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

Open seminar: “Preservation and Utilization of Aerial Heritage”

Panel discussion

 On January 23, 2024, the Center for Conservation Science of the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) held an open seminar, titled Conservation and Utilization of Aerial Heritage, in cooperation with the Japan Aeronautic Association (JAA).
 Aerial heritage, including materials related to aviation history such as drawings and photographs, are irreplaceable cultural properties in Japan’s modern and contemporary history. However, there are many differences from conventional cultural properties in terms of materials and scale, and new methods are often required for their conservation and utilization as cultural properties. The purpose of this open seminar was to rethink the current status and issues of aviation materials as cultural assets and cultural heritage.
 The opening remarks were made by Mr. SAITO Takamasa, Director General of TOBUNKEN, and Mr. SHIMIZU Shinzo, Vice President of the JAA, followed by an explanation of the purpose of the seminar by Mr. NAKAYAMA Shunsuke, Senior Fellow of the Center for Conservation Science. Mr. NAKAYAMA, Mr. KANDA Shigeyoshi of JAA, and Ms. NAKAMURA Mai, Associate Fellow of the Center for Conservation Science, gave a presentation titled “Preservation of Aviation Historical Materials and Challenges” on the results and challenges of the joint research project, “Study on the Preservation of Aviation Heritage,” that the JAA and the TOBUNKEN have been carrying out since FY2004. Mr. NAGASHIMA Hiroyuki, a former member of the JAA, gave a detailed case study report on the repair of the fabric coverings of the Type 3 Fighter “Hien,” owned by the JAA and exhibited at the Gifu-Kakamigahara air and space museum. Mr. YAMAKI Satoshi of the Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots in Minamikyushu City reported on the history of the Type 4 Fighter “Hayate (No. 1446),” owned by the museum, and the research activities being undertaken to preserve it. In addition, Mr. CHIBA Tsuyoshi, Researcher of the Center for Conservation Science, and Ms. HAGA Ayae Researcher of the Center for Conservation Science, gave a presentation on the status of the designation of aircraft as cultural properties in Japan and introduced the research that has been conducted as part of the “MoU for Research on Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Properties Designated by Minamikyushu City.” Following these lectures, a panel discussion was held with Mr. KANDA, Mr. NAGASHIMA, Mr. YAMAKI, and Mr. NAKAYAMA, with Mr. TATEISHI Toru, Director of the Center for Conservation Science, as a facilitator, in which participants actively exchanged opinions on the current status and issues surrounding aviation materials as cultural properties. The event ended on a high note with closing remarks by Mr. TATEISHI.
 In the foyer of the venue, we exhibited materials related to the joint research between the JAA and TOBUNKEN, including a horizontal stabilizer of a Yamazaki Type 1 “Wakamoto” glider, the vertical stabilizer of an Ito Type A2 glider, an oil painting called “Asakaze” by YAMAJI Shingo, and a Siemens-Schuckert D.IV fuselage panel.
 In all, 77 people participated in the seminar, and the post-event questions showed that there are high expectations for research and study on the preservation and utilization of modern cultural heritage, including aircraft. A report on this seminar will be published in the next fiscal year.

Field Survey in Türkiye for the Rescue of Museums and Cultural Heritage Damaged in the 2023 Earthquake

A historic building damaged, collapsed, and temporarily closed. (Hatay)
Restoration of the collapsed walls is underway at Gaziantep Castle.
Experts' seminar

 The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) participated in the Emergency International Contribution Project for Cultural Heritage in FY2023 commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan, which was titled as “Project for supporting the Reconstruction of Damaged Cultural Heritage in Türkiye,” in cooperation with the Cultural Heritage Disaster Risk Management Center, Japan (CHDRMC).

 The primary objective of this project was to provide relief support for museums and cultural heritage damaged in the 2023 Türkiye–Syria earthquakes that occurred on February 6, 2023. In addition, by sharing Japan’s experience in rescuing damaged cultural heritage and our accumulated knowledge of cultural heritage disaster prevention with Türkiye, the project also aims to support the establishment and enhancement of a cultural heritage disaster prevention system in Türkiye.

 From November 28 to December 7, 2023, a joint team of TOBUNKEN and CHDRMC visited Türkiye to investigate the affected areas, exchange information on cultural heritage disaster prevention in both countries, and exchange opinions with their Turkish counterparts for future collaboration.

 The team visited museums and cultural heritage sites in Hatay, Gaziantep, and Şanlıurfa to ask museum staff about the response to the disaster, the current situation, and other issues, and to survey future support needs. At present, emergency measures are almost completed at the damaged museums, and full-scale work for recovery of the damaged collections and buildings is expected to be carried out in the near future. The museum in Şanlıurfa was flooded by heavy rains in early March, one month after the earthquake.

 The experts’ meeting was held at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Republic of Türkiye, jointly with the Ministry. The Japanese side provided an overview of cultural property disaster prevention systems in Japan, and reported on activities to rescue cultural properties damaged in the Great East Japan Earthquake and other recent disasters, as well as disaster prevention measurements at museums. The Turkish side reported on the damage to cultural properties caused by the earthquake, presented an overview of the response, and discussed disaster risk mitigation methods at museums. The parties from the two countries are continuing with further discussion regarding the direction of specific mutual collaboration and promotion of joint research on cultural property disaster prevention.

Participation in the 58th Autumn Conference of the Korean Society of Conservation Science for Cultural Heritage

A presentation by a participant
Kongju National University, the venue of the event

 Mr. CHIBA Tsuyoshi, Researcher of the Center for Conservation Science, participated in the 58th Autumn Conference of the Korean Society of Conservation Science for Cultural Heritage held at Kongju National University, South Korea, on November 10-11, 2023.
 In recent years, interest in the protection of modern cultural heritage has been increasing in South Korea. At the conference, a special session entitled “Research on Establishment of Standard Specifications for Conservation Treatment of Nationally Registered Cultural Properties (Movable Property) (1st round)” (hosted by the Cultural Heritage Administration and chaired by Dr. KIM Gyu-Ho, Kongju National University) discussed what kind of systems and conservation methods should be used to protect modern cultural heritage.
 Under the title of “Overview and Examples of Modern Cultural Heritage Protection in Japan,” Mr. Chiba reported on the current status of modern cultural heritage protection in the Japanese cultural property protection system, and outlined the characteristics of modern cultural heritage and the technical, theoretical, and institutional issues involved in its preservation.
 The modern era (Meiji era of Japan; late 19th to early 20th century) was a time of internationalization in many parts of the world, and in Japan, cultural heritage produced during this period often incorporates new materials and techniques brought from abroad. In addition to the diversification of materials and techniques, there are many unique aspects of modern cultural heritage, such as the “large number of industrial products,” and “many items still in use today.
 In addition to domestic research, international exchange is also important for the preservation of modern cultural heritage, which uses many common materials that transcend national borders, in contrast to traditional materials and techniques that are based on regional characteristics. We would like to continue to learn from each other’s efforts in both countries and deepen our research and exchange.

Participation in the International Training Course “Leadership Course for Cultural Heritage Stewards in Challenging Circumstances”

Lecture on funding(Photo by Almicheal Fraay)
A presentation by a participant
Participants, teachers, and coordinators at a certification ceremony held after the training(Photo by Almicheal Fraay)

 Mr. CHIBA Tsuyoshi, Researcher of the Center for Conservation Science, participated in the “Leadership Course for Cultural Heritage Stewards in Challenging Circumstances” held in The Hague, the Netherlands, from September 24 to 29, 2023.
 This training course was organized by Cultural Emergency Response ( and the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative ( It has been held annually since 2018, and this was the fifth session. This year there were 14 participants including Mr. CHIBA, who was the first from Japan. Among the others, there were two from Ukraine, and one each from Afghanistan, Barbados, Cameroon, Georgia, Lesotho, Namibia, Nigeria, Peru, Turkey, USA, and Vietnam.
 The training had two main aspects: “planning and proposal” and “team planning and management,” with lectures given by experts in each field. In the planning and proposal training, participants developed plans and project proposals related to the protection of cultural heritage in challenging circumstances, and effective short presentations to persuade external organizations to provide funding and support. On the final day of the training, the participants presented their projects to an audience of four representatives of the actual funding agencies, who answered their questions, offered suggestions for improvement, and critiqued them. The training in team planning and management included analyzing the “strengths” of team members and developing ideas that complement each other, leadership skills for effective team management, and attitudes for maintaining healthy mental health.
 In Japan, it seems that there has not been much interest in funding related to the protection of cultural properties, and there have been few training programs regarding this subject. However, as the situation surrounding cultural properties changes in various ways, we believe that this type of training will become increasingly important for the future protection of cultural properties and disaster prevention of cultural properties. We plan to share the contents of this training course widely in the near future.

2023 Training Course for Museum Curators in Charge of Conservation (Advanced Course)

Lecture on air conditioning
Lecture on outdoor materials
Practical training for identification of cultural property pests
Tour of the laboratories

 The “Training Course for Museum Curators in Charge of Conservation (Advanced Course) in 2023” was held from July 10 to 14, 2023. This training course, which has been held at the Institute since 1984, was reorganized into a “Basic Course” and an “Advanced Course” in 2021, with the aim of enabling curators in charge of conservation at museums to acquire a wide range of knowledge and skills necessary for their work, from basic to advanced.
The “Basic Course” is designed to provide curators in charge of the conservation of materials at museums with a wide range of knowledge and skills, from the basics to the practical. The course focuses on the conservation environment and is conducted by the National Center for the Promotion of Cultural Properties.
The “Advanced Course” covers not only the conservation environment, but also general conservation of cultural properties, and is conducted by the Center for Conservation Science. In the 2023 Advanced Course, lectures and practical training based on research results in various research fields were conducted by the Center for Conservation Science, and lectures on the conservation and restoration of various cultural properties were provided by external lecturers. On the first day, a tour of the center was conducted. The themes of the lectures and practical training were as follows:

・Theory of restoration of cultural properties
・Scientific investigation of cultural properties
・Air quality (about air quality / effects of air pollution on cultural properties / concepts of air quality improvement and ventilation)
・Theory and practice of storage environment (air conditioning)
・Introduction and practice of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for cultural properties
・Types and characteristics of restoration materials
・Deterioration and conservation of outdoor materials
・Protection of heritage of modernization
・Conservation and restoration of various cultural properties (rescue of cultural properties / environmental management of temporary storage facilities / daily cultural heritage disaster prevention in museums)
・Disaster prevention in museums
・Conservation and restoration of folk artifacts
・Preservation of large volumes of documents, and countermeasures against deterioration
・Conservation and restoration of works on paper
・Preservation and management of photographs

 A post-training questionnaire indicated a high level of satisfaction throughout the training. Some participants commented that they were able to gain practical knowledge in a systematic manner and that they were stimulated by learning about cutting-edge research. On the other hand, we also received some comments that they would like more time for training and some requested future follow-up. We will continue to review the content of the training to ensure that it is beneficial to curators in charge of conservation.
Last year, due to restrictions imposed for protection from the spread of COVID-19, the number of participants was only 18, but this year there were 30 participants, as the infection situation had calmed down somewhat.
Although the participants come from a wide variety of institutions, they all share similar concerns and awareness of the problems they face in the field, and we believe that the exchange of ideas and opinions among the participants is very meaningful. We hope that the networking that participants were able to take part in during this training will also be useful in the future.

Survey for the conservation and restoration of an early 20th century aircraft

Confirmation of paint stain removal status
Confirmation of surface using microscope
3D model obtained by SfM-MVS

 Unlike ancient cultural heritage items created using traditional materials and techniques, many modern cultural heritage items were created using relatively new technologies brought to Japan after the Meiji period (1868-1912). Furthermore, modern industrial products created for mass production and mass consumption are generally difficult to preserve over the long term. One of the research themes of our laboratory is how to preserve cultural heritage from such a relatively recent era for the future.
 In March 2023, we conducted a survey of aircraft components from the 1910s stored and displayed at the Matsuiya Sake Brewery Museum (松井屋酒造 Tomika-cho, Gifu Prefecture). The survey aimed to collect information about the appropriate preservation method and the direction of utilization of the materials, following an actual inspection of and discussion about the materials with the Tomika-cho Board of Education, the Matsuiya Sake Brewery Museum, and others in May 2022.
 The surveyed part is believed to be the horizontal tailfin of a French Salmson Model 2 double-seat reconnaissance aircraft (Salmson 2A2), manufactured by another company in France under license from Salmson(YOKOKAWA Yuichi, “On the Salmson 2A2 Fuselage Parts Remaining at the Matsuiya Brewery,” Aviation Fan, December 2021). In 1918, at the end of World War I, the Japanese Army purchased 30 of these planes, and it is estimated that the material kept at the Matsuiya Sake Brewery Museum comes from one of them.
The paint is visible on the entire front and back of the tailfin. It is highly likely that it is the original paint from the 1910s, and if so, it may be the only aircraft component in the world that still has the original paint from that period (YOKOKAWA, above).
 To examine the possibility of conservation and restoration and its methods, we checked stain removal status with partial dusting and the removal of dirt using water and other methods. With the cooperation of the repair technician, we confirmed that there was a high probability that the original paint was still extensively in place and discussed specific cleaning methods.
 Although the survey confirmed which cleaning method is to be used, many points still need to be considered in its implementation. We will continue to work with the Matsuiya Sake Brewery Museum, Tomika-cho Board of Education, and other concerned parties to find solutions for the preservation of the aircraft components.

Investigation of Modern Cultural Heritage in Minamikyushu City

Investigation of " Hayate"
The air quality Investigation
Filming of the former Chiran Airport water tower
Investigation of the former Aoto Airfield pillbox

 Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) worked with Minamikyushu City for “memorandum concerning the conservation and restoration of cultural properties designated by Minamiyusyu City”, and recently started joint research in July, 2022.
 The following surveys and investigation were conducted in Minamikyushu City in February, 2023.

Investigation and advice on preservation and restoration of the former Japanese Army Type 4 fighter “Hayate”
 The “Hayate” (designated cultural property of Minamikyushu City), which is stored and exhibited at the Chiran Peace Museum, was captured by the US military in the Philippines during the Asia-Pacific War and is the only surviving aircraft.
After a test flight by the US military, it was sold and passed through multiple owners before it was returned to Japan in 1973. When the town of Chiran (now Minamikyusyu City) was established in 1995, the aircraft was transported there and has been on display at the Chiran Peace Museum since 1997.
 Since 2017, Minamikyushu City has been conducting a conservation survey, and TOBUNKEN has participated in the survey from 2018. Our findings suggest that overall, the fuselage is in good condition, but some parts have worn out or been replaced because of the post-war test and demonstration flights. We will continue to check the status of the remaining original parts and consider the restoration policies. In this investigation, we mainly targeted the engine, checked the original parts, and the condition inside the engine and oil tank, among other things. Some parts removed from the aircraft were entrusted to TOBUNKEN for cleaning and component analyses.
 The research was conducted in the exhibition room. Since the exhibition room was not closed during the research period; visitors were able to observe it at that time. Additionally, a report on the state of preservation was published in March, 2022.

Air quality investigation of exhibition rooms and storage in the Chiran Peace Museum
 In this study, we conducted an air quality investigation (inspection of organic acids, aldehydes, and volatile organic compounds [VOC]) in the exhibition room and storage room along with a survey of ” Hayate.” In the future, we plan to consider a more stable exhibition and storage environment based on the results of this investigation.

Records of the current state of concrete structures during the Asia-Pacific War in Minamikyushu City
 Minamikyushu City has there are cultural assets related to numerous wars and the former Chiran Airfield. They have remained in the city since the Asia-Pacific War period. Many of them are concrete structures, but nearly 80 years have passed since the end of the war, and they are deteriorating and falling debris. In this study, we recorded the current situation by obtaining actual measurements and photogrammetry (three-dimensional models were created from multiple photographs) of the former Chiran Airfield water tower (a city-designated cultural property) and two pillboxes (defensive positions) of the former Aoto Airfield as concrete structures in the city during the relevant period. In the future, we will analyze the progress of deterioration based on regular records and consider measuring concrete strength.

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