibition of creative costumes were held. Participants from various countries had the opportunity to learn about studies on textile-dyeing techniques and deepened their awareness of national differences in ideas related to the conservation of techniques and attempts at reproduction.
 On this occasion, a visit was also made to the Mino-Washi Museum (Mino city) and Shunkei Kaikan (Takayama city) to collect information on traditional craft techniques. Since the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage has just begun to collect information on traditional craft techniques, it will continue to expand its activities to different regions and fields of craft techniques.


Investigation of Musical Instruments in The Tokugawa Art Museum

 The Tokugawa Art Museum possesses many instruments used in gagaku and nohgaku. We investigated nohkan, ryuteki and hitoyogiri flutes in the Museum’s collection. Of the two nohkan in the collection, one named “Semiore” with a certificate of authenticity by the master Seibei VII of Fujita School of Noh is said to have been made by Shishida. Radiographs of this nohkan taken with the cooperation of researchers Otsuka and Matsushima at the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques revealed that it was made not by using the conventional method but by using a single thick bamboo material. The small inner diameter of the nohkan between the hole for the mouth and first finger hole contributes to unique, sharp sound of the nohkan. While the conventional method involves inserting a separate piece called nodo (throat) into this portion, no sign of such a piece having been fitted was discovered. This points to the existence of a different method for making nohkan. According to some researchers, nohkan with a small inner diameter is a result of some incident in repairing a broken ryuteki. Our finding suggests that this theory needs to be corrected.


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