|■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
Ongoing open lecture
The Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems organized a two-day open lecture on November 1st and 2nd, 2019 in the seminar room of Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties. Every autumn, the Institute invites the public to attend presentations delivered by its researchers, along with outside lecturers, on the outcomes of their daily research. This program is held not only as part of the Lecture Series of the Ueno no Yama Cultural Zone Festival organized by Taito City but is also associated with Classics Day on November 1st each year.
This year, the lectures covered four topics: Five Hundred Luohan Passed Down by Daitoku-ji Temple and Rules of Purity for the Chan Monastery (Chanyuan qinggui): Depiction of Monastic Life” (MAIZAWA Rei, Researcher of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems); “The Shape of the Seated Amitabha Statue Placed in the Lecture Hall of Koryu-ji Temple and Its Reflecting Wishes–Based on the Portrait of the Petitioner, ‘Nagahara no Miyasudokoro’” (Dr, HARA Hirofumi, Teacher of Keio Shiki Senior High School); “Research and Study of the Minakuchi Rapier, the Only Western-style Sword Handed Down to the Present Time in Japan” (KOBAYASHI Koji, Head of the Trans-Disciplinary Research Section, Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems); and “The Front Line of the Study of Swords at SPring-8: Towards the Education Breakthrough of the Production Technology” (Dr. TANAKA Manako, Department of History and Culture, Showa Women’s University). The first two lectures were delivered on November 1st and the latter two the following day. Across both days, 151 people were in attendance. According to the results of the questionnaire survey, nearly 90% of the audience responded “satisfied” or “almost satisfied.” Thus, the Institute provided the public with a good opportunity to learn the cultural properties with interest by disclosing the research trends and new findings of our researchers.
The Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems has been leading in the research and study of the “Cruciform Sword (Minakuchi Rapier),” possessed by Fujisaka Shrine in Minakuchi, Koka City for six consecutive years. In fiscal 2019, to pack up our research, we released our outcomes through a presentation at the ICOM Kyoto, made mainly for overseas experts (https://www.tobunken.go.jp/materials/ekatudo/819071.html), and the 53rd open lecture of the Institute for the public (see the Monthly Report of November: https://www.tobunken.go.jp/materials/katudo/819201.html). Following these, on November 9th, we had a great opportunity to deliver a lecture as an event commemorating the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the Local History Society of Minakuchi Town, Koka City, where this Western-style sword has been handed down to the present time. Under the title of “Challenging the Enigma of ‘Cruciform Sword’ Possessed by Fujisaka Shrine,” jointly with Ms. NAGAI Akiko, curator of the Minakuchi Museum of History and Folklore in Koka City, partner of our research, we reported the research outcomes and historical significance of this sword to local people. The audience of as many as 100 people gathering in the local venue, located just opposite to Fujisaka Shrine, listened to our research report with much interest.
We feel that giving this lecture has allowed us to partially fulfill our research obligation. Returning our attention to preparing our research report with joint researchers, we will tentatively wrap up the study of this Western-style sword.
A scene from the lecture; Photo by Sainsbury Institute/Andi SAPEY
The Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC), located in
Norwich, the country capital of Norfolk, UK, is among the most prominent institutions for the
study of Japanese arts and culture in Europe. SISJAC and Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties have been working on a joint project, “Shaping the Fundamentals of Research on Japanese Art,” since 2013. Through this project, documents related to Japanese art that are written in English and published outside Japan are provided by SISJAC and made available on the Institute’s website. Also, as part of the project, researchers of the Department ofArt Research, Archives and Information Systems have been visiting Norwich annually to hold consultations with SISJAC and conduct lectures on related topics. In fiscal 2019, two researchers, EMURA Tomoko and MAIZAWA Rei, visited Norwich from November 20th to 23rd for this purpose.
During the consultation, various issues were addressed, including the number of people accessing the data provided by SISJAC, as well as problems related to a system of transcribing the collected data in general, and the link structure of the web. The Institute and SISJAC agreed to continue the project to ensure better database construction and active data utilization.
On November 21st, EMURA conducted a lecture titled, “The Expression of the Four Seasons in Japanese Paintings,” at the Weston Room of Norwich Cathedral, with interpretation provided by Dr. Simon KANER, Executive Director of the Sainsbury Institute. The lecture was conducted as part of a regular lecture event focused on general audience and offered by SISJAC on every third Thursday of the month. This event saw an attendance of about 150 people, who asked a number of questions after the lecture, thus showing the popularity of Japanese art in the UK. The Institute will globally transmit further information on Japanese art through effective collaboration with SISJAC.
Lecture at Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties
Lecture at the National Museum of Ethnology
In March 2017, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties exchanged a letter of intent with the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) and the Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and Tourism (RICHT) to offer its cooperation in various academic fields for the protection of Iranian cultural heritage over the next five years.
During the survey to explore the partner country’s needs conducted in Iran in October 2016, Iranian experts consulted us about the serious air pollution in the capital city of Tehran that resulted in damage to cultural properties. They said that even metal products displayed and housed in the National Museum of Iran might be eroding. Based on this information, we have been conducting seminars regarding the improvement of display and housing environment at Iranian museums since 2017.
In 2019, we invited four researchers, two from RICHT and two from the National Museum of Iran, to Japan for a seminar from November 25th to 29th.
First, lectures on museum environments were delivered at the Institute and were mostly led by SANO Chie, Director, Center for Conservation Science, and Dr. RO Toshitami, in addition to the presentation of a report on the results of air pollution monitoring conducted at the National Museum of Iran in 2018. The lectures on pest control for cultural properties were mostly led by SATO Yoshinori, Head, Biological Science Section, and Associate Fellow KOMINE Yukio.
After the academic program, we visited the Kyoto National Museum and the National Museum of Ethnology. At the Kyoto National Museum, Dr. FURIHATA Junko delivered a lecture on disaster prevention measures before observing the disaster prevention system. At the National Museum of Ethnology, Dr. HIDAKA Shingo, Ms. WADAKA Tomomi, Ms. KAWAMURA Yukako, and Ms. HASHIMOTO Sachi conducted lectures on environmental management, air conditioning, pest control measures, and so on, while taking a tour of the exhibition halls and storage area. Once again, we express our gratitude to all the people and the institutes that have cooperated to support the program.
The Institute will continue to offer its cooperation in various fields for the protection of Iranian cultural heritage.