|■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
Leaflet for the 8th public lecture by the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage
Following the public lecture it offered last year, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage offered another public lecture on materials in the Institute’s collection. The lecture sought to inform the broader general public of the existence of materials that the Department had assembled for research purposes.
The lecture discussed long-playing records (LPs) from Nitto Records (the Nitto Gramophone Company). Nitto Records was a record label established in Osaka, and the company sold LPs in the early Showa period (the 1920s). The LPs recorded sound in a different format than that used in typical records, hampering the ability of present-day listeners to listen to the LPs.
Nitto Records’ LPs feature KATSURA Harudanji the first [note: multiple generations of rakugo (Japanese comic storytelling) performers often adopt stage names derived from their master’s name, hence “the first”, “the second,” etc.], TACHIBANAYA Kakitsu the second, and SHOFUKUTEI Shikaku the second (SHOFUKUTEI Shokaku the fifth), who were rakugo performers typical of the pre-war Kamigata style (from Osaka and surrounding areas). Some of the performances by these performers are found only on Nitto Records’ LPs, and the recorded performances are very interesting in terms of their execution. During the 8th public lecture, attendees took whatever time was available to listen to excellent performances of Kamigata rakugo from the early Showa period.
IKENAGA Fumio, the chief priest of the Myogan-ji Temple (right)
portable player of the Filmon sound-belt
The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo has conducted joint studies of Filmon sound-belts with the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, Waseda University. Some of the results of those studies were previously reported in the March 2011 edition (Vol. 5) of Research and Reports on Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Filmon endless sound-belts are a special type of audio recording medium (record) developed in pre-war Japan. At the time, the most ubiquitous records were 78 rpm records that had an average recording time of about 3 minutes. In contrast, Filmon sound-belts could record performances of 30 minutes or longer. These sound-belts were a ground-breaking invention, but they were produced only for a short period from 1938 to 1940. Moreover, they required a special player, so after the war they were soon forgotten. Only a few sound-belts and players have survived until today.
About 120 types of sound-belts appear to have been sold. When the report mentioned earlier was written, 85 types were thought to have survived. Late last year, information became available that Myogan-ji Temple in Niigata Prefecture (Maki Ward, City of Joetsu) had a number of sound-belts in its collection, so the sound-belts were surveyed in October with the assistance of the Temple’s chief priest, IKENAGA Fumio. The survey found 49 types of sound-belts in the collection, and 16 of these types had not been seen before. Moreover, few portable players remain, but the Temple had one in working order. The survey was also a major milestone in terms of on-site studies.
The sound-belts in Myogan-ji Temple’s collection consist of a number of public performances, most of which are Rokyoku or recited stories accompanied by music. According to the Temple’s chief priest, the Temple’s former chief priest, the late IKENAGA Takakatsu, fashioned a setup for wire broadcasts on the main building of Myogan-ji Temple (broadcasts started in 1937) because the region had little entertainment (it currently takes about an hour to reach the Temple by car from the JR Takada Station, which is the closest station). Apparently, the late IKENAGA Takakatsu bought large numbers of recordings to broadcast (primarily in the form of long recordings on Filmon sound-belts) along with players. Several broadcast facilities from that time still remain. The collection is also a wealth of material in terms of the history of folk culture in the region.
‘Research and Reports on Intangible Cultural Heritage’
Volume 6 of ‘Research and Reports on Intangible Cultural Heritage’ was published in March 2012. This volume includes not only research and reports relating to intangible cultural heritage, but also the transcriptions of the public scholarship lecture, “Records of the Shuni-e Ritual (Omizu-tori) at Todaiji Temple,” held on October 22, 2011 sponsored by the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, as well as the planned discussion between Mr. HASHIMOTO Shoen, Choro (the head monk) of Todaiji Temple, and Ms. SATO Michiko, an emeritus researcher at the Institute. The topics covered in this discussion would be very interesting not only for the participants who were at the lecture, but also for anyone who is interested in the Shuni-e Ritual at Todaiji or in Japanese traditional events and performing arts. As with the previous volumes, the PDF version of all pages will be made public on our website.
A Kodan performance by ICHIRYUSAI Teisui
Documentation of Kodan, a form of storytelling, by the Research Institute started in 2002 (at the time, the department responsible was the Department of Performing Arts, National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Tokyo). Since that first recording, the Department recorded performances of 2 long Kodan (a Jidai-mono, or period drama, and a Sewa-mono, or a story about the lives of ordinary people) by Mr. ICHIRYUSAI, Teisui, a preserver of the Important Intangible Cultural Property of Kodan. Performances of the Jidai-mono Tenmei-shichisei-dan (recorded 12 times from June 11, 2006 to December 26, 2005) and Sengoku-Sodo (23 times from February 9, 2006 to November 22, 2011) and the Sewa-mono Midorinohayashi-gokanroku (20 times from June 11, 2006 to February 13, 2008) by Mr. Ichiryusai have been completely recorded. Recording of the 3rd Jidai-mono, Nanba-senki, began on February 14, 2012. The story tells of the Osaka Fuyu no Jin and Natsu no Jin (the winter siege and then summer siege of Osaka Castle) when the Toyotomi Clan was destroyed by Tokugawa Ieyasu.
The Department plans to continue recording Kodan with the cooperation of Mr. Ichiryusai. (the Sewa-mono Bunka-shiranami is now being recorded).
A talk underway
Exhibition at the Heiseikan
The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage held an annual public lecture at the Heiseikan of the Tokyo National Museum on October 22nd. The lecture dealt with recordings of the Shuni-e Ritual (Omizu-tori), held annually at Todaiji Temple, among materials in the Department’s collection. On-site recordings have continued to be made since 1967, resulting in an extensive collection including more than 400 10-inch open-reel tapes. Some of the recordings were played for the audience in between talks by the invited speakers, Mr. HASHIMOTO Shoen, Cyo-ro (the head monk) of Todaiji Temple, who confined himself to the temple for prayer from the 1960s to the 1990s, and Ms. SATO Michiko, an emeritus researcher at the Institute who played a leading role in the recording work. An exhibition displaying rare materials related to Shuni-e was also featured at the Heiseikan.
The lecture and the exhibition were well-received by 200 or more participants. An overview of the lecture, including interesting stories told by Mr. Hashimoto and Ms. Sato in their talks, will be presented in the next Research and Reports on Intangible Cultural Heritage, Vol. 6, to be published in March 2012.
Filmon endless sound-belt recording of “Talking Books: Helen Keller” in the Osaka University of Arts Museum
The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage is conducting joint research with the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, Waseda University into the Filmon endless sound-belt, which is a long-playing record invented in Japan. Since this sound-belt was produced only from 1913 to 1915 in pre-war Japan, very few recordings have survived. An audio recording of Helen Keller was known to have been made during her first visit to Japan in 1937, but the actual Filmon sound-belt had long been lost. During the course of this research, the sound-belt was found to be in the Osaka University of Arts Museum. This is apparently the only recording of Keller’s voice from her trips to Japan and thus has historical value. The recording was featured in the evening edition of the Yomiuri Shimbun on August 18th.
An overview of the Filmon endless sound-belt was presented in Research and Reports on Intangible Cultural Heritage, Vol. 5, published in March 2011. Plans are to describe some details, like what was recorded, in this year’s Report.
An illustration from “Yokobue Saiku Shiritu Binran”
Results of a 5-year project concerning “Study of the Conservation and Transmission of Intangible Cultural Properties” that started in 2006 were reported in March 2011. The report describes 3 documents regarding the conservation and transmission of intangible cultural properties:
“Yokobue Saiku Shiritu Binran”—a handbook on the manufacture of the Japanese transverse flute
“Gidayu-bushi no Syurui to Kyokusetu”—Records of the Gidayu-bushi of Bunraku, with the categorization of their tunes and melodies.
“Edo-komon Gijyutsu Kiroku”—Records of the manufacturing process and history of Edo-Komon
A PDF version of the document in its entirety will be made available on our website.
Listening at the survey on important intangible cultural property at the inheriting hall (Ms. Han Sang Soo, an important intangible cultural property holder in embroidery)
Mr. Hyoki of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage visited the Division of Folklore and Folklife of the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage, Korea from June 28 to July 8. His visit was in the framework of exchange between Japan and Korea on research related to conserving intangible cultural heritage. He received training on how to protect intangible cultural heritage in South Korea. In the past two years, training sessions and surveying had been conducted on the status of archiving the records on intangible cultural heritage in Korea. This year, we investigated the way the Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea is performing intensive data management on the recordings produced by the relevant organizations. We also examined the guidelines on creating standard data of cultural property recording projects. We carried out our investigations by listening to the people involved. We also conducted a survey on the current status and issues of the inheriting instructor system that is a feature of the system for protecting intangible cultural properties in Korea. We listened to the Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea and the holder of intangible cultural property (conservation society of Pilbong peasant music).
Filmon Sound Belt
The Filmon Sound Belt is a special storage medium (a kind of record) developed in prewar Japan. The shape is an endless tape made of synthetic resin (approximately 13 m long), and it is said that the tape can record sound for up to 36 minutes. The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage owns five such sound belts. Since a special player is needed to play them and very few players now remain, it has not been possible to even check what is recorded on them up to now.
Since last year, the Department has been researching the Filmon sound Belts jointly with the Theatre Museum of Waseda University (Collaborative Research Center for Theatre and Film Arts). The Theatre Museum stores the players in a playable state, so digitizing the sounds played back by the players is also included in the investigation plan.
At present, we have confirmed there are a total of more than 100 sound belts in existence when including those stored in the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage and Theatre Museum and those owned privately. Unfortunately, quite a few of these sound belts are hard to play back since they have deteriorated noticeably through age, but we are now working to obtain playback sound from as many belts as possible.
The ‘Research and Reports on Intangible Cultural Heritage’ volume 4 was issued in March 2010. This year volume includes the three reports which relate directly to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage: “Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Now in Its Implementation Phase” by Mr. Miyata Shigeyuki, “Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region, Classification of Items Listed on the Representative Lists and the Function of Specialized Institutions” by Ms. Matsuyama Naoko, and “Challenges of Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage – Visiting various regions in Japan and Asia-Pacific countries” by Mr. Hoshino Hiroshi. The Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage went into effect on April 20, 2006. The understanding and handling of cultural heritage vary depending on the countries that ratified the convention because of the circumstances of each country, and so this situation is fraught with versatile and complicated issues. The reports show a portion of these circumstances. As with the previous volumes, the PDF version of all pages will be made public on our website.
On January 14, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage held a symposium entitled “Current status and issues on protection measures in Asia-Pacific region countries” in the seminar room of the Institute with 11 Japanese and overseas conservation specialists. A report on the symposium has been issued recently. View the following page for the PDF version:
Activity to pass on textile dyeing technique at Bhutan Textile Art Museum
Activity to pass on traditions at Tonga College of Education (ceremony of “Kaba”)
Activity to pass on traditions at Tonga College of Education (creation of tapa cloth)
The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage is surveying the protection status of intangible cultural heritage in the Asia-Pacific region in the framework of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. In February, we dispatched a mission to Thailand, Bhutan and other Pacific nations (Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand, Fiji and Palau) to listen to the persons in charge of intangible cultural heritage in governments and relevant organizations and exchange opinions. Thailand was strengthening its domestic structure for protecting intangible cultural heritage in anticipation of ratifying the Convention, and Bhutan started to record its intangible cultural heritage and create a database after ratifying the Convention and has made preparations for drafting a domestic law. The Pacific nations are keen to conclude the Convention, but have major issues in improving their domestic structures to implement the Convention. We plan to continue surveying what issues the Asia-Pacific region countries face and how we can have exchange and cooperation in the field of research on protecting intangible cultural heritage under the Convention.
Lecture by Ms. Kiyoe Sakamoto, Professor at Japan Women’s University
The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage held a fourth public lecture on Wednesday, December 16 at the Hall of the Edo-Tokyo Museum.
These past several years the public lecture sessions have used a theme of listening to audio recordings which have been recorded by the Cultural Properties Protection Commission (currently the Agency for Cultural Affairs) as part of its activities on the protection of cultural properties. This year we took up the second dan “Kikaigashima” of “Heike Nyogonoshima”, recorded in March 1949, under the title “Oral tradition of Gidayubushi”.
Performers Toyotake Yamashironoshojo (1878-1967) and Tsurusawa Seiroku IV (1889-1960) were certified as the holders of important intangible cultural properties for Ningyo Jorur (Japanese puppet show) Bunraku Dayu (singer) and Ningyo Joruri Bunraku Shamisen, when the system started in 1955; in other words, they were living national treasures. The many recordings they left are approved as superbly normative performances even today. “Kikaigashima-no-dan (Shunkan)” is one of those recordings as well.
In the first half of the lecture session, we considered the meaning of the recordings and the relationship they currently have with oral tradition, and in the second half we enjoyed the consummate art of both performers, listening to half of the entire recording.
Photos of Kabuki Taken by Umemura Yutaka
The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage is proceeding with arranging Kabuki photos taken by Mr. Umemura Yutaka and donated in autumn 2007.
The photos include snapshots of actor interviews in 1955 and later as well as the photos of backstage staff. They are highly valuable materials for studying the history of performance art.
The arrangement of these materials started in 2008, and some of the achievements were reported in Volume No. 3 of the Study Report on Intangible Cultural Heritageas an introduction of materials.
Because the number of photos is enormous, we are now currently focusing on the photos of Kabuki actors playing on stage, and proceeding with arrangements, while confirming the performance dates and actors chronologically. We have arranged 1,041 photos as of this October, and will complete the arrangements of monochrome stage photos in the Showa 30s (1955-1964) within this year, together with the work finished in the previous year and shown in the above-mentioned report.
Recording a Story Told by Master Storyteller Kanda Shori
The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage has been recording live performances of historical narratives told by master storytellers Ichiryusai Teisui and Takarai Bakin since 2002 (the former Department of Performing Arts). We asked both masters to perform continuous performance of long stories, opportunities for which are less frequent in recent years. Starting this year, master storyteller Kanda Shori has also assisted us. Shori also excels in performing long, continuous stories. From his large repertoire, he selected Tokugawa Tenichibo (a samurai story) and Banzuiin Chobei (a townsman story). The first recording was conducted on September 29.
Recording of a Noh song by Master Imai Yasuo
The first time we asked Master Imai Yasuo, the eldest Noh actor of Hosho style, to record a ban-utai (singing a piece of Noh song without musical accompaniment) was in 2005. The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage plans to record a total 100 ban (pieces) of Hosho-style Yokyoku (Noh songs) (currently 180 in number), and make two recordings per month. Hokazou, recorded on June 29, brought the number of recorded tunes to 83.
The techniques of singing Noh songs have varied somewhat depending on the historical period. Master Imai Yasuo was born in March 1921, and is still active on the stage, taking over and showing us the techniques and art of the masters of the Meiji and Taisho era.
We consider this is a great opportunity to record his excellent skills, and to pass on Noh to future generations.
‘Research and Reports on Intangible Cultural Heritage Vol. 3’
Accompanying the reorganization and change in name from the Geino Department to the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2006, the name of the report magazine was also changed from ‘Geino no Kagaku’ to ‘Research and Reports on Intangible Cultural Heritage’. This year volume 3 was issued. This volume examines intangible cultural heritage as a whole, not limited to Geino, and half of the included research papers and reports are not directly connected to “Geino”. As soon as preparations are finalized, the PDF edition of all contents will be posted on our Website in the same way as before.
Third Public Lecture by the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage
On December 16, 2008, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage held a public lecture in the large lecture room of the National Noh Theater. Since 2006, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage has held lectures on audio recordings made by the Cultural Properties Protection Comission (currently the Agency for Cultural Affairs) in the past. This year, a recording of noh-bayashi (musical accompaniment to noh) was introduced in a lecture that focused on the changes in noh as traced by audio materials.
It appears that the main purpose of the recordings of noh-bayashi made in 1951 was to document the performances of Kawasaki Kyuen, an o-tsuzumi player, and Ko Yoshimitsu, a ko-tsuzumi player. Both Kawasaki and Ko received the first individual recognition as holders of important intangible cultural properties (socalled “Living National Treasures”). This lecture allowed listeners to hear the consummate art of the two masters who supported noh in the Taisho and Showa periods and to learn about the significance of the recordings made by the Agency for Cultural Affairs in the past and the relationship of the recordings with the transmission of noh.
The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage is planning to hold another lecture next year based on audio materials made by the Commission in the past.
Ittyubushi “Futagosumidagawa” by UJI Bunga (1881－1975) and nisei UJI Shiyu (rokusei UJI Wabun: 1907－1986)
The recorded tapes collected by the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage are currently being digitized one after another. Digital conversion is not only a simple transfer of media to compact disc. Indices that match the recording contents must be attached after checking the recording (including collation with the authentication note for tape), otherwise, it will be inconvenient for future data utilization.
The TAKEUCHI Michitaka old audio data (referred to as “Takeuchi collection” hereafter), which acceptance procedure was completed in 2005, included many reel-to-reel tapes of kokyoku (katobushi, ittyubushi, miyazonobushi, ogiebushi). The performances are from the Showa 30’s, and most of them do not seem to have been recorded to be sold in market.
The photo shows a CD created from a tape of ittyubushi “Futagosumidagawa” performed by UJI Bunga (1881－1975) and nisei UJI Shiyu (rokusei UJI Wabun: 1907－1986). It is a long kokyoku with a long performance time of approximately an hour. We hope to create an environment in which all citizens have a chance to listen to antique recordings that people rarely had an opportunity to listen to.
We will open the SP records of the “Takeuchi collection” to the public in the form of catalogs when organization of data has been completed (“Geino no Kagaku 32”, “Research and Reports on Intangible Cultural Heritage Vol. 02”).”
Umemura Yutaka (June 15, 1923 – June 5, 2007) was a photographer who was in charge of the gravure pages of the magazine Engekikai. Last December, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage received negatives and photographs left by the deceased from his widow. Currently we are engaged in sorting out these materials to see how many there are. We hope to complete procedures for their official donation to the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo.
Photographs by the deceased is said to have been first published in Engekikai in 1947, but the oldest negatives and photographs donated date to around 1962. More than 10 cartons of materials were transported to the Institute. They are valuable documents of a photographer who continued to take pictures of the kabuki world in the latter half of the 20th century.