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

Investigation of materials on former members of the Institute in Kyoto and Kosei

 The Institute is currently engaged in the work of tracing the history of the Institute since the founding of its predecessor, The Institute of Art Research, in 1930, with the publication of “75 Years of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo” in fiscal year 2009 in view.
 In July, investigations were held at the homes of the families of the late Umezu Jiro (1906-1988), a former member of the Institute who specialized in the research of picture scrolls in Japan, and of the late Ogyu Chikaharu (1884-1944), another former member who was in charge of the management of Kuroda Memorial Hall. Although some materials on Umezu have already been donated to the Institute and made available to the public, new materials were found during this investigation to supplement them. Previously, the Institute had had only limited information about Ogyu, including the facts that his wife Sumi was the sister of Kuroda Seiki, the Western-style painter who willed that the establishment of the Institute and that he studied Western-style painting at The Tokyo Art School. However, during this investigation several dozens of his Western-style paintings (though small in format), some photographs (including one of a portrait of Kuroda’s sister) and other valuable materials that reveal the artistic style of Ogyu, who studied the plein-arist style of paintings of Kuroda and other artists, and his acquaintances were found. Since Ogyu’s family was related to the Sakai family (lord of the feudal Tsuruoka clan), he painted a portrait of Sakai Tadaatsu (15th lord of the clan) and his wife in the Meiji period. It was found that this portrait is now in the collection of the Sakai family. These findings will be incorporated into the profiles of former members of the Institute to be included in “75 Years of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo.” Investigations like these are expected to serve as basic materials for the history of the achievements of researchers of cultural properties, about which not much has been investigated until now.

Study of “the original” (4) – with Professor Kato Tetsuhiro

 The Department of Research Programming is preparing for an international symposium entitled “Capturing the Original – Archives for Cultural Properties” that is to be held in December of this year. On May 9, a seminar was held to which Professor Kato Tetsuhiro of Kwansei Gakuin University was invited. Yamanashi Emiko of the Institute made a presentation entitled “The Art Research Institute and Sir Robert Witt Library” on the establishment of the Institute and the environment of art history materials in Western European societies during the 1920’s, and Professor Kato made his presentation entitled “Being ‘The Original’ – Its Significance in Art Studies” in which he spoke on the way the issue of “the original” has been dealt with in the field of Western aesthetics. These were followed by a discussion on the meaning of “the original”. Professor Kato pointed out that the longing for being “the original” existed only in and after the 19th century even in the West and that, even with such a background, Alois Riegl who was active as an art historian at the end of the 19th century did not necessarily find the value of cultural properties in their original figures, but also recognized their age-value, and that Erwin Panofsky distinguished cultural properties themselves (original) from their duplicates, noting that duplicates lacked authenticity (“aura”). This led to further discussions on such topics as the difference in quality between the record and memory of “the original” and matters that should be conveyed in preserving “the original”. We wish to make the symposium a well-developed one by considering the theme from various angles and holding enlightening discussions. We also wish to make the symposium an opportunity to contemplate on our daily work which includes investigation and research on cultural properties, as well as accumulation and publication of materials.

Publication of 75 Years of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo – Archives

75 Years of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo – Archives

 75 Years of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo – Archives, a record of the 75 years of the Institute supported by materials dating from the founding of the Institute’s predecessor, The Institute of Art Research, in 1935 to the present (2005), was published at the end of March. In this publication are materials that provide information on the history of research in various disciplines dealt with at the Institute. They include: documents collected during the years of The Institute of Art Research, such as an inventory of pre-World War II investigation of art objects, inventory of images of Western art collected by Yashiro Yukio, the Director General of the Institute in its early years, and a list of photographs taken by Wada Arata, Odaka Sennosuke and other former members of the Institute in their study of the arts of India and West Asia; a list of research topics, seminars and lectures in the years following the time that the Institute became a comprehensive research organization in matters related to cultural properties, including fields of conservation science and intangible cultural properties; and a comprehensive list of articles in the periodicals published by various departments at the Institute – namely, The Bijutsu Kenkyu (The Journal of Art Studies), Science for Conservation and Geino no Kagaku (literally, science of performing arts). The Archives has been published for the general public from Chuo Koron Bijutsu Shuppan with the same title.

Interviews for the compilation of the 75 Years of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo

 The Institute is now editing materials for the publication of the main volume in 2009 on the history of the Institute and its investigation and research, a sequel to 75 Years of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo – Archives. Since a brief history of former members of the Institute will be included in this volume, we are collecting information about their personal history and other related materials. In March we visited and interviewed the family of the deceased Toyooka Masuto who was engaged in editing the Toyo Bijutsu Bunken Mokuroku, a classified bibliography of journal articles on old Asian art, from the mid-30s to 1942 as a member of The Institute of Art Research, the predecessor of the present Institute. We were able to obtain information about his personal history and achievements outside the Institute and about former members of the Institute who were his colleagues. Such information shed light on the history of this Institute before World War II. Currently not enough investigation has been made on people who were engaged in the investigation and research of cultural properties. We hope to continue our efforts so that the main volume of the publication on the 75 years of the Institute may contribute to the study of the history of research on cultural properties.

Donation of materials on Tanaka Ichimatsu

 Materials related to the art historian Tanaka Ichimatsu (1895-1983), who was the Director General of the Institute from 1952 to 1965, were donated by Mr. Tanaka Kazumi, the deceased’s family member, and the Idemitsu Museum of Art in March. Included among the materials are records of his research and photographs he collected. Even before World War II, Tanaka had investigated a great number of art objects and left carefully written reports with his own drawings attached. Among them are valuable reports on works of art that were lost during the War. Although these materials had been stored at the Idemitsu Museum of Art, with which Tanaka was closely related, they were donated to the Institute after his death in the hope that they may be made public and utilized more widely. We plan to make preparations for their utilization in the future. Since we have just begun to put them in order, anyone who wishes to see these materials are requested to contact the Department of Research Programming in advance.

Contribution of materials from the late Kuno Takeshi

 The family of the deceased Kuno Takeshi, researcher emeritus of the Institute who passed away in July 2007 at the age of 87, expressed their wish to contribute photographic materials and field notes from his research. These were transported to the Institute on November 7. Kuno studied the history of Japanese sculpture and conducted active field studies. The results of his studies have been published in numerous books such as the Collection of Buddhist Statues(Gakuseisha), which is a collection of photographs of Buddhist statues throughout Japan and the Study of the History of Japanese Buddhist Sculpture (Yoshikawa Kobunkan Inc.). Photographs connected with these publications amount to 6 filing cabinets with 4 drawers of B-4 size. Reports on his investigation exceed 300. These materials will be listed so that they may be made public.

Special exhibit: Kuroda Memorial Hall – Works of Kuroda Seiki II

Kuroda Memorial Hall - Works of Kuroda Seiki II
The exhibit

 To commemorate the re-establishment of the Independent Administrative Institution, National Institute for Cultural Heritage in April 2007, the second special exhibit of works in the collection of the Kuroda Memorial Hall was held at the Heisei-kan of the Tokyo National Museum from Tuesday, November 6 to Sunday, December 2. In this exhibit 22 works were exhibited, including those that Kuroda painted during his stay at Grez-sur-Loing, a farming village near Paris that he liked to visit when he was studying in France and 4 original illustrations, “Japanese Genre Scenes,” that were used for the essay “Femmes japonaises” written by Pierre Loti (1850 – 1923) in the October 1891 issue of Figaro Illustré. This is the first time for the October 1891 issue of Figaro Illustré and the “Japanese Genre Scenes” to be exhibited at the same time. It was a good opportunity to see concretely the image of Japan that Kuroda gave to the French society.

Editing the report on the investigation of Hikone Byobu, a National Treasure

 Fuzokuzu, better known as Hikone Byobu since it was transmitted in the Ii family of Hikone, is rich with its composition that provides a narrative sense and the minute descriptions found in the figures and furnitures depicted. However, not much is known about the artist or the background for its creation. In addition, several interpretations have been made as to the fact that, the six pieces that constitute the folding screen have been passed down separately even though it is called a byobu (folding screen). As this screen will be restored over a period of 2 years from fiscal year 2006 as a project subsidized by the Agency for Cultural Affairs and Shiga prefecture, an investigation of the screen was conducted by the Hikone Castle Museum and the Institute. High-resolution digital images, infrared and photo-luminescence images were taken, and X-ray fluorescence analysis was made. Presently, we are editing the report on the results of our investigation that is scheduled to be published on the occasion of the opening of the exhibition “The National Treasure The Hikone Screen and the Refined Beauty of Koto Ware,” which will be held at the Hikone Castle Museum from September 28 to October 26. High-resolution images will be exhibited and a symposium will be held during this exhibition. In addition, the processes of restoration and points that have been elucidated through our investigation will be made public along with the restored screen.

Publicizing information on the Institute’s collection of periodicals in Japanese and the improvement in service at the Library.

Microfilm Explorer

 The Institute has a collection of a great number of periodicals related to fine arts and has published and made available to the public an inventory of these periodicals. From April information concerning the Institute’s collection of periodicals in Japanese has been added to the information retrieval system and is available on the web site. One of the characteristics of the Institute’s collection is that it includes many periodicals related to fine arts that were published from the Meiji to the early years of the Showa periods. These periodicals are also valuable in that they provide historical information, such as that related to paper and printing techniques employed, of different periods. As is the case with many cultural properties, these periodicals must be conserved but must also be utilized. In order to conserve these periodicals, the Institute is making microfilms and CD-ROMs of these periodicals, taking into consideration the extent of deterioration, frequency of their use and other factors. With regard their utilization the public can access these microfilms and CD-ROMs while the originals are treated as valuable documents to be used only upon special request.
 In time with the publicizing of the information in the Institute’s collection on the website, a Microfilm Explorer has been installed in the reading room. This equipment enables one to read microfilms on a computer and to make printouts

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