Opening of the Lobby Panel Exhibition “Intangible Cultural Heritage Preserved and Communicated through Records”

 On June 3, 2021, this year’s panel exhibition “Intangible Cultural Heritage Preserved and Communicated through Records,” curated by the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, opened in the lobby of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. The purpose of this exhibition is to inform people of the importance of recording intangible cultural heritage, especially when many examples of such heritage are facing crises due to the spread of COVID-19.
 For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a sharp decline in the number of programs of classical performing arts, causing serious difficulties for the performers. Nevertheless, we continue to take measures against COVID-19 and make efforts to ensure that such arts are passed on even if the scale of performances has been reduced. The news that major Shamisen manufacturer Tokyo Wagakki was threatened with closing down has also been a great shock to the traditional entertainment world.
 Folk entertainment and festivals are also being forced to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The threat to their survival for future generations is becoming serious since even canceling an annual event just once would result in a two-year gap. Moreover, the risks associated with natural disasters, a declining birthrate, and an aging population are constantly threatening their survival. In particular, crafts and folk techniques that use natural materials are being greatly affected.
 Preserving intangible cultural heritage, which can be lost because of these various risks, through records is an important task. Furthermore, recording the current crisis situation will form a basis for examining future survival. We also hope this exhibition will give you a sense that transmitting such records will be a boost to such heritage being passed on to future generations.

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