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

The JAL Project 2014: for inviting, giving to training to, and exchanging with, Japanese-art librarians from outside Japan

The JAL Project During a tour of the Institute

 The JAL Project (Head of the Executive Committee: KAMOGAWA Sachio, the Director of the Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo) seeks to invite specialists dealing with Japanese artworks overseas (such as librarians and archivists) to visit Japan. The Project also seeks to foster a network of specialists in Japanese artworks. In addition, the Project seeks to reconsider the way in which information on and documentation of Japanese art is provided based on feedback from specialists who have visited Japan as part of the Project. The Project started this year. TANAKA Atsushi, Assistant Director General of the Institute, and KIKKAWA Hideki, an Associate Fellow of the Institute, were tapped to join the Executive Committee of the JAL Project. Mr. KIKKAWA has met with potential invitees in their home countries, he provides them with training guidance, and he accompanies them during their tours of institutions in Japan.
 Ann ADACHI-TASCH is one of the invitees the JAL Project. Ms. ADACHI-TASCH served as the program coordinator for the C-MAP global research initiative of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. MIZUTANI Takeshi (a member of the Project’s Executive Committee and a librarian at the Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo) and Mr. KIKKAWA toured MoMA QNS and the EAT with Ms. ADACHI-TASCH on November 12.
 Seven specialists were invited to visit Japan, and these visitors received training at institutions in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nara starting on December 1. On December 3, the specialists visited the Institute, where they were given an overview of the Institute and its project to create an archive of cultural properties. The specialists examined library materials, photographs of studied artworks, and artist files . And then They exchanged information with researchers from the Institute. The specialists offered suggestions such as enhanced content in Romanized Japanese to facilitate dissemination of information overseas and allowing open access to photographs from studies. On the final day of training (December 11), an open workshop was held in the lecture hall of the Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. This workshop provided a good opportunity to gain a fresh sense of what information on cultural properties is desired in the US and Europe.

Participation in a symposium commemorating the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the PoNJA-GenKon listserve group and tours of libraries with art-related collections and archives

Day 2 of the Symposium (at the Japan Society)

 On September 12 and 13, 2014, a symposium was held to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Post-1945 Japanese Art Discussion Group/Gendai Bijutsu Kondankai (PoNJA-GenKon). The symposium (co-organized by Department of East Asian Studies at New York University [Associate Professor Thomas Looser] and PoNJA-GenKon) was entitled “For a New Wave to Come: Post-1945 Japanese Art History Now” and was held at the Drawings and Prints Study Center of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York University, and the Japan Society. PoNJA-GenKon seeks to provide a forum for experts in the English-speaking world to discuss their interest in contemporary Japanese art. PoNJA-GenKon has previously organized symposia and panel discussions in cooperation with universities, research institutes, and art museums such as the University of Michigan, the Getty Research Institute, and the Guggenheim Museum. On Day 1 of the workshop, the author of this article, Hideki KIKKAWA, delivered a presentation entitled “Seeing A Panorama of Sightseeing Art at Tama: Nakamura Hiroshi’s Notebook at Tobunken.” Panorama is a drawing of the exhibition “Sightseeing Art at Tama River Exhibition” in March 1964 by “Sightseeing Art Research Institute,”, and this drawing is now in the collection of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. KIKKAWA’s presentation used the drawing and video to describe the exhibition in detail, and the presentation also examined its significance to the art scene at the time. The symposium featured 16 research presentations by specialists and academics. A panel discussion took place each session and featured active discussions.
 The symposium was accompanied by tours of libraries with art-related collections and archives (such as C.V. Starr East Asian Library at Columbia University,Watson Library at Metropolitan Museum of Art,Archive at MoMA, and the Art & Architecture Collection at New York Public Library). The author of this article discussed research materials on Japanese art with representatives of those institutions.
 The author’s participation in the symposium and tours of facilities were made possible thanks to the Japan Foundation.

Redesign of the Information retrieval system for the Research Materials Database

Top page of The Information retrieval system for the Research Materials Database

 The Information retrieval system for the Research Materials Database  ( has been redesigned. This redesign reflects some of the work to create an Institute-wide research materials archive by the Archives Working Group last year. The Working Group falls under the Institute’s Archives Management Committee. The redesign involved extensive revamping of both the operability of the Information retrieval system and database content.
 The Institute’s Research Materials Database made information on Japanese volumes and in sales catalogs available online in 2002. Since then, the database has made available library information from different departments, information on sources in related fields, information on exhibitions, and information on traditional musical instruments. The database distributes useful content specific to institutes researching cultural properties. That said, database users asked for improved operability since they wanted to be able to Search Across Multiple Databases in the System, perform an Advanced Search Using Multiple Keywords, or Sort Search Results. The database was previously constructed using SQL, which is a database language, and Microsoft’s ASP.NET, which is a web application framework. These components have been changed to a combination of MySQL and WordPress (PHP). As a result, problems have been resolved and the database’s operability has improved.
 Content has been increased so that the database now has 530,000 pieces of information on papers and articles featured in the Institute’s publications. Previously, the database only included papers featured in the research journals Bijutsu Kenkyu (The Journal of Art Studies), Geino no Kagaku (Performing Arts Studies), and Science for Conservation. Now, however, the database includes various reports of research results, the Yearbook of Japanese Art, TOBUNKEN News(News from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo), and Annual Reports. The database also includes bulletins and articles besides papers. As a result, access to articles describing the status of research projects and the Institute’s research results has improved.
Approaches to facilitate access to highly specialized information and allow its efficient use are being considered. If you have any comments or questions about using the system, please let us know by using the database’s Comments or Questions form (ご意見・お問い合わせ).

Seminar on Aspects of Art Archives held

 As part of a research project on General Research regarding the Utilization of Research on Cultural Properties, KAJIYA Kenji (Hiroshima City University) and UESAKI Sen (Keio University Art Center) were invited to attend a seminar on archives of modern art in Japan and the US on February 25th. Also present at the seminar was KIKKAWA Hideki, an Associate Fellow in the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems. The seminar took place in the Institute’s seminar hall.
 The first portion of the seminar featured individual presentations. Citing the example of the letters of Clement GREENBERG, Mr. KAJIYA described his use of archival institutions in the US (such as the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art, the Getty Research Institute, and MoMA) from the perspective of an art historian. Mr. UESAKI used the Sogestsu Art Center’s database of ephemera to describe the thoughts of an archivist. Mr. KIKKAWA sought to provide an introduction to archive materials as a librarian by citing an example of notes made by the artist NAKAMURA Hiroshi. In the second portion of the seminar, a discussion took place based on the individual presentations that had been given. During the discussion, similarities and differences in how the presenters viewed archives from their individual perspectives became apparent. The Seminar had 95 attendees, which included personnel not affiliated with the Institute. Experts actively exchanged opinions during the event. The seminar provided a good opportunity to reconsider Archives that are Instrumental to Art Studies.

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