Obituary — Director General Mr. Nobuo KAMEI

 Mr. Nobuo KAMEI, Director General of our Institute since April 2010 passed away on July 17th, 2018, of gastric cancer. He devoted himself to the growth and advancement of the Institute until his very last moment. Mr. KAMEI graduated from the Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering of the University of Tokyo and completed the doctoral course in the Department of Urban Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering of the same university in March 1973. He joined the Architecture Division, Cultural Properties Protection Department of the Agency for Cultural Affairs of the Government of Japan as a Technical Official in April of that year. He moved to the Nara National Cultural Properties Research Institute (current Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties) in 1975, then to the Board of Education of Nara City in 1984 and became President of the National Institute of Technology, Miyakonojo College in 2003. In 2005 he returned to the Agency for Cultural Affairs and served as Councillor of the Cultural Properties Department until he assumed the post of Managing Director of the Japanese Association for Conservation of Architectural Monuments, an incorporated foundation in 2008. During his service at the Agency for Cultural Affairs, he made a great contribution to the enhancement of the program for the registration of cultural properties and also played an instrumental role in the selection, repair and landscaping of the “Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Buildings.” In addition, Mr. KAMEI launched the “Hometown Forest for Cultural Properties” program designed to ensure that Japanese cypress bark and other resources required for the maintenance and repair of traditional buildings will be available for years to come. When the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake struck on January 17th, 1995, he demonstrated his leadership in the restoration of affected cultural properties as chief investigator.
 Between April 2010 and March 2013 he was Director of the National Institutes for Cultural Heritage and concomitantly Director General of our Institute, the latter of which he continued to hold after he stepped down from the former organization. In the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred less than a year from his arrival at our Institute, he took Chairman of the Committee for Salvaging Cultural Properties Affected by the 2011 Earthquake off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku and Related Disasters that was set up by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. Mr. KAMEI successfully led the rescue operation that involved 6,800 people in total from around the country and lasted for two years.
 Outside the Institute, he served as the chair of the Subdivision on Cultural Properties of the Council for Cultural Affairs since 2017. In that capacity he took the initiative in proposing recommendations concerning the “Preservation and Utilization of Cultural Properties for Assured Inheritance in the New Era.” His contribution to the protection and inheritance of cultural properties encompassed not only architecture, his own specialization, but also all other cultural properties.
 All of us at Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties are deeply saddened by the loss of Mr. KAMEI, especially at a time when the national policy on the preservation of cultural properties is entering a new dimension following the March 2018 revision of the Act on the Protection of Cultural Properties. We renew our commitment to carrying on Mr. KAMEI’s last wishes of duly passing on our precious cultural properties to future generations.

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