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

Publication of Web Contents “Records and Evaluation of Japanese Art –Research Notebooks of Art Historians”

TANAKA Ichimatsu Materials
Caricatures of the Japanese-Russo War, Fudeno Mani Mani (as I like) (TANAKA Ichimatsu)
DOI Tsugiyoshi Materials

 Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) preserves and utilizes research notebooks and meeting documents written by researchers—including ex-employees—in addition to books and photographs. On our website, we have published major notebooks from the materials of TANAKA Ichimatsu (1895–1983) owned by TOBUNKEN and the materials of DOI Tsugiyoshi (1906–1991) owned by the University Library of Kyoto Institute of Technologies. These were a part of the outcome of “Study on Record and Evaluation of Japanese Art – Preservation and Utilization of Survey Report of Artwork” that was carried out for three years from FY2019 as JSPS Grand-in Aid for Scientific Research (B) (JP19H01217).

 Among TANAKA Ichimatsu’s materials, lecture notebooks from Tokyo Imperial University, artwork research notebooks from 1923–1930, and sketch books from his elementary school and junior high school days between 1905–1914 were introduced. TANAKA found delight in drawing pictures from his childhood and continued to exercise to immediately depict what he saw; consequently, he mastered his ability. These experiences contributed to his later works as an art historian. Over half a century, TANAKA made remarkable achievements at the center of administration for cultural properties. He evaluated a large amount of art objects. As a result, he drove the research of Japanese painting history.

 Among DOI Tsugiyoshi’s materials, his main research notebooks, lecture notebooks from Kyoto Imperial University between 1928–1972, and a travel diary with haikus (Japanese poem) and sketches from 1947 were introduced. He observed details of art objects minutely through not only document investigation but onsite investigation as well. Based on these investigations, he discerned painters and reevaluated those whose names were passed down in temple histories. He made revolutionary contributions to the research of early modern painting history.

 The research notebooks of TANAKA and DOI from the pre-war period show us how they recorded shapes and expressions that they witnessed at a time when photos could not be taken as easily as they can now, and how they transformed their accumulated records into artwork evaluation. These materials recorded by their activities can be also called modern materials related to the art pieces during the Taishō and Shōwa eras. We hope they are used extensively as research materials. Some sketches are certainly visually entertaining. Please visit our website and enjoy them.

Standing Yakushi Nyorai (Skt. Baisajyaguru) in the Jingoji Temple and the Deity Hachiman Keka (repentance in Buddhism) – The 2nd Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

The seminar
Q&A session

 Standing Yakushi Nyorai in the Jingoji Temple in Kyoto has attracted attention from the early stages of Japanese art history and has subsequently stimulated many discussions. The statue has an extraordinary appearance and provenance and was made at the request of Wake no Kiyomaro (733–799). Two topics are primarily debated: which temple the statue was originally set in, the Jinganji or Takaosanji Temple, both of which were later combined into the Jingoji Temple, and the background against which this statue was created. The theory by Dr. SARAI Mai has recently gained widespread support, namely, that Wake no Kiyomaro had the statue created as the principal image of the Jinganji Temple responding to a request by the Deity Hachiman which required the Buddhist power to compete against his political enemy, Dōkyō (?–772).

 The seminar was held by the Department on May 30th, 2022. Dr. HARA Hirofumi of Keio Shiki Senior High School conducted a presentation titled The Purpose of Making Standing Yakushi Nyorai and the Deity Hachiman Keka. Dr. HARA claimed that the statue was originally set in the Jinganji Temple, and then pointed out based on various materials that the story of the competition between the Deity Hachiman and Dōkyō was a fiction created in a later period. He then concluded that the statue is the principal image for Keka by the Deity Hachiman and was created at the private wish of Wake no Kiyomaro.

 This seminar was held in person and online in TOBUNKEN. We invited Dr. SARAI Mai of Gakushuin University as a commentator, and Prof. NAGAOKA Ryūsaku of Tohoku University. Other researchers specializing in the history of sculpture also participated. Various opinions were expressed in a lively discussion during the Q&A session. This presentation provided a new perspective on the studies of Standing Yakushi Nyorai of the Jingoji Temple. We expect further active discussions.

Video Documentation of the Manufacture of Carving Tools for Sculpture – Recording Survey of Tools and Raw Materials used for the Preservation and Restoration of Art and Craft Objects

Video and photo documentation of the chisel manufacturing process
Manufacturing chisels for sculpture

 Understanding the manufacturing situation of tools and raw materials used for restoration is extremely important to continue sustainably restoring cultural properties. However, “the Research Project on Preservation and Restoration of Tools and Raw Materials,” commissioned to the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) by the Agency for Cultural Affairs since FY2018 revealed that the manufacture of tools and raw materials for cultural property restoration faces many challenges rooted in the following two factors. The first is the human factors of aging manufacturers and a shortage of successors, and the second is factors caused by shifts in social structures, such as deteriorating business and the unavailability of raw materials. Considering this research outcome, the Center for Conservation Science initiated a project to collect fundamental physical property data and to document tools and raw materials necessary to preserve and restore cultural properties. The Center has worked on this project with the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems and the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage. This monthly report presents the documentation survey of chisels for sculpture, the manufacture of which will cease.

 Chisels and saws are key tools to restore wood carving cultural properties because new timber materials may be carved and used as repair materials. Konobu Ltd. (Konobu), founded in the early Shōwa era (early 20th century) by the Takiguchi family, specialized as carving tool smiths. Since then, this smith has manufactured chisels for sculpture; Mr. SAITO Kazuyoshi succeeded their manufacturing techniques. Their products have been favored by many in charge of wood carving restoration and wood carving itself. However, Konobu stopped accepting new orders in October 2021 and expressed that they would soon close their business. TOBUNKEN used videos and photographs to document their full manufacturing process of chisels for sculpture, as well as their equipment and smith tools in interviews from May 23rd to 27th, 2022. Mr. KADOWAKI Yutaka of BIJYUTSUIN Laboratory for Conservation of National Treasures of Japan and the Agency for Cultural Affairs cooperated in this documentation survey.

 Unfortunately, it became almost impossible to experience and observe in person the Konobu chisel manufacturing process. We plan to organize the survey records to serve as a clue for future generations who want to reproduce chisels for sculpture.

Research Presentation at the Symposium in New York – Conservation Thinking in Japan

Presentation by HAYAKAWA Noriko

 HAYAKAWA Noriko of the Center for Conservation Science spoke about the relationship between techniques and materials for cultural property restoration in Japan titled The Relationship Between Traditional Painting Materials and Techniques in Japan from a Scientific Perspective in a talk at the symposium held in Bard Hall, New York City, United States, on May 6th and 7th 2022.
 This symposium titled Conservation Thinking in Japan and India was held both in person and online by Bard Graduate Center with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. There, experts on restoration of Japanese cultural properties and fine art history introduced their latest research from Japan and other countries.

 HAYAKAWA introduced two primary points among research in the Restoration Materials Section: the fact that furunori (aged paste) used for restoration of paintings is corelated to fringe materials and techniques, and an assumption that changes in the manufacturing process for silk, a support material of paintings, altered its string forms and preservability, which then impacted painting expression.

 Tours around related facilities and other meetings were held before and after the symposium, where useful discussions were conducted based on actual restoration cases.

 Scientific elucidation of materials and techniques is required even during everyday operations in restoration and material production. Opinion exchanges with other experts triggered further research. This presentation was a precious opportunity to disseminate our research outcomes to a wider audience.

Cultural Heritage x Citizen Engagement = Potential for Multi-Actors’ International Cooperation– The 30th Seminar Held by the Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage

The 30th seminar
Online discussion

 The 30th Seminar titled Cultural Heritage x Citizen Engagement = Potential for Multi-Actors’ International Cooperation was held by the Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage (JCIC-Heritage) in webinar format on February 11th, 2022. The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) was commissioned JCIC-Heritage secretariat by the Agency for Cultural Affairs.

 This seminar hosted discussions about new possibilities of international cooperation for cultural heritage, expected to be realized through the participation of multiple actors. The discussion was based on cases utilizing the knowledge of domestic community design involving citizens and co-work by public and private sectors, as well as cases related to multiple developments of international exchange hosted by the private sector.

 Ms. MURAKAMI Kayo (Senior Cultural Properties Specialist of the Agency for Cultural Affairs) introduced her own activities as a technical cooperation project specialist during her participation in the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers titled Tourism Development in Ecomuseum Concept through International Cooperation – The Case of Al-Salt City of Jordan. Ms. CHIU, Ru Hwa (Secretary General of the Institute for Historical Resources Management) introduced the various activities she has accumulated over multiple decades in the private sector titled Collaboration in Heritage Conservation – Co-learning Journey.

 Prof. NISHIMURA Yukio (professor of Kokugakuin University) and Mr. SATO Hiroshi (Chief Senior Researcher of Research Operations Department, the Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)) joined the panel discussion with the abovementioned speakers during the latter half of the seminar. The seminar prompted active discussions. The participants discussed the importance of consensus building, carefully considering the concerned parties’ interests, and the necessity of efforts to share the value of cultural heritage by various actors.

 Nearly 120 people participated in this seminar both from Japan and abroad. JCICC plans to pursue the possibilities of Cultural Heritage Cooperation by multiple actors. Please visit our website for the seminar details Only).

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