|■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
Scene of the seminar
The 4th seminar was held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems on July 23rd, 2019. The seminar was held in a mini symposium format with the theme, “Applying Post-War Japanese Art Archives in Research: The Case of Yutaka MATSUZAWA Archives.”
In the first half of the seminar, there were four presentations and reports on the following: “Letters to Yutaka MATSUZAWA from the 50s and 60s” by Hideki KIKKAWA (Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems), “Investigation and Records on MATSUZAWA Yutaka Atelier Psi Room” by Mayumi KINOUCHI (Nagano Prefectural Shinano Art Museum), “Yutaka MATSUZAWA Archive: Potential Uses Considered from Naiqua Gallery-Related Materials” by Yūka MIYATA (The National Museum of Art, Osaka), and “Digitization and Storage of Video Media: In the Case of MATSUZAWA Materials” by Shuhei HOSOYA (art and media researcher, filmmaker). In the second half of the seminar, Jun SHIOYA (Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems) presided over a discussion on Yutaka MATSUZAWA’s artwork and activities, the significance of these archives from the perspective of art history, the applications of these archives, and the archive organization method (data organization and material preservation). During the break, some of Yutaka MATSUZAWA’s archives were viewed by the concerned parties and some information was exchanged.
More than 40 people attended this seminar, including Yutaka MATSUZAWA’s family members, researchers from art museums and universities, and art writers. Presently, the Yutaka MATSUZAWA archives are being considered as the theme for grant-in-aid for scientific research, and there are plans to hold a symposium in 2020, the final year of this grant-in-aid research. Toward this end, the significance of Yutaka MATSUZAWA archives from the perspective of art history and cultural history will be studied in association with researchers from diverse fields.
Filming of Miyazono-bushi (from left to right: Miyazono Senyoshie, Miyazono Senroku, Miyazono Senkazuya, and Miyazono Senkoju)
On July 31st, 2019, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage recorded a live performance of Miyazono-bushi (second recording of a live performance) at the Performing Arts Studio of Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties.
Miyazono-bushi is an important intangible cultural property of Japan which was founded in the first half of the 18th century by Miyakoji Sonohachi in Kyoto. After seeing a revival during the mid- 18th century in Edo, it has become what it is today. Miyazono-bushi can be characterized by its distinctive vocal part called joruri (dramatic narrative chanted to a shamisen accompaniment) that is sang in a solemn and silky voice, accompanied by the soft and thick sounds of a chuzao shamisen (middle-neck sized three-stringed Japanese banjo). With training and experience, subtle expressions are produced through their harmonization. Traditional songs include classical dramatic piece in ten acts as well as modern songs, with the content of these songs being almost entirely about elopements for double suicides.
This time, two pieces were recorded: a classical piece, the “Michiyuki Natane no Midarezaki – Yamazaki” (blooming of rapeseed flowers during an elopement – Yamazaki) and a modern piece, the “Uta no Nakayama” (small path near Seikanji Temple). Both pieces were performed by Miyazono Senroku (lead singer; an individual certified as a Holder of Important Intangible Cultural Property or what is called living national treasure), Miyazono Senyoshie (supporting singer), Miyazono Senkazuya (lead shamisen player), and Miyazono Senkoju (supporting shamisen player).
The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage will continue to record live performances of Miyazono-bushi classics, as well as new pieces that get few occasions to be performed live.
Original thread manufacturing machine for traditional Korean string instruments
Research presentations at the National Intangible Heritage Center
The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties has been engaged in research exchange with the National Intangible Heritage Center in the Republic of Korea since 2008. This exchange involves conducting overseas research while staying at the other party’s institution for a certain period of time and holding joint symposiums. Megumi Maehara, Head of the Intangible Cultural Properties Section of the Department sojourned in South Korea from July 1st–19th, 2019 to pursue overseas research.
Considering current conditions in Japan where cultural heritage application is anticipated, the purpose of this overseas research was to derive hints at preserving and transmitting cultural heritage preservation techniques used in musical instrument manufacturing and repair, in addition to cultural heritage utilization. During her stay, Ms. Maehara visited musical instrument manufacturers, musical instrument materials manufacturers and those associated with the education on, and preservation and succession of, traditional performance art (music), and also research organizations. The aim of her visit was to investigate South Korean traditional musical instrument manufacturing and repair techniques, the tools and raw materials used, the frameworks utilized to support these techniques, and the treatment of these techniques in the education about, and dissemination of, traditional music to the masses.
In South Korea, classical music and folk music are considered to be inseparable facets of “traditional Korean music (gugak).” Having knowledge and practical skill in these subjects are requirements for teachers who wish to be employed in music education because “traditional Korean music” is an indispensable qualification for music educators. This environment where one can naturally come in contact with traditional Korean music is starkly different from that in Japan. Nonetheless, there is still room to cultivate a general awareness of the techniques and raw materials supporting traditional performance art (music) in Japan and even in South Korea. Case studies and common issues discovered from this research exchange were compared to the current situation in Japan and the results were presented orally on July 18th at the National Intangible Heritage Center. Together with an investigative report in Japan, an overview of this investigation into musical instrument manufacturing and repair techniques will be published in the 14th volume of the “Research and Reports on Intangible Cultural Heritage” to be issued at the end of the fiscal year.
The Institute would like to extend its deepest gratitude to Kyeong-Hye, Kang of the National Intangible Heritage Center for supporting its research during this exchange, to interpreter Ji-Ye, Lee, and to everyone at the National Intangible Heritage Center.
The abovementioned training was held from July 8th to 19th, 2019. After receiving more than double the amount of applications than the number of places available this year, we managed to provide training for 31 curators and museum officials.
This year’s training was the first one which was implemented jointly with the National Center for the Promotion of Cultural Properties (CPCP). The CPCP took charge of the training sessions in the first week and Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) in the second week, with the lecture programs being completely altered. During the first week, participants learned about the basics of the conservation environment through classroom lectures and practical workshops, while the CPCP shared useful information on social media. With the training this year being jointly held, it became clear that we lacked the ability to deliver the information adequately.
During the second week, certain sections at the Center for Conservation Science provided separate half-day sessions respectively, and provided classroom lectures and other programs under the following topics: scientific study on cultural properties (Analytical Science Section); measures to prevent biodeterioration damage (Biological Science Section); conservation of outdoor cultural properties (Restoration Planning Section); thermal environment control (Preventive Conservation Section); and types and attributes of restoration materials/conservation and restoration of paper artworks/cultural properties of Japanese painting (Restoration Materials Science Section). These programs dealt with a wide range of issues, including methods to apply concepts and basic knowledge of restoration in relation to actual issues and a workshop to learn how to use TNRICP’s latest technologies and achievements for on-site work. Participants appreciated these sessions, commenting that they were very helpful.
In 2020, we believe that it will be quite difficult to hold the training in July due to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics and other relevant events. In order to prevent any inconvenience for participants, we will let you know about the schedule for the next planned training immediately after it is decided.
Hands-on training at the site to restore the wall paintings
Surveying the wall paintings
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation is providing technical support and human resource training to restore wall paintings and the exterior walls of brick temples at the Bagan Archaeological Site in Myanmar. On-site training session for staff members of the Bagan Branch, Department of Archaeology and National Museums, Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture of Myanmar was conducted at two different temples from July 11th to July 27th, 2019.
At Me-taw-ya Temple, a training session on how to repair exterior wall joint material, replace deteriorated bricks, and mix repair materials was carried out. Drainage measures were discussed as accumulated rainwater dissolved the existing wall joint material and resulted in water seeping into the temple.
At Loka-hteik-pan Temple (project name: Conservation and Restoration of Temples Mural Paintings in the Bagan Ruins in Myanmar), where restoration activities were conducted in association with the Sumitomo Foundation, problems created by past repairs—commonly noticed in temple wall paintings of the Bagan Ruins—were explained, and training sessions on reinforcing colored layers using inorganic repair materials and repairing colors were organized.
Research on the folklore pertaining to wall painting iconography began alongside this training program. To explain the non-Buddhist elements and characteristics specific to Myanmar found on wall paintings, detailed examples were collected primarily from Bagan. Information on the historical background of each of these wall paintings was also gathered from the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture of Myanmar employees and related people from these temples. Hereafter, we plan to expand the scope of this research beyond Bagan.
The decision to register Bagan as a world cultural heritage site was made at the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee. As tourists are expected to increase in the future, efforts to maintain the relics must be improved. This issue was raised at the expert committee session convened by the Bagan Branch during the support period. Requests were also made to increase participants for the training program sponsored by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, and for technical instruction at the archaeological sites. Hereafter, the Institute will continue to exchange opinions with local experts and provide technical support and human resource development programs.
Workshop on Japanese papermaking
Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP), the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs, and the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology (Manggha Museum), held an international forum entitled “Restoration of Japanese Painting” at the Manggha Museum in Krakow, Poland on 29th and 30th July, 2019, in cooperation with the National Museum in Krakow, the Association for Conservation of National Treasures and the Association for Successors of Traditional Preservation Techniques. This forum was certified as one of the projects to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Poland.
TNRICP has been conducting “The Cooperative Program for the Conservation of Japanese Art Objects Overseas” since 1991. Three hanging scrolls in the collection of the National Museum in Krakow were restored within the framework of this program. In conjunction with the exhibition of these hanging scrolls and their restoration process, this forum was held for the purpose of promoting the understanding of the restoration of Japanese paintings through lectures, demonstrations, and workshops. Two of the selected conservation techniques, namely “Restoration techniques for mounts” and “Manufacture of materials and tools for conservation of mounted cultural properties,” were introduced. The manufacture of brushes, handmade washi paper (udagami) and decorative metal fittings were explained as an example of the production of materials and tools.
In the expert meeting held on the first day, 31 conservators, restorers and students from nine countries participated in and experienced various traditional techniques and exchanged opinions with Japanese experts. In the open seminar, held on the second day, more than two hundred visitors from 15 countries participated in the gallery talk and the workshop covering Japanese papermaking. The holding of this forum served to promote not only the communication between conservators and restorers from around the world, but also was a valuable opportunity to obtain an understanding by the general public about the restoration techniques used with Japanese paintings and the traditional materials involved.
Deliberation on Mozu-Furuichi Kofun Group
The exterior of the venue
The 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee was convened in Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan from June 30th to July 10th, 2019.
Twenty nine heritage sites, including Mozu-Furuichi Kofun Group in Japan, were inscribed on the World Heritage List at the session. This was the highest number of sites to be listed since the limit was established on the number of new sites the committee would deliberate on each year. This may seem like a good situation at first sight; however, of the inscribed sites, seven sites that the Advisory Bodies had originally considered did not meet the inscription criteria, but the decision was overturned and their inscription as heritage sites was confirmed at the committee session. For the past few years, as the committee’s decisions have been deviated from the counsel of the Advisory Bodies, the inscription of sites whose value and boundary are unclear has come into question, and it seems that this situation has still not been rectified.
Considering this situation, the decision to establish an ad-hoc working group to review the nomination and assessment process was made in the 2018 committee meeting. The contents of the decision were discussed at this year’s meeting, and it was decided that the nomination process would be a two-stage system and that a “Preliminary Assessment” process would be implemented as an initial step in the nomination process. It is anticipated that this Preliminary Assessment will stimulate a dialogue between the Advisory Bodies and States Parties in the early stages, which will raise the quality of nomination dossiers. Presently, the Preliminary Assessment is being considered as a necessary process for all States Parties, and granting States Parties the right to decide whether or not to continue with the subsequent nomination process, irrespective of the Preliminary Assessment, is also under deliberation. Nevertheless, this discussion including on the subject of the commencing time has only just begun. Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties will continue to scrutinize discussions concerning world heritage in general, and collect and transmit diverse information pertaining to the implementation of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.
Classroom lecture at Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties
Tour of restoration conditions at the Shinmachi-Furumachi District in Kumamoto City
A civil war broke out in Syria eight years ago in March 2011, and it seems there is no end in sight. Apart from the human cost of war, the much precious cultural heritage was also lost.
The Japanese government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) began providing cultural heritage aid to Syria in 2017. From February 2018, the Archaeological Institute of Kashihara, Nara Prefecture, in association with academic organizations such as the University of Tsukuba, Teikyo University, Waseda University, Chubu University, and the Ancient Orient Museum, has been accepting Syrian specialists and providing them training in the fields of archeology and restoration. Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties is also participating in this project.
Following training seminars on conservation and restoration of paper cultural properties held in May 2018, this year, two Syrian specialists were invited to undergo training in “Research Planning Methods to Restore Historical Cities and Buildings” conducted from July 24th to August 6th.
Many historical cities such as the ancient city of Aleppo were engulfed in war, and many historical buildings were devastated. In the first half of this year’s training, seven specialists gave classroom lectures on surveying damage to historical buildings and making emergency repairs, structural safety diagnosis method, documentation and database creation method, restoration plan creation method, and restoration and preservation system creation method. For the practical aspect that comprised the second half of the training, participants inspected the restoration status of historical buildings and townscapes devastated by the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes, including Kumamoto Castle, the Shinmachi-Furumachi District, Kumamoto University, and the Eto-yashiki (Eto estate), which is registered as an important cultural property.
The participants also heard stories told by the people in charge. They visited Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Buildings in Kyoto and Nara and saw examples of repairs and applications of historical Japanese buildings.
We would once again like to thank the specialists, related organizations, and personnel-in-charge for their support.
Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties plans to continue support activities for Syrian cultural heritage in the future.