The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation surveys Japanese artworks in collections of art museums overseas and it provides those institutions with advice and information on relevant research. The Center also conducts cooperative conservation programs for artworks that urgently or desperately need to be conserved. In countries far removed from Japan where the climate, environment, racial makeup, and religion differ considerably, seeing the state of Japanese artworks instills in one the vitality of cultural properties, despite their fragile composition. In November 2012, KAWANOBE Wataru, KATO Masato, and EMURA Tomoko surveyed Japanese artworks in the Republic of Armenia and Georgia. Both countries were once part of the Soviet Union, and 2012 marked the 20th anniversary of their establishing diplomatic relations with Japan. However, this survey was the first on-site survey of Japanese art by personnel from the Institute.
Japanese artworks in the History Museum of Armenia, the National Gallery of Armenia, and the Charents House-Museum were surveyed. These museums have ukiyo-e (woodblock) prints from the late Edo Period and early modern to modern craftworks. That said, some of the works are not properly identified since their title or date of production is unclear. The Center provided advice and information regarding these works. Additionally, the state of conservation of cultural properties in the Matenadaran (the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts) and the National Library was also studied.
In Georgia, Japanese artworks primarily in the National Museum were surveyed. The National Museum has armaments from the Edo Period, such as armor and swords, as well as Japanese artworks like ukiyo-e paintings, pottery, and textiles. The museum was found to have 2 silk hanging scrolls, “Carps” by TACHIHARA Kyosho (1786–1840), a painter from the late Edo Period, and “Mt. Fuji” by TAKASHIMA Hokkai (1850–1931), a painter active during the Meiji Period. Both works have been damaged by time and need extensive restoration. The first step, however, is to gather detailed information about these artworks and then coordinate the future programs with the museum staff.