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

April Facility Visit

 Two Members of Independent Administrative Institution Evaluation Committee of Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), and other organizations
 On April 9, members of the Independent Administrative Institution Evaluation Committee of MEXT visited us to observe the examination and research conducted by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. They toured the Audio-Visual Documentation Section of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage on the basement floor; the First Experimental Laboratory of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques on the third floor; and the Biological Science Section of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques, the International Center Archive of the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation, and the Kuroda Memorial Hall on the fourth floor. Those in charge of each facility provided explanations and answered questions.

Interview with Mr. Hieda Kazuho

Mr. Hieda Kazuho being interviewed
At the Education Ministry’s Art Research Institute after evacuation to Sakata City, Yamagata - Mr. Hieda (far right), and Mr. Umezu Jiro (far left) who was a staff member of the Institute

 The Japanese-style painter Hieda Kazuho (born in 1920), holder of the Cultural Order, is Professor Emeritus of Tokyo University of the Arts and a founding member of Sougakai. He graduated from Tokyo School of Fine Arts in 1943, and from the following year he worked for the Art Research Institute, the former National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, as a temporary employee for one year.
 The institute is currently editing Text Edition of 75-year history of National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, which will be published this year. As such, we interviewed many associated persons to ask them about the history of the Institute so that we can compile records.
 On April 14, we visited Mr. Hieda at his home in Tokyo, and he talked his early years at the Institute. In 1944, when war damage increased because of air attacks and the Institute was forced to evacuate its materials, Mr. Hieda took part in the evacuation work. He told us that he stayed at an evacuation home – Sakata City, Yamagata – for half a year, to protect the materials, until he received call-up papers in August 1945, and went home to Nara to enter the army. In the train that was on the way home, he found out about the end of the war. Despite his advanced age, he gave us an interview that lasted over 90 minutes, and we have a record of his valuable experience.

Association Retrieval Site “So (Imagine)” and Art Documents Retrieval Database

So (Imagine)

 The Department of Research Programming has made public its database for retrieving art documents starting from October of last year (during trial operation). The database consists of 268,000 cases and allows users to browse, from an overwhelming amount of data, art documents published between 1966 and 2004 by using three search categories: editors/authors, keywords and titles of journals. The Department, whose major goals are to accumulate and disseminate information, is now promoting collaboration with other sites to enhance dissemination. One such collaboration is with the unique association retrieval site “So (Imagine) ” that was started by the National Institute of Informatics. Mr. Nakamura Yoshifumi, a researcher of the National Institute of Informatics and a visiting researcher in our Department from this year, demonstrated the operation of this site at a research seminar of the Department held on April 21. If the art documents retrieval database is successfully associated with “So (Imagine),” we expect that a simultaneous display of information from various fields, not just that of art, will be possible.

Issuing “A Study of Exhibits from Art Exhibitions of the Showa Era – Pre-World War II Volume”

“Samurai with artistic taste...”
(Sino-Japanese War Graphics Vol. 10)
From “Drawing and Painting Soldiers from the Edges of the Japan-China War Battlefront and Art” (Kawada Akihisa) There were many drawing and painting soldiers in the battle area of the Japan-China War, and their artworks were widely known as a war pictures with reality.

 The Department of Research Programming has issued the collected papers of 26 domestic researchers, as shown in the title above. This document is an achievement of the project study “Integrated research on modern and contemporary art.” As a research edition of “A Study of Exhibits from Art Exhibitions of the Showa Era – Pre-World War II Volume”, basic data compilation issued in 2006, the trends of art before World War II are shown from the viewpoints of each researcher from various perspectives. The document targets the various genres of paintings and sculptures, engravings, photographs, and art works based on trend of the exhibits and art galleries, and it also includes themes particular to the pre-World War II period, such as proletarian art and war pictures. Please examine the various issues regarding art in the Showa Era. We hope that they will offer you new findings and help you to raise awareness of the issues involved.
 Refer to the pages issued by the Department of Research Programming for the titles of papers and the authors.
This document is available from Chuokoron Art Publishers.

Investigation of a 2.4 m Seated Wooden Buddha Statue from the Heian Period

 Mr. Tsuda Tetsuei and Ms. Sarai Mai of the Department of Research Programming will start this year to investigate and research important sculptures in Shiga Prefecture in a two-year plan, Investigation of and Research into Statues in Omi in Ancient and Medieval Times, Centering on Previously Undisclosed Statues such as Hidden Buddha Statues (representative researcher Tsuda Tetsuei). The two received funds for the investigation and research from the Idemitsu Culture and Welfare Foundation, and received cooperation from the research staff, who have special bonding with Shiga Prefecture, centered on Miho Museum. As our first project, we investigated the seated Avalokitesvara statue (245.3 cm high) at the Kannondo of Tendaishu Zensuiji Temple on Mt. Iwanesan in Koga City from the early morning until the evening of Sunday, April 26. The existence of this statue was generally unknown up to now, and this is the first project to move it. Based on the style of the statue, it was probably carved in the late Heian Period, and it was kept in relatively good condition. We were given a glimpse into the abundance and versatility of the cultural properties of Shiga Prefecture, where such a great work existed unnoticed by most people.

Report on the 3rd Conference on the Study of Intangible Folk Cultural Properties Conservation of Goods Related to Intangible Folk Cultural Properties

Report on the 3rd Conference on the Study of Intangible Folk Cultural Properties Conservation of Goods Related to Intangible Folk Cultural Properties

 The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage holds an annual meeting where preservation personnel, administrative personnel, and researchers gather: They decide a theme every year and discuss the protection and inheritance of our intangible cultural heritage. On November 20 of last year, the Department chose the theme Conservation of Goods Related to Intangible Folk Cultural Properties and held their meeting in the seminar room of the Institute. We summarized the details of this conference, issued a report in March 2009, and distributed it to interested persons and organizations. This report can also be downloaded in PDF format from the website of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage. rot)

Field Survey of Conservation and Restoration of Modern Cultural Heritage in Kagamigahara and Toyota cities

Doudo timber basin (left bank of Yahagi River)
Gunkai Bridge in the Asuke region

 The Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques is studying the storage environment and deterioration status of iron cultural assets that have been stored outdoors, including airplanes, at the Kagamigahara Aerospace Science Museum. For this field survey, we visited Toyota City and discussed the conservation status and other issues related to versatile modern heritage that uses stone with local persons in charge. The heritage discussed includes Doudo timber basin, Darumagama kiln, Meiji Old Water service weir and boat lock, Isegamizuido Tunnel, and Old Gunkai Bridge. In addition to being the home territory of Toyota Motors, Toyota City makes use of many modern cultural properties, such as the silk culture from the Meiji Era and the transport of lumber via the Yahagi River.
 We will do our best to make small contributions to these efforts.

Control of World Heritage and Conservation Workshop in 2009

Study of issues when managing world heritage (Peace Memorial Park)
Preparing group work: “Application for World Heritage (Simulation)”

 We participated in the international training workshop Conservation for Peace – World Heritage Impact Assessment: Series Control and Conservation of World Heritage, which was held by the Hiroshima Office of United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), from April 19 to 25, 2009 as part of a study on the applications of international training. Hiroshima Prefecture sponsored the sixth training session this year, and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Getty Conservation Institute, the International Council on Monument and Sites (ICOMOS), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) sent lecturers. Forty two speakers participated from 23 countries, mainly persons working in management, administration, and research organizations of world heritage sites (natural and cultural heritage) in the Asia-Pacific region.
 The training consisted of three sessions: a classroom lecture, an on-site inspection, and group work. We heard lectures on management and were able to understand the importance of world heritage (natural and cultural heritage) and impact assessment. Then we visited the World Heritage Sites in Hiroshima (Atomic Bomb Dome and Peace Memorial Park, and Itsukushima Shinto Srine and Miyajima), to evaluate issues at the local sites and have the opportunity to apply and compare the cases in different Asian countries. The work was divided into five groups, including heritage that has not yet been registered as a world heritage site, in which participants created a simplified edition of world heritage registration application, emphasizing impact assessment with respect to the value of the heritage. At the round table open to public on the final date, the participants and citizens exchanged opinions on the issues of Hiroshima’s world heritage through discussions.
 We acquired the specific data on the issues of world heritages in Asia, and also learned the training application method ? using advance preparation to achieve the maximum effect in a short training period, interactive lectures, and the inclusion of the “After Action Review” evaluation method.

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