The 29th European Association of Japanese Resource Specialists (EAJRS) conference took place at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, the second largest city in Lithuania, from September 12th through 15th, 2018. EAJRS is an association comprising librarians, professors, curators, and other specialists who handle Japanese studies materials in Europe. The 2018 conference organized under the title of “(G)localizing Japanese Studies Resources” attracted 82 members from 20 countries (44 from Europe, 34 from Asia and 4 from North America). Mr. Hideki KIKKAWA, Researcher of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems of this Institute reported the progress of the “Project to Make Japanese Exposition and Exhibition Materials Published from the Meiji to the Showa Open Access,” on which the Institute has been working together with the Getty Research Institute. During the Q & A period after the presentation, the expectations for the project were expressed and a lot of requests were made. This period provided us with a precious opportunity for further development of the project in the light of the received requests such as the one requiring the materials covered under the project to be increased or expanded. The annual conference consisted of 14 sessions, where 31 presentations were delivered, including the ones on studies of Japanese material collections and facilities having such collections delivered and introduced by overseas institutions, as well as a variety of activities and services to support overseas Japanese studies introduced by Japanese institutions. Opinions were actively exchanged in various places of the venue. Please access the URL of EAJRS for details of the conference program (https://www.eajrs.net/). The 2018 conference successfully ended after deciding the 2019 conference schedule to be held in Zurich (Switzerland).
|■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|
Participation of the World Social Science Forum (WSSF), and Invitation of a Traditional Navigator from Micronesia
The “World Social Science Forum (WSSF)” took place in Fukuoka City from September 25th through 28th, 2018. This is one of the largest international conferences on social science. The opening ceremony, which was held on September 25th, was attended by Their Imperial Highness Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako. His Imperial Highness Crown Prince Naruhito delivered the opening speech. On September 26th, the session “Protection and Promotion of Heritage and the Diversity of Cultural Expressions to Foster Culture of Belongings in Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) under Globalization and Climate Change” co-chaired by the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) and the UNESCO Office for the Pacific States took place. Prior to the session, to exchange opinions particularly on the conservation and utilization of canoes as intangible cultural heritage, the Institute invited Mr. Larry RAIGETAL, who has traditional navigation technique and heads up Waa’gey, an NGO working on revival of canoe culture and environmental issues based in Yap State of the Federated States of Micronesia.
Mr. Tomo ISHIMURA, from the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, TNRICP and Dr. Akatsuki TAKAHASHI from the UNESCO Office for the Pacific States moderated the session. In addition to the presentations by Mr. Raigetal, Ms. Sandy MORRISON (University of Waikato), a researcher on the native tribe in New Zealand (the Maori), and Mr. Yuji KURIHARA (Executive Vice Director of Kyoto National Museum), Dr. Matori YAMAMOTO (Hosei University), the President of the Japanese Society for Oceanic Studies, offered a comment. At the session, an active discussion was held over how to conserve tangible and intangible cultural heritage in the Pacific States and how it should be developed further into the renaissance of culture.
During the presentation, Mr. Raigetal expressed his opinion that the conservation of traditional culture in a sustainable manner under the current circumstances of climatic change and globalization would result in finding a key to solving the problems of modern society while referring to traditional navigation technique for canoes acquired by him, particularly to his knowledge on star navigation. The opinion of Mr. Raigetal, who has wide international knowledge by attending the Conferences of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, was a precious, thought-provoking one.
On September 29th after the forum, we were invited to the workshop organized by the Nippon Voyaging Association (Representative: Mr. Tomoki OKU) in Hyuga City, Miyazaki Prefecture. Mr. Raigetal exchanged opinions with the members of the NPO association. The association has been working on the restoration of traditional navigation canoes donated by the Republic of Palau to Japan and their test navigation, as well as on attempts to revive ancient Japanese navigation technique. Through the exchange between the association and Mr. Raigetal, the linkage of canoe culture is expected to extend from the Pacific States to Japan, boosting the momentum for interactions between the two regions.
TNRICP has been involved in international cooperation for conservation and utilization of canoe culture in the Pacific States by organizing “the First Canoe Summit” at the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture held in Guam in May 2016. Presently, people in the Pacific States are getting the momentum rolling toward the nomination of canoe culture as intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. TNRICP hopes that it will contribute further to such a movement as part of its international cooperation.
Development of a New Insecticidal Treatment Method for Historical Wooden Structures- On-Site Inspection of the Bell Tower of Chuzen-ji Temple
On September 10th, 2018, we visited Chuzen-ji Temple to inspect the “Humidity-controlled warm air treatment ” for its bell tower. This treatment method aims to expel noxious insects harming pillars and beams of wooden structures under a high temperature (around 60°C). Usually, as the temperature increases, wooden building materials crack or strain. However, it is possible to increase the temperature inside the wood almost without affecting its physical property, since the temperature rises while the humidity in the treated space is controlled with the wood water content maintained at a certain level. The conventional yet sole insecticidal method for historical wooden structures is fumigation treatment, where a structure sealed with covering is filled with vaporized pesticide to exterminate noxious insects inside the wood. However, vaporized gas also affects human health, thus, requiring safety measures against greater risks. Accordingly, it was hard to implement such large-scale treatment for wooden structures continually. This Humidity-controlled warm air treatment is expected as a new approach to overcome such a challenge.
So far, a research team comprising the Association for the Preservation of the Nikko World Heritage Site Shrines and Temples, Kyoto University, Kyushu National Museum, Total System Laboratory Co., the Japanese Association for Conservation of Architectural Monuments, National Museum of Ethnology, Natural History Museum and Institute, Chiba, and Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties has been proceeding with the studies from basic research for application to old wooden buildings to establishment of application technique. In the basic research, we verified the humidity distribution in the treated space during the test with a chamber, as well as the temperature distribution inside the wood, measured surface strain, and effects on wooden materials. Then, following the treatment testing with a model structure by using a pilot unit manufactured to control the temperature and humidity of actual structures, we finally realized on-site treatment testing of a historical wooden structure for the second time in Japan after Aizendo Hall of Chuzen-ji Temple. We would like to move ahead with this research toward the dissemination as one of new insecticidal methods while organizing these two treatment test results obtained from two buildings of Chuzen-ji Temple.
The congress of the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC) was held from September 10th to 14th in Turin, Italy. From Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Dr. Masahide INUZUKA of the Center for Conservation Science participated in the congress.
The theme of this congress was “preventive conservation.” Therefore, as well as the specific topics about conservation environments, material analyses and restoration, the importance of preventive conservation, leadership required for experts, public engagement and other relevant subjects were discussed.
In the session about preventive conservation for historic sites, Dr. Inuzuka made a presentation on the condensation problems and their preventive measures in a conservation facility for a decorated tumulus in Japan. In the poster sessions, the history of the environmental inspection of museums conducted by the Preventive Conservation Section was reported and information was exchanged with attendants from other countries.
The International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper was run from August 27th to September 14th, 2018. This course has been jointly organized by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) since 1992. It is aimed at contributing to the protection of cultural property outside Japan by disseminating the knowledge and techniques of conservation and restoration of paper cultural property in Japan to participants from around the world. This year, 10 specialists in conservation from 10 countries (Argentina, Australia, Bhutan, Canada, Denmark, Fiji, France, Poland, the UK and Zambia) were selected as participants among 80 applications from 38 countries.
The course was composed of lectures, practical sessions and an excursion. The lectures covered protection systems of both tangible and intangible cultural property in Japan, basic insights into Japanese paper, traditional conservation materials and tools. The practical sessions were led by instructors from a certified group holding the Selected Conservation Techniques on “Restoration techniques for mounts.” The participants gained experience of restoration work of paper cultural property from cleaning it to mounting it in a handscroll. Japanese-style bookbinding and handling of folding screens and hanging scrolls were also included in the sessions. The excursion to the cities of Nagoya, Mino and Kyoto, arranged in the middle of the course, offered an opportunity to see folding screens and sliding doors in historic buildings, the Japanese papermaking which is designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Property of Japan (Honminoshi), a traditional restoration studio, and so forth. On the last day, the conservation materials for paper cultural properties and approach to the selection of appropriate materials for paper conservation were discussed.
The participants could gain a deeper understanding of not only conservation materials and tools used in Japan but also conservation approaches and techniques using Japanese paper throughout this course. We hope that the knowledge and techniques they acquired in the course will be applied to conservation and restoration of cultural property overseas.