Donation of Materials related to Dr. ITO Nobuo

Dr. ITO with his colleagues of the Committee for the Protection of Cultural Properties and their families (Third from left. Right end is HINAKO Moto’o who served as Director of the Buildings Division (1966-1971) before Dr. ITO, and IHARA Keishi who served as Director of Restoration Engineering Department (1988-1990) of the Institute on his left.)

On September 13th, a set of materials related to the administrative work for the protection of cultural properties, where Dr. ITO Nobuo served as Director of the Institute for nine years from April 1978 to March 1987, was donated to the Institute by his son, Mr. ITO Akio. Dr. ITO was a technocrat and architectural historian who led the development of cultural property protection in the postwar period. In particular, he played a central role as director of the Buildings Division of the Agency for Cultural Affairs (1971-1977) in the planning of the traditional town/village conservation system, which was newly established as a result of the revision of the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties in 1975. He has also left a significant mark in the international field of heritage conservation by actively communicating Japan’s conservation philosophy and repair methods, and by leading “the Nara Conference on Authenticity” held in November 1994, which led to the international development of authenticity, a concept of conservation originating in Western Europe.
 The donated documents are mainly primary materials related to the administration of cultural property protection and international cooperation that Dr. ITO was involved in as part of his work, as well as various materials related to research activities, private activities, and manuscripts related to architectural history and cultural properties. These materials were accumulated during the active life he led, and since they have not been systematically collected and organized, it is certain that among them are many items for which detailed information is not clear at this stage. However, from the viewpoint that it is important to make the materials available to researchers who need them as soon as possible, we plan to make them accessible to the public after classifying all the materials according to activity and sorting each item mechanically.
 Among the donated materials, I would like to bring to your attention a photograph of a young Dr. ITO with his colleagues from the Buildings Division of the Committee for the Protection of Cultural Properties. Considering the appearance of Dr. ITO and the other photographs enclosed, my guess is that it was taken around 1965 when he was working hard as an architectural conservation officer at the site. The carefree demeanor and lively smiles of all in this photograph seem to indicate that the cultural properties administration was carried out during an era when Japan’s economy was booming. This fact is not easily perceivable in the formal photos from official reports.

・“To the Memory of Dr. Nobuo Ito” by SAITO Hidetoshi
2016 Volume 66 Pages 148-159

・ITO Nobuo2016 Year Book of Japanese Art, page 557-558, Online in 2018 (Japanese only)

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