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

An Exhibition of Japanese Art in Rome in 1930: The 5th Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

Exterior of Palazzo delle Esposizioni, where the Roman Exhibition was held.
Exhibited Japanese-style paintings at tokonoma set in the gallery.

 An Exhibition of Japanese Art held in Rome, Italy in 1930 (called the “Rome Exhibition”) can be called a “legacy,” as it influenced the following generations, while at present, exhibitions that introduce Japanese art and culture are more commonly held outside of Japan. This Rome Exhibition, held with full financial backing by Baron OKURA Kishichiro, the second president of Okura Zaibatsu (Okura conglomerate), is highly recognized by its size and uniqueness. It exhibited as many as 168 modern Japanese-style paintings, and had 16 tokonoma of various sizes, recessed spaces in Japanese-style reception rooms to show paintings in an original Japanese manner.
 At a seminar on this Rome Exhibition, held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems on September 22, 2023, three researchers made presentations of the outcome of their research, which was conducted under grant by the Pola Art Foundation. Ms. TANAKA Sachiko of the Okura Museum of Art talked about Four Aspects of the Holding the Exhibition of Japanese Art in Rome in 1930, with details about the process of how the decision to hold the Rome Exhibition was made, and the involvement of the Italian contributors. Mr. YOSHII Daimon of the Yokohama History Museum presented Materials Related to the Exhibition of Japanese Art in Rome, owned by Okura Museum of Art, providing an overview of various materials, including minutes and reporting letters, held by the Okura Museum of Art. Mr. SHINOHARA, Satoshi Shinohara, of the Teaching Qualification Center and the Matsumae Commemoration Hall of Tokai University presented Japanese-style Painting Syndrome: Mainly on the works of KABURAGI Kiyokata’s Works discussing how the painters set their strategy to reach outside of Japan based on trend analysis of the painters whose works were exhibited, especially the works of KABURAGI Kiyokata.
 Because of its importance, much previous research has focused on this exhibition. The research presented in this seminar demonstrated great progress in the aspect of the discovery of related materials owned by the Okura Museum of Art. We expect further utilization of these precious materials related to the holding of the Roman Exhibition.

The Collection of HAYASHI Tadamasa-related letters and reference materials”, available on the National Museum of Western Art Website

Top page of The Collection of HAYASHI Tadamasa related letters and reference materials on the website of the National Museum of Western Art
Letter of Edmond de Goncourt to HAYASHI Tadamasa, dated August 2, 1895, in The Collection of HAYASHI Tadamasa related letters and reference materials. Goncourt (1822-1902) was a French art critic. He asked for HAYASHI Tadamasa's help in writing his now famous biography, Hokusai (published in 1896).

 HAYASHI Tadamasa (1853-1906) was an art dealer in Paris at the end of the 19th century, having dealt in Japanese paintings, ukiyo-e prints, and crafts, and is known for having led the Japonism trend. The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) has a collection of letters HAYASHI received from art critics, collectors, and art dealers between 1884, when he opened his store in Paris, and 1905, when he returned to Japan, where died the following year. In 2001, TOBUNKEN published Correspondance adressée à HAYASHI Tadamasa (in French; Kokushokankokai publisher), which is a reprinting of these letters.
 This collection of letters was deposited at the National Museum of Western Art in 2016, and in March 2023, The Collection of Hayashi Tadamasa related letters and reference materials was made public on the museum’s website.
The Collection of Hayashi Tadamasa related letters and reference materials | The National Museum of Western Art (
 This website was established as part of a National Center for Art Research project, and allows users to search for images and reprints of letters by month and year sent, sender, and list of letters. We hope that many people will use this site to contribute to the research on the history of modern French art and the history of art exchange between Japan and France.

Donation of Materials Related to Mr. SHIMAZAKI Kiyomi

Application form for membership in the Sōzō Biiku Kyōkai, 1952.
FINGER PAINTING by Ruth Faison Shaw, edited by MIYATAKE Tatsuo; 1968 edition on the left, 1955 edition on the right (Cover art by EI-Q)

 SHIMAZAKI Kiyomi (1923–2015) was an art educator who served for many years as the head office secretary of the Sōzō Biiku Kyōkai, which had a profound influence on postwar Japanese art education. SHIMAZAKI left behind a vast amount of materials related to the Sōzō Biiku Kyōkai, some of which were donated to the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) by his bereaved family.
 The materials of SHIMAZAKI Kiyomi have been researched and studied by Ms.NAKAMURA Maki, part-time employee, Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History and temporary staff, Tokyo Keizai University Historical Data Office, and were presented at the seminar of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems in 2021. The report is available at the following URL:
Activities and Archives of the Sōzō Biiku Kyōkai: the 5th Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems :: 東文研アーカイブデータベース (
 Ms. NAKAMURA also catalogued the donated materials and contributed an article titled “Art Education in Post-war Japan as Seen in the Activity Records of the Sōzō Biiku Kyōkai” to The Bijutsu Kenkyu (The Journal of Art Studies) No. 439 (March 2023), which includes an introduction. As described in this article, the donated materials include pamphlets, journals, letters to SHIMAZAKI Kiyomi, schedule books, and diaries published by the Sōzō Biiku Kyōkai, which reveal the activities of the Society as well as its interactions with artists and critics such as EI-Q and KUBO Sadajirō. We will take some time for sorting before the exhibition is open to the public, but we hope you will find it a valuable resource for research on the history of Japanese art education and art history in the postwar period.

Reading Thoughts on the Exhibition (Kokuten) by NAKAI Sotaro: The 7th Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

The seminar
Thoughts on the Exhibition (Kokuten) by NAKAI Sotaro published in Chuo Bijutsu Vol. 11, No. 1 (January 1925)

 Kokuga-Sosaku-Kyokai(Association for the Creation of National Painting)was founded by TSUCHIDA Bakusen, MURAKAMI Kagaku, and others in Kyoto, in 1918. It is renowned as one of the major innovation movements on Japanese-style paintings in the Taishō era. The ideology of this activity was based on NAKAI Sotaro (1879-1966), who taught art history at Kyoto City College of Painting (presently Kyoto City University of Arts). He was a member of Kokuga-Sosaku-Kyokai as an appraisal advisor, and published his critiques on the exhibitions (Kokuten*) and direction of the association in newspapers and art magazines.

 SHIOYA Jun provided a presentation focusing on Thoughts on the Exhibition (Kokuten) published in Chuo Bijutsu (Central Arts) Vol. 11, No. 1, in January 1925. The Thoughts on the Exhibition (Kokuten) is an article where NAKAI discussed the direction in which Kokuga-Sosaku-Kyokai and Japanese-style paintings should move, responding to the 4th Exhibition held both in Tokyo and Kyoto from 1924 through 1925. In the article, he discussed the identity of Japanese-style paintings and encouraged recognition of the tradition and the classics. I believe that he was referring to the trend of returning to the classics in the western art world, which he experienced during his European travel from 1922 to 1923. At the end of the Taishō era, neat Japanese-style paintings called “neoclassicism,” became dominant. The tone of his article Thoughts on the Exhibition (Kokuten) predicted such a movement.

 This seminar had Dr. TANAKA Shūji of Oita University and Dr. TANO Hatsuki of Shiga Museum of Art, as online commentators. They talked about the painting circle of Kyoto and NAKAI Sotaro in the discussion after the presentation. With other external researchers of Japanese modern arts, the discussion went beyond NAKAI’s remarks and Japanese-style paintings; they spoke about the art landscape from the end of the Taishō era to the early Shōwa era. The seminar involved an active, considerably lengthy exchange of opinions and information.

*Kokuten: exhibitions held by Kokuga-Sosaku-Kyokai

Tokyo National Museum 150th Anniversary ― Timely Connections: Hidden Western-Style Paintings in Tokyo National Museum

Exhibition room
Lecture speech by YOSHIDA Akiko (Evening in Brabant with a Woman Carrying Water by Rodolphe Wytsman on the screen)

 An exhibition, Timely Connections: Hidden Western-Style Paintings in Tokyo National Museum was held as one of Tokyo National Museum’s 150th Anniversary projects from June 7th to July 18th, 2022 at the Heiseikan thematic exhibition room. This exhibition was planned by Mr. OKIMATSU Kenjiro, Supervisor, Collections Management of Tokyo National Museum and Supervisor, Loan Promotion of the National Center for the Promotion of Cultural Properties. SHIOYA Jun, director and YOSHIDA Akiko, a researcher of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems participated in the preparation studies.

 Tokyo National Museum is well known for its collections of Japanese and Eastern ancient arts. Simultaneously, the museum has been collecting western-style paintings, including those by European and American painters, since the early days of the museum. This exhibition presented these western paintings in three sections: I. “Connections with the World” — artworks brought from abroad through world expositions and collection exchange projects; II. “Connections with Contemporary Art” — those collected to introduce the latest western fine arts and promote production in Japan; and III. “Connections with Social Conditions” — those collected for responding to social movements, such as natural disasters and wars.

 While preparing for this exhibition, the works were investigated by us and photographed, and material and related works were surveyed. Then, we made several findings through these surveys. Portrait of Lorenz von Stein (Austria 1887), exhibited in the section III, features Lorenz von Stein, a German jurist who contributed to draft the Constitution of the Empire of Japan. We identified his son, Alwin von Stein as its painter. The information was given by related parties who responded to Mr. OKIMATSU’s surveys and calls for information, thus contributing to this identification. Furthermore, A Painter and His Wife (the Netherland 1636), a print art by Rembrandt van Rijn, is considered to be collected by Tokyo National Museum which introduced Western modern arts for a short period after the World War II. The state of its version was successfully narrowed down by external expert’s advice. More discoveries were made through material investigation and surveys on related materials. With these activities and findings, we again recognized the significance of Tokyo National Museum’s western-style painting collection.

 As a part of this exhibition, monthly lectures titled Timely Connections: Hidden Western-Style Paintings in Tokyo National Museum were held on July 16th, 2022, wherein Mr. OKIMATSU, YOSHIDA, and SHIOYA (in speaking order)provided lectures in relay.
 Mr. OKIMATSU spoke about the overview of the entire exhibition and introduced new findings from its survey stage. Following his lecture, sub themes were discussed. YOSHIDA gave a brief history of the Belgian painter couple, Rodolphe and Juliette Wytsman and spoke about their relationship with Japan, which started with the submission of their paintings to Hakubakai, including Evening in Brabant with a Woman Carrying Water, an oil painting by Rodolphe Wytsman. Then, SHIOYA told that the Viscount Kuroda memorial Art Promotion Fund Committee was founded in the memory of KURODA Seiki, a western-style painting pioneer in Japan, and endowed western-style paintings in the pre-war Showa period including Mother and Child (1930) by MATSUSHITA Haruo and Atelier (1933) by INOKUMA Gen’ichirō.

Activities and Archives of the Sōzō Biiku Kyōkai: the 5th Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

SHIMAZAKI Kiyomi in a classroom; photo taken in 1950s.
He taught arts as an elementary school teacher, while playing a key role in Sōzō Biiku Kyōkai
Presentation at the seminar

 Have you ever heard about an organization called “Sōzō Biiku Kyōkai”? This private organization was founded in 1952 to pursue new art education that respects and nurtures children’s individual personalities. Artists such as KITAGAWA Tamiji and EI-Q, and the art critic KUBO Sadajiro played key roles in its founding. These educational activities have grown and expanded, and have resulted in the establishment of the organization’s branches all over Japan. Thus, these activities have had a huge impact on post-war art education in Japan.
 Ms. NAKAMURA Maki (part-time employee, Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History and temporary staff, Tokyo Keizai University Historical Data Office) was invited by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems to the seminar held on September 24th, 2021 on the materials left behind by SHIMAZAKI Kiyomi (1923-2015). SHIMAZAKI was an art educator and served as the Bureau Chief of the Sōzō Biiku Kyōkai. Ms. NAKAMURA gave a presentation titled “Art Education in Japan after World War II, tracked with the activity records of the ‘Sōzō Biiku Kyōkai’ – referring to the materials left by SHIMAZAKI Kiyomi.” She had interviewed SHIMAZAKI in the past, and after his death, has been engaged in organizing and studying the large amount of materials he had left behind. She explained that this organization has made immense contributions, not only by helping art education to evolve, but also by supporting artists, popularizing print arts, and nurturing art collectors.
 In the discussion following her presentation, Dr. KANEKO Kazuo, Professor Emeritus at Ibaraki University, delivered a commentary on the positioning of the Sōzō Biiku Kyōkai in post-war art education in Japan. Following this, participants from the institute and other facilities actively discussed how to conserve and utilize the materials of SHIMAZAKI Kiyomi. In the discussion, we also recognized the difficult situation related to the art education archives, for example, the fact that no institute so far has accepted these materials permanently.
 Ms. NAKAMURA brought some of the actual materials to the seminar and participants had an opportunity to see them in person. We hope that this seminar provided the participants an opportunity to understand the importance of these materials.

Publication of KUME Keiichiro’s Diary in Database Format—As a result of TOBUNKEN’s collaboration with Kume Museum of Art

Database of KUME Keiichiro’s Diary, Accounts on January 4th, 1899
The Portrait of SANO Akira by KURODA Seiki Possessed by the Tokyo National Museum

 Western-style painter KUME Keiichiro (1866 – 1934) is known as an artist who strove to revamp Japanese modern western-style painting along with his close colleague KURODA Seiki (1866 – 1924). At Kume Museum of Art in Meguro, Tokyo, which is designed to praise his achievements as a painter, Kume’s diary titled “KUME Keiichiro’s Diary” is kept and was already published (by Chuo Koron Bijutsu Shuppan in 1990). As part of a collaborative project between the museum and Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN), we began publishing the content of the diary online in database format using WordPress Content Management System (CMS) via the following URL as of March 25:

 The diary was written in part in French and the database contains the French text written until 1892 and its Japanese translation by visiting researcher SAITO Tatsuya. Further, it is linked with the database of KURODA Seiki’s diary, which had already been published online, and as for descriptions with the same dates, the two diaries can be cross-referenced. For instance, Kuroda and Kume celebrated the New Year in Numazu, Shizuoka, in 1899. In Kume’s diary on January 4th, he noted that “Kuroda portrayed Sano,” while Kuroda mentioned in his diary that “I portrayed Sano.” Sano is SANO Akira (1866 – 1955), a sculptor who enjoyed a close friendship with Kuroda and Kume.
 The portrait of Sano painted by Kuroda is a collection that was housed in the Kuroda Memorial Hall (Tokyo National Museum) in 2019. It can safely be described as an interesting example in which Kuroda and Kume’s accounts in their respective diaries are linked with the existing piece of art.
 For your information, also as a result of our collaborative study with Kume Museum of Art, we published an article, “Exchanges between KURODA Seiki and KUME Keiichiro Seen in Letters (I),” by SHIOYA Jun, ITO Fumiko (curator at Kume Museum of Art), TANAKA Jun (visiting researcher), and SAITO Tatsuya in The Journal of Art Studies Vol. 433. We compiled the letters exchanged between Kuroda and Kume as a comprehensive list to allow you to view its summary. It will be a real pleasure for us if it provides a means of looking at Japan’s modern western-style painting along with the database of Kume’s diary.

Regarding the Materials Related to UENO Naoteru — the 7th Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

UENO Naoteru (left) and KO Yu-seop (early 1930s)
Complete Works of KO Yu-seop 3 (Discussion on the aesthetics of Korean art history) (Seoul, Institute of Eastern Culture, 1993) quote from the illustrations in the volume of illustrations
Scene from the seminar

 UENO Naoteru (1882-1973) successively held important posts such as the Director of Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts and the President of Tokyo University of the Arts. He made huge contributions to the art world in a variety of ways such as teaching at universities, running museums such as art museums and protecting cultural assets, in addition to his research activities as an aesthetic and art historian. After the death of his second daughter UENO Aki (1922-2014), who was a researcher emeritus of the Institute, the materials related to Naoteru were donated to Tokyo University of the Arts, and they are currently managed by the Geidai Archives Center of Modern Art of the university.
 At the seminar of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information System held on January 28th, Ms. ONISHI Junko (part-time lecturer at the Faculty of Cross-Cultural and Japanese Studies of Kanagawa University) and Mr. TASHIRO Yuichiro (curator at The Gotoh Museum), who have organized and researched the materials related to UENO Naoteru, each gave a presentation. Until the last fiscal year, Ms. ONISH worked in the Educational Materials Office, the predecessor organization of the abovementioned center, and her presentation titled “About the materials related to UENO Naoteru: A focus on the relationship with Japanese art history” provided an overview of the materials and presented the broad nature of Naoteru’s personal network as revealed through these materials. Also, Mr. TASHIRO’s presentation titled “Handwritten scripts of KO Yu-seop found in the materials related to UENO Naoteru” introduced the letters and handwritten scripts of KO Yu-seop (1905-1944), who is currently called the father of art history research in South Korea. UENO Naoteru was a professor at Keijo Imperial University from the last year of the Taisho era to the first year of Showa era, and KO Yu-seop studied under UENO while studying at the university. The materials introduced showed the exchanges between the two men and the early period of archaeology and art history research in South Korea. In particular, the presentation by Mr. TASHIRO indicated that the materials related to UENO Naoteru were important for tracking the development process of stone monument research into which KO Yu-seop put great effort.
 Because a state of emergency was declared in response to the spread of COVID-19, the current seminar was held for the first time both in person and online. Researchers living in remote locations, including South Korea, were able to participate in the seminar, and the merits of holding a seminar online were realized.

Dissemination and Utilization of Knowledge of Art Magazine, “Mizue”: The 4th Seminar held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

A scene from the seminar

 The Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems is now actively moving forward with digitalization and open access of the archives.

 The art magazine, “Mizue,” which was first published in 1905, became available on the web in 2012 ahead of any other archived materials. The digital archive was developed jointly by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) and the National Institute of Informatics. Pages from the first issue published in the Meiji era to the 90th issue are now available on the web at
 At the seminar held on October 8th, 2020, Dr. MARUKAWA Yuzo (an Associate Professor at the National Museum of Ethnology and a visiting researcher in the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems at TNRICP), one of the development members, lectured on the topic of “Dissemination and Utilization of Related Materials in the Study of Modern Art.” Although the site already has an index of articles by the author, Dr. MARUKAWA is continuously enhancing the index by further expanding the search function. He pointed out that an enhanced index would allow for both specialization and universalization as well as the sharing of information across professional boundaries. Using the paintings and writings in “Mizue” as examples that provide information on various regions in Japan and abroad, he presented its value and attractiveness as a collection of fieldnotes that have been unrecognized by art history specialists. He also made an impressive comment that dissemination and utilization of such knowledge with infinite potential has something timeless as well as in common with the “Technology of Intellectual Production” advocated by the ethnologist, UMESAO Tadao. The Thematic Exhibition UMESAO Tadao’s 100th Anniversary: The Front-runner of Intellectual Production, of which Dr. MARUKAWA was in charge, was held (September 3rd–December 1st, 2020) at the National Museum of Ethnology, which coincided with the seminar.

“Tradition” Observed in Imperial Ceremonies in the Modern and Present Age: The 1st Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems.

The seminar

 The year 2019 witnessed the Enthronement Ceremony and Daijosai (Great Thanksgiving Ceremony). These great imperial ceremonies marked the change of the era from Heisei to Reiwa. The memory of the events is still vivid in our hearts. The graceful attire used in those ceremonies must have captivated many of you. How have a series of events that remind us of ancient ceremonies been passed down through the five eras namely the Meiji, Taisho, Showa, Heisei, and Reiwa eras? The presentation, “Imperial ceremonies in modern ages and the usages or practices of the court or military households,” by Mr. TANAKA Jun, a Visiting Researcher, in the seminar of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems held on June 23rd, 2020, depicted a few aspects of “the tradition” of the Imperial Household in the modern and present age.
 Western dress has become common even in the Imperial Household since the Meiji Era, limiting the attire of the Imperial Household to be only used in religious services and rites. Whereas the reduction of the usage of the attire threatened its discontinuation, research on the usages or practices of the court or military households began to increase in importance to avoid such a situation and the result of the research has played an important role in each imperial ceremony. As we compare the attire used in imperial ceremonies in different eras, it can be observed that it has been through not a few changes which can be attributed to visual effects and the question of expense. Mr. TANAKA’s presentation made me recognize the existence of something very common between the manner of imperial ceremonies handing down images of “tradition” while flexibly corresponding to the needs of the ages and the manner of conserving and handing down tangible and intangible cultural properties.
 This seminar convened approximately four months after the previous one with a recess in between caused by spread of the new coronavirus. As a preventive measure against viral infection, the venue was changed from the seminar room on the second floor to the seminar hall on the basement level to avoid a crowded place and close contact.

Senior Statesman INOUE Kaoru and the Meiji Culture—The 9th Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

From INOUE Kaoru’s catalog of collection, “Segaian Kanshō” (owned by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties)

 INOUE Kaoru (1835–1915) was a politician with tremendous influence in the political and business circles during the Meiji period. During the disturbances before the Meiji Restoration, he emerged as a leader of the anti-foreigner movement in his native Choshu domain, and served in several important positions in the new Meiji government, such as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Home Affairs. He is well known for leading the Westernizing policies, including Rokumeikan diplomacy, and was also a man of refined tastes who enjoyed the tea ceremony with tea masters from the business world, such as MASUDA Takashi (called MASUDA Don-oh). He collected masterpieces of oriental art, including “Momohato-zu (Pigeon on a Peach Branch)” presumedly painted by Emperor Huizong of Song. The presentation titled “Meiji Culture and INOUE Kaoru,” delivered by Dr. YODA Toru (Chief of Curators’ Section, Toyama Memorial Museum) for the 9th seminar held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems on January 21st, 2020, highlighted Inoue’s significance in cultural history.
 It is said that Inoue started collecting antiques in the early Meiji period. During the 1880s, he acquired “Jūichimen Kannonzō (Eleven-Headed Kannon, Skt. Ekadasamukha),” an excellent Buddhist artwork from the Heian period, presently owned by the Nara National Museum. He sometimes acquired masterpieces in an ungentlemanly manner as well, and published a catalog of his collection tilted “Segaian Kanshō (Appreciation of Segaian)” in 1912. Earlier, he also had invited Emperor Meiji home in 1887, and played an important role in entertainment history by showing him a Kabuki program performed by ICHIKAWA Danjuro IX as well as interacting with the comic storyteller SANYUTEI Encho.
 After the presentation by Dr. Yoda, which revealed Inoue’s involvement in Japanese culture from diverse perspectives, Mr. SAITO Yasuhiko (Professor Emeritus at the University of Yamanashi), Mr. TANAKA Sendo (Director of Santokuan), and Dr. TSUKAMOTO Maromitsu (Associate Professor at the Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, the University of Tokyo) joined the discussion. How Inoue developed his aesthetic sense while working hard as a politician is still not known though. Future research is expected to focus on his various aspects veiled in mystery.

The Friendship between KURODA Seiki and KUME Keiichiro – The 7th Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

KUME Keiichiro (left) and KURODA Seiki during their study in France
Part of the letter written to KUME Kei-ichiro by KURODA Seiki dated on April 1st, 1895, which includes the view of marriage expressed partially in French by him right after his marriage

 KURODA Seiki (1866-1924) and KUME Keiichiro (1866-1934), who learned oil painting from Raphael COLLIN––an academic painter in France––were close friends and shared an atelier. After returning to Japan, they founded a new fine art association named Hakubakai. Through their involvement in art education and administration, they endeavored to innovate and develop the sphere of Japanese oil painting.
 The Kume Museum of Art, which owns and publishes the works and materials of KUME Keiichiro, and Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, which was founded with the inheritance of KURODA Seiki, began joint research in 2016 in order to investigate the materials pertaining to their friendship. The letters exchanged between them particularly attract attention as materials that illustrate their social and professional friendship. The 7th seminar titled “Reading the Letters Written by KURODA Seiki and KUME Keiichiro” was organized by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems on December 10th, 2019. SHIOYA Jun of the Institute delivered a presentation regarding the letters written to Kume by Kuroda, while Ms. ITO Fumiko of the Kume Museum of Art addressed the letters written to Kuroda by Kume.
 The letters investigated by this research were written from the 1890s until 1925, after they returned to Japan from France. They wrote not in the epistolary style used generally at that time, but in a colloquial style to report their productions’ progress and their travel impressions. They occasionally wrote in French to secretly pour forth their feelings. In 1910 and 1911, Kume visited the UK to do clerical work for the association for exhibits for the Japan-British Exhibition. The letters written during the period¬¬––in which he detailed the exhibition, the reunion with Mr. Collin, and interaction with local painters––represent the network of oil painters of that time.
 After the presentation, two Visiting Researchers who helped us reprint the letters, Mr. TANAKA Jun and Mr. SAITO Tatsuya, joined the opinion exchange. We will release the outcomes of this research in “The Journal of Art Studies,” which will be published in the next fiscal year.

Regarding the Notes by Researcher Takurei HIRAKO: Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

Portrait of Takurei HIRAKO (taken in 1908)
From the notes of Takurei HIRAKO, a sketch of Kongo-o-bosatsu (Vajrarāja) at Kongobuji Temple on Mt. Koya which burned down in 1926. Takurei often drew sketches of the ears of Buddhist statues.

 Takurei HIRANO (1877–1911) is a Buddhist art researcher who was active between the 1890s and the 1900s. He began working for the Tokyo Imperial Museum (present day Tokyo National Museum) from 1903 and was active in the front lines of research at that time, such as through his involvement in the issue of rebuilding Horyuji Temple. He died young at the age of 35 in 1911.
 In 2014, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties received some materials in the possession of Takurei’s sculptor friend Taketaro SHINKAI (1868–1927) which included Takurei’s research notes. At the seminar which was held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems on May 31st, 2019, Dr. Tetsuei TSUDA (Aoyama Gakuin University) gave a presention on these research notes from the perspective of Buddhist art history titled, “Introduction to Research Materials: The Notes of Takurei HIRAKO Housed at Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties.”
 These notes include numerous sketches of Buddhist statues and paintings that Takuei drew at various temples in the Kansai area. Among them are detailed drawings of Buddhist statues that have now been lost and are a valuable resource for today’s researchers. In a notebook bound in Japanese style titled Kogeishiso can be found the inscription on a Buddhist statue thought to have been recorded by Takurei during its disassembly and repair. This is an example of rare information that cannot be discovered without performing similar repairs on Buddhist statues.
 After Dr. TSUDA’s presentation, Dr. Shuji TANAKA (Oita University) a specialist on modern sculpture described the relationship between Taketaro SHINKAI and Takurei, and Ms. Junko ONISHI (Tokyo University of the Arts) who is knowledgeable about the modern history of Buddhist art research described the network of researchers surrounding Takurei at the time, and information was shared. Dr. Yuzo MARUKAWA (National Museum of Ethnology) a specialist on informatics also participated in a discussion on how this material should be released and applied.

Art Critic Archives: Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

Scene of the seminar

 It can be said that what plays a major role in the world of visual arts is each piece of art created by an artist. However, it is also true that such people as artists, critics, and researchers talking with each other over pieces of art to value them comprise an essential part of the entire visual art world. The numerous remarks delivered by such people are important clues to understanding the visual arts in the era. Akihiko TAKAMI (born in 1955) who passed away suddenly at the age of 55 in 2011 was among the critics who devoted themselves to art criticism. At a seminar held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems on April 23rd, 2019, Mr. Koji KUROKAWA from Sakura City Museum of Art made a presentation about Takami’s activities as an aggressive critic.
 Mr. Kurokawa’s presentation titled “Art Critic Akihiko Takami’s Activities and Archives” was based on his careful investigation of many source materials in Takami’s archives such as manuscripts written by Takami and letters he exchanged with artists. The remaining preserved copies of Takami’s letters to artists show that he supported many young artists in their creative activities by spontaneously organizing exhibitions as a planner while writing several reviews in magazines such as BIJUTSUTECHO. At the seminar, the participants including Mr. Toshiya MOTAI, an artist who had a close relationship with Takami, openly discussed how these archives should be utilized going forward while tracing the footsteps of Akihiko Takami as an art critic. Many of the archives contain some information about artists or critics currently active in the art world and thus careful consideration must be given before disclosing them in some cases. During the discussion, the participants including Mr. Motai expressed their thoughts from different standpoints and it was a good opportunity to find a way to handle and effectively use Akihiko Takami’s archives.

The Art of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands: Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

Oleg Loshakov (1936–) (produced between 1989 and 1995). The distant mountain on the right is the snowcapped Mt. Chachadake on Kunashir Island.

 In recent years, neighboring countries such as China, South Korea, and Taiwan have made progress in researching modern and contemporary art, and opportunities to view this progress, such as at exhibitions, have increased in Japan. However, brisk artistic activities have largely been unheard of in the North of Japan, even in regions such as Sakhalin which is presently Russian territory. Mr. Hisashi YAKOU’s (Hokkaido University) presentation at a seminar held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems on March 26th entitled, “The Art of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands” was very fascinating as he described artistic trends in this region based on field work after the Second World War.
 As Sakhalin was a Japanese territory prior to the Second World War, the landscape was depicted by Japanese painters such as Shoji KIMURA (1905–91) and Kojiro FUNAZAKI (1900–87). It became a territory of the Soviet Union after the war, and Russian painters created motifs based on this region. The painter Givi Mantkava (1930–2003) who moved there from Georgia depicted the landscape of the Far East, applying a modernistic technique and laid the foundation of Sakhalin art. Numerous artists from Moscow and Vladivostok visited Kunashir (Kunashiri) Island and Shikotan Island. Among them, the activities of the Shikotan Group attracted particular attention as they spent several months of almost every summer in Shikotan Island from 1966 to 1991. Of their works, landscape paintings of Mt. Chachadake on Kunashir Island and the bay area in particular are suggestive of traditional western paintings themes, for example, on a view of Naples. Mr. YAKOU made the intriguing point that there may exist a political intent in terms of the Europeanization of the border area.

A Guide to Appreciating “KURODA SEIKI: A Selection from the Kuroda Memorial Hall Collection” Published

Cover of “KURODA SEIKI: A Selection from the Kuroda Memorial Hall Collection”

 The Kuroda Memorial Hall, one of the exhibition facilities of the Tokyo National Museum (TNM), was originally built as the Institute of Art Research, the predecessor of Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP). The memorial hall for works of Seiki Kuroda (1866-1924), a Western-style painter who was active from the late 1800s to early 1900s, was built in 1930, with his works being donated by members of his family. Against this background, even after ownership of the memorial hall was transferred to the TNM, TNRICP continued its research into the artist.
 Now, TNM and TNRICP have edited and produced a guide entitled “KURODA SEIKI: A Selection from the Kuroda Memorial Hall Collection,” to help visitors to the memorial hall appreciate his works. This 40-page guide describes his 46 main works, such as Lakeside and Wisdom, Impression, Sentiment, with color illustrations and easy to understand explanations of the masterpieces and paintings by the artist, known in Japan as “the father of modern Japanese western-style painting”. (Price: \700 including tax; for inquiries, contact Insho-sha, Sho Bldg. 7th floor, 3-14-5 Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 103-0027; Tel.: 03-6225-2277). We would be pleased if this guide can help you to appreciate his works when you visit the memorial hall.

Donation of Materials Related to Mr. Tamon MIKI

Mr. Tamon MIKI (Photographed in 1993)
The manuscript titled “Movements in the World of Sculpture in ‘91” written for the December issue in 1991 of “Sansai,” an art magazine, and its printed page

 Mr. Tamon MIKI, who passed away in April 2018 at the age of 89, wrote as an aggressive critic in modern and contemporary art with focus on sculpture. After working for the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, and the Cultural Properties Protection Department of the Agency for Cultural Affairs, he held directorial posts at the National Museum of Art, Osaka, the Tokushima Modern Art Museum, and the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum.
 His bereaved family has indicated their intention to donate his manuscripts related to fine arts to the Institute through an intermediary, Ms. Eri NAKAYAMA working as a curator for the Koriyama City Museum of Art. The manuscripts include valuable materials regarding the postwar art trends, in addition to his achievements such as fine art articles written for newspapers and magazines, notebooks with records of his overseas visits in detail, and scrapbooks to organize handouts for exhibitions held at galleries. After they are filed at this institute, they will be accessible for browsing and utilization as research materials.

Open Seminar: “Toward Sharing Information on Art Magazines”

Open Seminar: “Toward Sharing Information on Art Magazines”; On-going Discussion

 One of the sources for information regarding any exhibition or art museum is the art magazine. In recent times, there has been an increasing use of TV or the internet as an information source. However, before TV and the internet became popular and accessible to all, the art magazine, regularly published with pictures of various works of art, was a visual and immediate source for transmitting/supplying information to persons involved in the fine arts and art lovers. In the research on Japanese modern art, these art magazines play an important role as materials that reflect the details of the trends and movements in the fine arts of the time. Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties is a rich source of information as numerous art magazines published in the Meiji era and thereafter are in its possession. An open seminar titled “Toward Sharing Information on Art Magazines” was held on March 16th to provide an opportunity for participants to discuss the organization, publication, and sharing of such information.
 In this seminar, the following three researchers specialized in Japanese modern art delivered presentations, whose titles are as shown below:
 ○Jun SHIOYA (Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties): “Art Magazines of Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties – History of Its Collection and Publication”
 ○Shogo OHTANI (The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo): “Another Art Scene in the Period from the Mid-1930s to the Mid-1940s from “Nikkan Bijutsu Tsushin (Daily Art Journal)”
 ○Hitoshi MORI (Kanazawa College of Art): “The Art Magazine – Its Value and the Obstacles to its Production”
Mr. Shioya unveiled the Institute’s history of collecting art magazines and described the project started by its predecessor, The Institute of Art Research, in 1932, to compile the art history of the Meiji and Taisho eras and the project to publish the “Yearbook of Japanese Art” initiated in 1936. Then, Mr. Ohtani pointed out the scarcity and the significance of the art industry journal published from 1935 through 1943, “Nikkan Bijutsu Tsushin (Daily Art Journal)” (the title was changed to “Bijutsu Bunka Simbun (Art Culture Newspaper)” in 1941), by introducing its articles on reorganization of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts and the inside story of the organization that led to it publicly seeking works for its exhibition. Finally, Mr. Mori presented a comprehensive view on the friction between the concepts of “fine arts” and “magazine” brought in from Western Europe and the scope of Japanese pre-modern art, after presenting an overview of modern art magazines.
After the presentations, the three researchers held an active discussion together with Mr. Hideki KIKKAWA (Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties) as the MC taking questions on the presentations from the audience and settling on the proposed ways of sharing information using art magazines as a topic. In addition, Mr. Kikkawa mentioned how there has been steady progress regarding international information sharing among art magazines, and he introduced the efforts of the Institute, such as (a) a joint project with the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures to build a database of Japanese fine arts literature mentioned in European magazines; (b) providing metadata of “Mizue” published in the Meiji era for the Getty Research Portal operated by the Getty Research Institute; and (c) uploading “The Bijutsu Kenkyu (The Journal of Art Studies)” and “Yearbook of Japanese Art” on JAIRO, operated by the National Institute of Informatics.
 The seminar, which functioned as a site to exchange valuable information, attracted 80 persons involved in archive operations at art museums, universities, and publishing and other companies. Related to the presentation by Mr. Mori, a book editorially supervised by him and containing information on art magazines from the Meiji era through the pre-war period of the Showa era, will be published soon by TOKYO BIJUTSU Co., Ltd. titled “Overview of Japanese Art Magazines 1867-1945” (temporary title).

Consultation and Lecture at the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures in the UK

On-going seminar organized by the Sainsbury Institute

 The Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures in Norwich, UK is one of the hubs for the study of Japanese arts and cultures in Europe. The Sainsbury Institute and Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties have been jointly engaged since 2013 in the Project to Shaping the Fundamentals of Research on Japanese Art. As part of the project, researchers of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems annually visit the Sainsbury Institute to offer consultation on the project and deliver a lecture. In the FY 2017, three researchers, Jun SHIOYA, Takuyo YASUNAGA, and Tomohiro OYAMADA, stayed in Norwich from February 13th through 16th, 2018 for that purpose.
 As for consultation, we discussed the measures to be taken for the development of this project with Dr. Simon KANER, Head of the Centre for Archaeology and Heritage, and the staff members at the Sainsbury Institute, Mr. Akira HIRANO, Ms. Keiko NISHIOKA, and Ms. Miwako HAYASHI. Specifically, we talked about the English translation of the “Year Book of Japanese Art” (published annually by this Institute), improvement of the quality of basic information available on the names of Japanese writers included in the database, and so on.
 On February 15th, a lecture by Jun SHIOYA was held at the Weston Room of Norwich Cathedral. This was organized as part of the monthly seminar for general audience held on the third Thursday by the Sainsbury Institute. A researcher from this Institute annually delivers a lecture there since 2014. Jun SHIOYA made a presentation titled “Respect, Curiosity and Taboo – Differing Visual Expressions of the Meiji Emperor,” which was interpreted by Dr. Kaner. Based on the book titled “Art History of the Imperial Court 6” (published by Yoshikawa Kobunkan), for which Jun SHIOYA served as a representative author, he discussed the development and the limits of the visual expressions of the emperor in modern Japan by introducing a discussion on the portraits of the Meiji Emperor by Ms. Keiko MASHINO. These portraits are placed in the book while referring to the lese majesty, which was believed to have been committed by a journalist named Gaikotsu MIYATAKE, and the caricature of the Meiji Emperor in Europe. The seminar attracted an audience of around 80 people, including researchers such as Mr. Toshio WATANABE, Emeritus Professor at University of the Arts London and Professor at the University of East Anglia, and Dr. Barak KUSHNER, Associate Professor at the University of Cambridge, in addition to regular local participants. During the Q&A session after the lecture, a lot of questions were asked by the participants, which indicated high interest in Japanese cultures in the UK.

Conservation and Restoration of Contemporary Art ― Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

Presentation by Ms. Ayako Ogawa during the seminar

 Although many people once had an image of gendai bijutsu (contemporary art) as being difficult to understand and tended to avoid it, it is now becoming familiar even to Japanese people as they start to refer to it as “gendai art,” which seems to sound more approachable. It has become normal for art museums to exhibit and store works of contemporary art. However, the materials and techniques used in contemporary art vary tremendously from one piece of work to another, and art museums are now finding it increasingly difficult to effectively conserve and restore them using their traditional expertise. To discuss such issues concerning the conservation and restoration of contemporary art, the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems held a seminar on January 30th, featuring the following speakers: Ms. Ayako OGAWA, Project Researcher, The National Museum of Art, Osaka; and Mr. Yuichiro Taira, Project Associate Professor, Arts & Science LAB., Tokyo University of the Arts.
 In her presentation titled “The Conservation and Restoration of Contemporary Art in Art Museums,” Ms. Ogawa addressed the issues facing art museums. The National Museum of Art, Osaka (NMAO), which she works for, actively collects and exhibits time-based media works (artworks that employ a temporal form of expression) including video recordings, installations, and performances, which do not simply fit into the framework of museums. Just days before this seminar, the exhibition Travelers: Stepping into the Unknown started at the NMAO (from January 21st to May 6th, 2018). Providing examples from this exhibition, including a work by Robert Rauschenberg and a performance-based work by Allora & Calzadilla, Ms. Ogawa outlined a range of tasks involved in hosting such artworks, from receiving to exhibiting.
 Mr. Taira’s presentation was titled “Is Contemporary Art Such a Special Thing in the History of Art Conservation and Restoration?” and challenged the idea of how Western art and ancient Japanese cultural properties should be conserved or restored. The works of video art created from the 1960s to 1980s, most notably those of Nam June Paik, use cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors. Today, liquid crystal displays (LCDs) have become the dominant type of display, making it almost impossible to find a replacement CRT monitor. However, even if the material identity of the original work is lost after restoring it with an LCD instead of a CRT monitor, the core identity of the work, or its “DNA,” could be clearly communicated to the audience. Mr. Taira presented an argument from a broad perspective, even taking into account the ritual of Shikinen Sengu (a periodical transfer of god to a new shrine building) in Ise Shrine and other methods of passing down cultural properties that date back to ancient Japan. His argument extended beyond the topics of contemporary art and provided an opportunity for us to rethink how best to restore cultural properties, for which people have different approaches to inpainting, reworking, and hypothetical restoration depending on each property.
 While most presentations delivered at the Department’s seminars usually cover topics related to art history, this particular seminar was devoted to the topics of conservation and restoration of art, which attracted many people from other departments. After the presentations, participants exchanged their views from different professional perspectives.

to page top