|■Tokyo National Research
Institute for Cultural Properties
|■Center for Conservation
|■Department of Art Research,
Archives and Information Systems
|■Japan Center for
International Cooperation in Conservation
|■Department of Intangible
On April 28, 2023, EMURA Tomoko gave a presentation titled Study of Shuten-dōji Handscrolls: Interim Investigation Report. This research has been in progress since 2022, conducted under a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B), and focuses on SUMIYOSHI Hiroyuki’s Shuten-dōji Handscrolls (six volumes in total, owned by Grassi Museum of Ethnology in Leipzig, hereinafter referred to as “the Leipzig scrolls”). This presentation was made in the form of an interim report on the investigation. EMURA introduced the works that she and her colleagues investigated in 2022, and considered the characteristics and genealogy of each scroll. Furthermore, thanks to the kind invitation of Dr. MIYAZAKI Momo (The Museum Yamato Bunkakan), EMURA was able to join her in the conduction of a survey on sketches of the Shuten-dōji Handscrolls (six volumes, Museum for History and Literature of Osaka Aoyama University). In addition, based on an inscription on the underside of the lid of the box that contained the scroll sketches, it became clear that the calligraphers of the Leipzig scrolls were NARUSHIMA Chuhachirō (Ryūshū) and NARUSHIMA Senzō (Kōzan), father and son, retainers of the shogunate. In addition, Dr. KOBAYASHI Kenji (National Institute of Japanese Literature), a research co-investigator of the project, gave a presentation titled Survey report on the Ibuki-dōji picture scrolls (private collection). This work included modification of Nara Ehon books into picture scrolls, and has many points in common with the contents of the first three volumes of the Leipzig scrolls. Mr. NAMIKI Seishi, who is the Program-Specific Professor of Kyoto Institute of Technology and a research co-investigator, participated as a commentator. In addition, researchers from inside and outside the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties participated online. This year, we will proceed with the survey with consideration given to the opinions received during the research discussion.
TANAKA Ichimatsu Materials
Caricatures of the Japanese-Russo War, Fudeno Mani Mani (as I like) (TANAKA Ichimatsu)
DOI Tsugiyoshi Materials
Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) preserves and utilizes research notebooks and meeting documents written by researchers—including ex-employees—in addition to books and photographs. On our website, we have published major notebooks from the materials of TANAKA Ichimatsu (1895–1983) owned by TOBUNKEN and the materials of DOI Tsugiyoshi (1906–1991) owned by the University Library of Kyoto Institute of Technologies. These were a part of the outcome of “Study on Record and Evaluation of Japanese Art – Preservation and Utilization of Survey Report of Artwork” that was carried out for three years from FY2019 as JSPS Grand-in Aid for Scientific Research (B) (JP19H01217).
Among TANAKA Ichimatsu’s materials, lecture notebooks from Tokyo Imperial University, artwork research notebooks from 1923–1930, and sketch books from his elementary school and junior high school days between 1905–1914 were introduced. TANAKA found delight in drawing pictures from his childhood and continued to exercise to immediately depict what he saw; consequently, he mastered his ability. These experiences contributed to his later works as an art historian. Over half a century, TANAKA made remarkable achievements at the center of administration for cultural properties. He evaluated a large amount of art objects. As a result, he drove the research of Japanese painting history.
Among DOI Tsugiyoshi’s materials, his main research notebooks, lecture notebooks from Kyoto Imperial University between 1928–1972, and a travel diary with haikus (Japanese poem) and sketches from 1947 were introduced. He observed details of art objects minutely through not only document investigation but onsite investigation as well. Based on these investigations, he discerned painters and reevaluated those whose names were passed down in temple histories. He made revolutionary contributions to the research of early modern painting history.
The research notebooks of TANAKA and DOI from the pre-war period show us how they recorded shapes and expressions that they witnessed at a time when photos could not be taken as easily as they can now, and how they transformed their accumulated records into artwork evaluation. These materials recorded by their activities can be also called modern materials related to the art pieces during the Taishō and Shōwa eras. We hope they are used extensively as research materials. Some sketches are certainly visually entertaining. Please visit our website and enjoy them. https://www.tobunken.go.jp/researchnote/202203/
Replica of Ekin byōbu displayed at Ekingura
Twenty-three byōbu (folding screens) painted by Hirose Kinzō (1812–76), known as Ekin, have been passed down in Akaoka Town, Konan City, Kochi Prefecture. They are certified by Kochi Prefecture as Tangible Cultural Properties for Protection. They are usually stored in Ekingura (Ekin Museum), which is a facility for storage and exhibition. Ekin byōbu are attractive because the dramatic scenes of popular kabuki plays were depicted with a dynamic composition using vivid color pigments. Eighteen of them were originally devoted to the Suruda Hachimangū Shrine located in the north of Akaoka Town. They have been shown at the Suruda Hachimangū Grand Festival since the end of Edo era. In addition, the Ekin Festival has been held in Akaoka Town by local people since 1977 at the shopping district, where they are displayed. Ekin byōbu are popular as special cultural properties that share the same regional background, though the festivals were halted for the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Five byōbu were discolored due to an accident in 2010. The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) investigated how to conserve and restore them. Additionally, measures were taken to stabilize them. (Please refer to our monthly report: https://www.tobunken.go.jp/materials/ekatudo/246667.html) Later, a project for the conservation and restoration of the other 18 byōbu, which have deteriorated over time, has been started by the Ekingura Management Committee and the Akaoka Ekin Byōbu Preservation Association. TOBUNKEN has been investigating the painting materials of Ekin byōbu along with this project. We visited Ekingura on April 15th and 16th, 2022, and investigated them with high-resolution color photography of the 18 byōbu, whose restoration has been completed. All byōbu will be fully restored by the end of FY 2022. A research report is planned for publication after the completion.
Preparation for the survey
Discussion about the investigation parts
Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems has been engaged in a series of surveys on Rakan-zu (a painting of Arhat, an enlightened Buddhist high priest) painted in the Yuan Dynasty, owned by the Baijōsan Kōmyōji Temple in Minato Ward, Tokyo. Please refer to our online monthly report for this survey. (https://www.tobunken.go.jp/materials/ekatudo/910616.html)
Near-infrared imaging and fluorescence imaging produced by optical survey suggested that the new artificial iwa-enogu (mineral pigment used in paintings) could have been used to add colors on several parts of this painting.
It is expected that, in addition to the observation on the imaging data including high-definition imaging, scientific analysis survey can provide additional data from the different approaches. Then, we, INUZUKA Masahide, CHI Chih lien, TAKAHASHI Yoshihisa from the Center for Conservation Science, and EMURA Tomoko, YASUNAGA Takuyo and MAIZAWA Rei from the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information System conducted a survey on Rakan-zu by reflectance spectrometry at the Baijōsan Kōmyōji Temple on January 19th, 2022.
Reflectance spectrometry can identify the kinds of coloring materials used in the work by reflectance spectrometry formation, how the reflectance of the surface against wavelength of light. Furthermore, hyperspectral camera, which we used this survey, shows the distribution of the same reflectance spectra in two dimensions simultaneously.
We plan to identify the materials and places for adding color by analyzing the data which we have gathered in this survey.
Information about exhibitions for Japanese art held abroad provided by the Sainsbury Institute (TOBUNKEN Research Collections database)
Exhibition Catalog, “Tokyo: Art & Photography,” Ashmolean Museum
On December 2, 2021, the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) held an annual meeting online with the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures in the United Kingdom about our collaborative project, “Shaping the Fundamentals of Research on Japanese Art.” We have been carrying out this joint project with the Sainsbury Institute since 2013. The meeting began with Professor Simon Kaner, Executive Director of the Sainsbury Institute, expressing his gratitude for the ongoing activities during the current challenging period of COVID-19. He also mentioned that this project had been highly valued as an important international collaborative project by the institute’s management board.
During the past year, in addition to the ongoing updating of databases, we started translating the historical articles from the annals of art where Japanese originals are already included in Nihon Bijutsu Nenkan (Yearbook). The translations are now published as “Art News Articles” on the TOBUNKEN website in a searchable format (https://www.tobunken.go.jp/materials/nenshi-en). Please refer to the November 2021 monthly report (https://www.tobunken.go.jp/materials/ekatudo/927811.html). The English translations are currently available online for 2013–2015. More articles will be translated and published online in due course to disseminate information on Japanese art globally.
The Sainsbury Institute has contributed information on exhibitions of Japanese art held abroad to the TOBUNKEN Research Collections database (https://www.tobunken.go.jp/archives/?lang=en). As parts of our information sharing and research exchanges for the project, Ms. Miwako Hayashi Bitmead of the Sainsbury Institute has also contributed a review of the exhibition, “Tokyo: Art & Photography.” It is held at the Ashmolean Museum for our periodical, Bijutsu Kenkyū (The Journal of Art Studies), issue 436, to be published in March 2022. Her review provides us with insight into the exhibition as well as the situation outside of Japan, as opportunities to visit overseas art exhibitions have been reduced dramatically. It is highly recommended.
Recently, more activities can be conducted online, and we all have been taking advantage of these. Yet, presenting at a venue in person is still indispensable for researching artworks, delivering lectures, and exchanging ideas with a wide range of audiences. Though our plans are dependent on the situation, our intention is to resume the research exchanges that were conducted before the pandemic in the coming year or so.
Exhibition catalogues: “Love, Fight, Feast “(left) and “Tosa and Sumiyoshi Schools II—The Development of the Yamato-e Painting Style and the Outstanding Characteristic of Each School” (right)
Lecture at Kuboso Memorial Museum of Arts, Izumi
International Symposium at the Rietberg Museum (YouTube distribution screen)
The exhibition “Tosa and Sumiyoshi Schools II—The Development of the Yamato-e Painting Style and the Outstanding Characteristic of Each School” was held from September 12th through November 7th, 2021 at the Kuboso Memorial Museum of Arts, Izumi, well known for its precious collection of Japanese and East Asian antiquities. The art works of the Tosa and Sumiyoshi Schools, from Tosa Mitsuyoshi’s work in the Momoyama Period till the modern period, were gathered and exhibited there. The exhibition was curated to highlight what each painter inherited and what each one innovated. During the exhibition, EMURA Tomoko from the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems gave a lecture titled “Sumiyoshi School Paintings Overseas: Examining Shutendōji Handscrolls in Grassi Museum of Ethnology in Leipzig” at a lecture meeting held on October 16th, with Mr. KAWADA Masayuki, the director of the museum. EMURA introduced the Cooperative Program for the Conservation of Japanese Art Objects Overseas by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN), as well as Japanese arts overseas. She discussed Sumiyoshi Hiroyuki’s Shuten-dōji handscrolls, considered to be painted in 1786. This exhibition also featured the Shuten-dōji handscrolls painted by Hiroyuki’s son, Sumiyoshi Hironao (owned by Nezu Museum), following his father’s works. EMURA clarified the contrast between their works.
In the same month, on October 23rd, EMURA delivered a keynote lecture titled “A Great Tale of Exterminating Ogres: Shuten-dōji Handscrolls of GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig” at an international symposium marking the occasion of the special exhibition “Love, Fight, Feast – The World of Japanese Narrative Art,” held at the Rietberg Museum in Switzerland from September 10th to December 5th, 2021. The exhibition shows Japanese narrative scrolls owned by European museums. In her lecture, she explained the overall contents of Sumiyoshi Hiroyuki’s Shuten-dōji handscrolls and their characteristics as they were first exhibited there. This symposium was held online, connecting the museum in Zurich with Tokyo, Dublin (Ireland) and New York (USA), and broadcasted via the Internet.
It was unfortunate that we could not gather in person at the same venue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was still a precious opportunity to discuss with many researchers and to exchange opinions. EMURA plans to publish her research about Sumiyoshi Hiroyuki’s Shuten-dōji handscrolls, which she talked about in her lecture, as an article in the Bijutsu Kenkyu (the Journal of Art Studies), No. 453.
Photo taken mid-presentation
The sixth volume of the “Shuten-dōji handscrolls” by SUMIYOSHI Hiroyuki (owned by GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig )
The Shuten-dōji picture scrolls depict an ogre named Shuten-dōji who once lived on Mt. Ōe or Mt. Ibuki and engaged in the wicked acts of capturing women and plundering treasures in the capital, being conquered by samurai such as Minamoto-no- Raikō. The character of Shuten-dōji is a popular theme and there are many works depicting him that remain in existence today. One famous work, a three-scroll piece by KANŌ Motonobu, which is owned by the Suntory Museum of Art, is well known. At this seminar, a presentation titled “Regarding the First Appearance of SUMIYOSHI Hiroyuki’s ‘Shuten-dōji handscrolls’ (owned by the GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig)” was given. This work consists of six volumes, and its existence was completely unknown after Heinrich Botho Scheube, a foreign physician hired by the Meiji Government, brought it to Germany in 1882. The presenter was able to inspect the pieces in this work at Leipzig in 2019, and in this presentation, she noted that the scrolls may have been painted by SUMIYOSHI Hiroyuki in 1786 as a trousseau when Tanehime (1765-94, her biological father was TOKUGAWA Munetake, the first head of the Tayasu branch of the Tokugawa clan and her biological brother was MATSUDAIRA Sadanobu) who was an adopted daughter of TOKUGAWA Ieharu, the tenth shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan, married TOKUGAWA Harutomi (1771-1853), the tenth head of the Kishū-Tokugawa family. The first half of this work was added to the content of KANŌ Motonobu’s three-volume work, and it can be said to be an important example of a body of work when moving forward with future research into Shuten-dōji handscrolls. In the future, we will continue to engage in research and utilize this work as a research material.
Photo taken mid-presentation
The last slide of the presentation
The effects of the novel coronavirus infection have persisted for a long time and this has meant that meetings and other events, which had previously been held with a large number of stakeholders, are now often held online. The annual meeting of the Art Libraries Society of North America was also held online on May 13, 2021, in collaboration with the Getty Research Institute, and was titled “Building Bridges: Working Together to Disseminate Japanese Art Literature.” This was the first time the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo (TOBUNKEN) gave a presentation at this conference. In 2016, we signed an agreement with the Getty Research Institute in the United States regarding collaborative research. In addition to the Meiji Art Journal “Mizue,” we digitized books in our library collection, including art magazines from the Meiji period, art exhibition catalogues from the Meiji period up to the early Showa period, and woodblock print books from the Edo period. We also provided information to the Getty Research Portal, a virtual library operated by the Getty Research Institute, and we are working to publish more information online. In the presentation, we introduced the history and results of our collaborative research projects so far, and specifically presented new perspectives that could be obtained by cross-searching the materials in the possession of each country. As global travel and excursions are restricted, virtual libraries where valuable research materials are freely available online are becoming increasingly important. We will continue to cooperate with research institutes in Japan and overseas to promote the dissemination of useful information for research on cultural properties.
National Treasure, God of Heavenly Punishment of Extermination of Evil, hanging scroll From the Collection of the Nara National Museum. Photograph courtesy of the Nara National Museum.
Online Q&A session
The paintings constituting the National Treasure Extermination of Evil, held in the collections of the Nara National Museum and others, are thought to have been created at the end of the Heian period around the time of Emperor Go-Shirakawa. Along with the Hell Scroll, these paintings are well known as works representing this period, but there is still room for examination regarding their subjects and the background to their production. In the first seminar of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems in 2021, Ms. UMEZAWA Megumi (chief researcher at Kanagawa Prefectural Kanazawa-Bunko Museum) gave a presentation titled “Restorative Consideration of the Subject of Extermination of Evil.” She has argued that the subject of this work is “hell for demon-gods” (UMEZAWA Megumi, “Ya o hagu bishamonten to ‘Hekijae’ no shudai” [Bishamonten fletching arrows and the subject of Extermination of Evil]. In Chūsei kaiga no matorikkusu II [Matrix of medieval paintings II], Seikansha, 2014). In this presentation, she conducted a detailed analysis including the newly discovered notes that seem to be part of the series of picture scrolls that have come to be known in recent years. She reexamined the ideas of the work as a whole and considered the religious thought and historical tastes underlying its expression. The seminar took place online with measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but remote participants also engaged actively in the Q&A session. Although human movement is restricted, we will continue our research activities after taking adequate measures.
The satellite venue
YAMANASHI Emiko, Deputy Director General at Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) gave a lecture entitled “The project of compiling the Year Book of Japanese Art as a legacy of the Hakuba-Kai” on March 25th, 2021. Currently, the Year Book of Japanese Art (the Year Book ) that TOBUNKEN publishes compiles annual developments in the Japanese art world two years ago, which is made up of “annals,” “art exhibitions,” “bibliography of art literature,” and “the deceased.” We have published the Year Book since 1936, which was not disrupted by the difficult times during and after the war and has continued up until today. Its unique composition was invented by IWAMURA Tōru (1870 – 1917), an art critic who maintained close relations with KURODA Seiki and KUME Keiichiro. Regarding how it has developed and changed thereafter, she delivered a lecture from her viewpoint as a researcher of modern Japanese art history and based on a wealth of experience that she had accumulated. As the number of art exhibitions has risen and the scope of “art” has widened in recent years, there are various challenges. She concluded her lecture by emphasizing the importance of sharing common awareness of the issues to continue with its publication and the significance of a public institution like TOBUNKEN continuing to publish the Year Book. In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the lecture was conducted online while participants viewed her presentation from the seminar room at TOBUNKEN, which served as a satellite venue, their respective workplaces or homes. Further, the video of the lecture was published via TOBUNKEN’s YouTube channel for a limited period of time until April 30, 2021. Yamanashi resigned as Deputy Director General as of the end of March 2021 and assumed a role as a visiting researcher starting in April 2021 and continues to provide cooperation to our activities at TOBUNKEN.
Production of Uda paper (video)
Production of a paper for repair and conservation (video)
Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) has carried out the Cooperative Program for the Conservation of Japanese Art Objects Overseas since 1990. To date, it has conserved 385 pieces of paintings and crafts owned by art museums in many parts of the world, including Europe, North America, and Australia. According to the initial plan, the conserved works of art in this program were supposed to return home in fiscal 2020 and an exhibition was due to be organized, wherein restoration techniques, materials, and tools would also have been presented; we had accordingly made preparations. In order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus infectious disease (COVID-19), however, we decided to postpone the exhibition.
Instead, we have recently launched a special website as something we can do even under constraints on the moves of people and goods. On this website, we introduce works of Japanese arts and crafts that we planned to exhibit, museums that own them in Europe and the U.S., and a list of works that have been conserved in searchable database format. As for those of which reports have already been published, you can read the text online as well. Further, there are a wide variety of traditional materials necessary to restore cultural properties. Moreover, a video is posted to explain, among others, Uda paper, which is used for the final and the backmost lining of a hanging scroll and a paper to be used to repair or restore the honshi (the paper on which a painting or calligraphy is drawn). These are designated as the national selected preservation technique for cultural properties. This video allows you to understand that various kinds of wisdom and ingenuity are brought together to hand down traditional techniques from generation to generation and conserve cultural properties amid Japanese traditional culture and natural environment. Let us take this opportunity to encourage you to visit the site. For your information, the preparations for the exhibition and production of the website were carried out as part of the Japan Cultural Expo.
Onsite investigation on Kozo (Daigo, Ibaraki)
Straw-made peeling board (Tool to peel Kozo)
Small knife to peel Kozo
Traditional materials and tools are indispensable for the restoration of fine arts and crafts. It has been harder to get such tools and materials in recent years. They are natural materials or are made from them, so it is becoming difficult to secure adequate resources due to changes occurring in the climate and environment. Additionally, a number of artisans who produce such tools and materials find it difficult to find a successor due to social changes such as an aging population even if the resources are secured. There are many such problems. Examples include Noriutsugi (Hydrangea paniculata) / Tororoaoi (Abelmoschus manihot) used for Neri (dispersants/thickeners) and silken threads to weave Sukisu (bamboo screen)—both of which are necessary for traditional Japanese papermaking—Tonoko and Jinoko (clay or soil powder) used for wood crafts, and silken threads produced using a traditional technique. It is difficult to secure the resources for these natural materials.
Concerned about this situation, the Agency for Cultural Affairs launched the “Support for the Management of Tools and Materials Used for the Preservation and Restoration of Fine Arts and Crafts” in FY2020. It is a financial support project for those who produce the tools and materials necessary for the preservation and restoration of fine arts and crafts. In order to receive a subsidy from the project, it is required to justify the necessity of the tools and materials based on scientific evidence and submit such data as videos of the production process and records of the tools/materials used for the restoration of cultural properties. Under these circumstances, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties has investigated the tools and materials from the perspective of them not being produced in the future and provided support to those who produce such tools and materials in response to the request of the Agency for Cultural Affairs since FY2018. In FY2020, we conducted onsite investigations on Tororoaoi (Abelmoschus manihot) and Kozo (Broussonetia kazinoki x B. papyrifera) in Ibaraki; silken threads produced using a traditional technique in Nagano in September; Kozo (Broussonetia kazinoki x B. papyrifera) and tools to make Washi (traditional Japanese paper) in Kochi in October; and Tonoko (clay or soil powder) in Kyoto in November. In the case of scientific evidence is required during the course of an investigation, we conduct timely analysis to ascertain the validity and importance of the traditional tools and materials so that we can contribute to the implementation of measures to preserve future cultural properties.
Online Annual Meeting
Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties has been carrying out our joint research project with Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures in the United Kingdom since 2013. The Sainsbury Institute, one of the research centers for Japanese arts and cultures in Europe, collects information on Japanese art-related publications written in non-Japanese languages and Japanese art exhibitions held outside of Japan. They provide this information to the Tobunken Research Collections (https://www.tobunken.go.jp/archives/). On the Tobunken Research Collections database, you can access information about Japanese art studies and research trends in and outside of Japan.
Until 2019, our staff used to visit the Sainsbury Institute in Norwich, England, once every year to discuss the database and deliver some lectures. However, our annual visit had to be canceled this year due to COVID-19. Instead, it was conducted online on November 26, 2020. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a long-lasting global impact, the open-access database and publications, accessible anytime and anywhere, have played an important role and are more indispensable for research than ever before. We discussed initiatives to ensure the services would be available for a wider range of users. The discussion started at 5:00 p.m. in Tokyo and 8:00 a.m. in the U.K., with a 9-hour time difference between both venues. However, as we had a face-to-face discussion and shared as much information as possible, it was a meaningful interaction which will help sustain our joint project into the future. We are going to continue the joint projects with the Sainsbury Institute for the upcoming medium-term plan covering FY 2021–2025.
Handing materials over the counter equipped with plastic sheets to prevent droplet infection due to COVID-19.
We reopened the Library of our Institute on June 10th after keeping it temporarily closed since February 28th, 2020, as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19. As a continued preventive measure against infection, we have reduced the number of hours and the number of days it is open. Visitors are required to make a reservation in advance, wear a facemask and use nitrile rubber gloves in the Library. We regret the inconvenience caused by this policy. Our staff have been making their best efforts to provide necessary service, securing the safety of all users and staff, while the risk of infection is still high. We deeply appreciate your understanding and kind cooperation.
Please visit the following link to make a reservation.
We also provide a remote copy service, which enables you to obtain necessary materials from home. Although it may take some time before the materials reach you due to a lack of staff working here, it is still well worth trying. We highly recommend that you utilize this option.
The screen of Tobunken OPAC
An art exhibition catalog issued in the Meiji period, which is downloadable in PDF format
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Library of Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties has been temporarily closed since February 28th, 2020, like other facilities of the Independent Administrative Institution, National Institutes for Cultural Heritage. We apologize for any inconvenience. Since the government declared a state of emergency, many staff members of this Institute have been staying home. Thus, countless numbers of people have been forced to suspend their studies at school or at work throughout the world.
Under the circumstances, you can make full use of databases or open access materials via the Internet. The Institute has been working on digitalizing its collection and promoting their further utilization. Through the joint project with Getty Research Institute, we opened to the public more than 900 art exhibition catalogs issued from the Meiji period to the early Showa period on the Internet in October 2019. We are now digitalizing almost 730 titles (1,700 issues) of books printed from woodblocks in the Edo period, which are owned by the Institute, to guarantee their open access. These books will be searchable for browsing from the Getty Research Portal in 2020.
You can browse the digital collection through the joint project with Getty Research Institute from here:
You can access “Journal of Art Studies,” “Science for Conservation,” “Research and Reports on Intangible Cultural Heritage,” “Yearbook of Japanese Art,” and other publications from the repository of the Institute:
In addition, you can search for a wide variety of research materials stored in the Institute’s databases through “Tobunken Research Collection”:
We will continue to provide access to free research materials from anywhere, at any time, for the convenience of more researchers.
The Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems creates digital contents of any artworks investigated and studied at Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, to release it for the Library. We have released the digital content of “Yojinsogakuzu Byobu” (Scenes of European Ways of Life; Important Cultural Property), owned by the Eisei Bunko Museum—it is one of the early Western-influenced works in Japanese painting, where Western people, manners and customs, and landscapes are depicted with Western-influenced techniques. A careful examination of this work shows that unique techniques, different from those of ordinary Japanese paintings, are used for the folding screen, a typical painting format in Japan. We created this digital content according to the report issued by the Institute in 2015. The dedicated computer in the Library shows the research results, such as the high-resolution color image, near infrared image, and the results of the analysis of coloring material using X-ray fluorescence technologies. This computer may only be used for academic or research purposes, and copying or printing the digital content is prohibited. However, you may freely access the large amount of artwork information containing a variety of digital images. The dedicated computer is available during the Library’s opening hours. Please refer to the following URL for the instructions on use:
A scene from the lecture; Photo by Sainsbury Institute/Andi SAPEY
The Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC), located in
Norwich, the country capital of Norfolk, UK, is among the most prominent institutions for the
study of Japanese arts and culture in Europe. SISJAC and Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties have been working on a joint project, “Shaping the Fundamentals of Research on Japanese Art,” since 2013. Through this project, documents related to Japanese art that are written in English and published outside Japan are provided by SISJAC and made available on the Institute’s website. Also, as part of the project, researchers of the Department ofArt Research, Archives and Information Systems have been visiting Norwich annually to hold consultations with SISJAC and conduct lectures on related topics. In fiscal 2019, two researchers, EMURA Tomoko and MAIZAWA Rei, visited Norwich from November 20th to 23rd for this purpose.
During the consultation, various issues were addressed, including the number of people accessing the data provided by SISJAC, as well as problems related to a system of transcribing the collected data in general, and the link structure of the web. The Institute and SISJAC agreed to continue the project to ensure better database construction and active data utilization.
On November 21st, EMURA conducted a lecture titled, “The Expression of the Four Seasons in Japanese Paintings,” at the Weston Room of Norwich Cathedral, with interpretation provided by Dr. Simon KANER, Executive Director of the Sainsbury Institute. The lecture was conducted as part of a regular lecture event focused on general audience and offered by SISJAC on every third Thursday of the month. This event saw an attendance of about 150 people, who asked a number of questions after the lecture, thus showing the popularity of Japanese art in the UK. The Institute will globally transmit further information on Japanese art through effective collaboration with SISJAC.
Digital content of “Kichijoten” on a computer screen
The Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems creates digital contents of any artworks investigated and studied at Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties to release those at the Library. We began releasing the digital content of “Kichijoten” (Beauty Goddess; National Treasure), owned in Yakushiji Temple in Nara. “Kichijoten” is the oldest existing picture and considered to have been created at Yakushiji Temple as the principal image for Kichijo-keka (confession of faults to Kichijoten). It is well known as a rare painting from the Nara period. The Institute conducted a joint research with the Nara National Museum, and we created this digital content according to the report on the research results issued in 2008. The dedicated computer in the Library shows the research results, such as the high-resolution color image, fluorescence image, near infrared image, X-ray image, and the results of the analysis of coloring material using X-ray fluorescence technologies. This computer may only be used for academic or research purposes and copying or printing the digital content is prohibited. However, you may freely access the large amount of artwork information containing a variety of digital images. The dedicated computer for viewing images is available during the opening hours of the Library. Please refer to the following URL for the instructions for use:
“Saichufu” digital content screen
Color image and near-infrared image comparative viewing screen
Enlarged partial detail
The Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems creates digital content involving investigative research on artworks pursued by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and displays the content in the Library. The digital content of “Saichufu (Compendium of Vegetables and Insects)” (important cultural property) by ITO Jakuchu in the collection of the Yoshizawa Memorial Museum of Art, Sano (https://www.city.sano.lg.jp/museum/) has now been completed. A dedicated terminal can be used to view the results of color material studies through high-definition color images, near-infrared images, and fluorescent X-ray analysis. While they can only be viewed for academic and research purposes and copies cannot be made, an abundant amount of information on artworks can be freely referenced by applying digital image characteristics. “Saichufu” is the only silk scroll color painting by ITO Jakuchu in existence. The painting depicts approximately 100 species of vegetables and fruits and over 50 species of insects and amphibians, and is known for its delicate and quaint expressiveness. The image viewing terminal can be used during the hours when the Library is operational. Please refer to the following link if you would like to use it:
The workshop is in session.
The Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems held their 8th workshop on January 29th, 2019, and gave presentations on the following two subjects.
– Tomoko EMURA: “The Eyes and Hands of Ichimatsu Tanaka—Materials of Ichimatsu Tanaka; centered on survey on paintings recorded by Ichimatsu Tanaka while he was residing in Tsuruoka”
– Ms. Takiko TATARA (part-time instructor, Kyoto University of Art and Design): “Signs of Changeover of Generations in the Modern Kyoto Art World—Point on materials formerly owned by Tsuyoshi Doi”
This seminar was related to Exhibition “Making notes of Japanese Art History―The research notes of Aimi Kōu, Tanaka Ichimatsu, and Doi Tsugiyoshi,” which was held at Jissen Women’s University’s Kosetsu Memorial Museum and Kyoto Institute of Technology’s Museum and Archives from May through August 2018 (cf. our May 2018 monthly report), and we also unveiled additional materials that were discovered after the exhibition. This seminar attracted many researchers from inside and outside Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and lively discussions were held from a variety of angles. Both Ichimatsu Tanaka and Tsugiyoshi Doi were researchers who built the foundation for research into Japanese art history, authored a large number of books and chalked up a substantial track record, and their records, which underpinned their research, and the materials they collected must be better assembled in the form of an archive. We will organize the staggering amount and variety of analogue materials by leveraging digital features in a bid to create an archive of cultural properties that will contribute to a wider range of research down the road.