|■Tokyo National Research
Institute for Cultural Properties
||■Center for Conservation
|■Department of Art Research,
Archives and Information Systems
||■Japan Center for
International Cooperation in Conservation
|■Department of Intangible
On May 30, 2023, TASHIRO Yuichiro (Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems) gave a presentation titled A Study on the Formation of Korean Art History: Focusing on the Japanese Settlers in Colonial Korea.
Among the Japanese living in Korea during the colonial period (1910-45), many were involved in the administration, research, education, collection, and production (manufacturing) of arts and crafts. However, many of them died on the Korean peninsula or ceased their activities after repatriation to Japan, and among them some have been forgotten in Japan since the end of World War II.
The presenter, with a personal history as a “Japanese in Korea,” having stayed in the Republic of Korea while studying the history of ceramics, has been interested in the Japanese who had spent time in the Korean Peninsula as he did. At the same time, he has felt that their influence on the current understanding of art history has been significant.
With this in mind, the presenter has decided to undertake research on the Japanese in Korea as a long-term research project separate from his work on the history of ceramics. Specifically, the presenter plans to focus on Japanese in Korea who were active in art history and relevant fields by analyzing (1) the framework (historical view and value evaluation) they formed and (2) their human networks, to clarify how they played a crucial role in our understanding of art history in Korea after 1945.
In the presentation, the presenter introduced his previous research on the reception history of Joseon white porcelain, a catalyst for his interest in the Japanese living in Korea (TASHIRO Yuichiro, The Concept of Akikusade: A Reflection on Modern Japanese Perception of Joseon White Porcelain, Korean Journal of Art History, No. 294, Korean Art History Association, 2017). He also presented the results from his material research, conducted in parallel with his academic pursuit of ceramic history, followed by the prospectus of this project. As the word “conjecture” in the Japanese title suggests, this presentation is the first step of an ongoing research project. The presenter hopes to continue his study on clarifying the role of Japanese residents in Korea in the formation of Korean art history.
Participants of the Meeting
The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) has been conducting research exchanges with the National Institute of Intangible Heritage of the Republic of Korea since 2008. As part of this project, we held a meeting for presentation of results of the Japan-Korea Intangible Cultural Heritage Research Exchange Project at our institute on May 24, 2023. At this meeting, the results of the project conducted from October 2016 to March 2023 were presented.
Four staff members (Mr. Yang Jinjo, Ms. Choi Sukkyung, Ms. Kang Kyunghye, and Ms. Ryou Hansun) visiting from the National Intangible Heritage Center, and three members (ISHIMURA Tomo, MAEHARA Megumi, and KUBOTA Hiromichi ) from the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage each made presentations. After the presentations, FUTAGAMI Yoko from the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information took part in a discussion held among all the participants.
During the discussion, comments and suggestions were exchanged on issues and prospects for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage. There was a lively discussion on “culture of everyday life” as intangible cultural heritage (such as culinary culture), which has been attracting attention in recent years. Regarding the safeguarding of this type of intangible cultural heritage, the Republic of Korea started to take measures to safeguard it earlier than Japan; however, both of our groups learned that there are common and different issues between the two countries. The discussion turned into a heated one that lasted for two hours.
This project had been temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, it was fortunate that we were able to resume it last year. In April 2023, our institute and the National Institute of Intangible Heritage signed a new agreement, and the project is now continuing until March 2030. We hope that this research exchange project will promote further understanding and cooperation between the two countries regarding the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage.
Common reed field at the mouth of the Kitakami River selected for 100 Soundscapes of Japan: Preserving our Heritage (Agency of the Environment (at that time) 1996)
The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage investigates the common reeds (Phragmites australis) used for a rozetsu (reed) of hichiriki (Japanese traditional flute) as a part of a project to investigate the raw materials essential for intangible cultural properties. We conducted a survey of common reeds growing around the mouth of the Kitakami River in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, where such reeds are produced. We had two goals for this survey: the first was to assess the suitability of the common reeds in this area for rozetsu of hichiriki by analyzing their characteristics; the second was to find ways to “restore common reeds” in the riverbeds of the Yodo River (Osaka Prefecture), which is known as a production field of the common reeds suitable for rozetsu of hichiriki, by understanding the common reed restoration process and the present conditions of the Kitakami River area, which was severely damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011.
We visited Kumagaya Master Thatchers Co., Ltd., which is working on restoring the common reed field in the Kitakami River area. We interviewed them, about the current common reed field situation and were given samples of common reeds with external diameters large enough to make rozetsu. Kumagaya Master Thatchers thatches roofs of temples, shrines, and other traditional Japanese architecture using traditional techniques and also works on the conservation and restoration of Important Cultural Properties designated by the Japanese government.
We requested two craft persons to make rozetsu from the common reed samples of the Kitakami River that we were given. We plan to compile findings, including evaluations by hichiriki players on the rozetsu made from those common reeds.
We also visited the Kitakamigawa-karyu River Office of the Infrastructure and Transport Tohoku Regional Bureau, the Ministry of Land, which manages the Kitakami River, and Prof. YAMADA Kazuhiro of Tohoku Institute of Technology, is investigating the common reed field before and after the Earthquake and is active in promoting the field. Though the reed field was approximately 183 ha before the Earthquake, it has since shrunken to approximately 87 ha. The field has sunken by 50 to 60 cm and was flooded in the aftermath of the earthquake. Therefore, many common reeds withered and died, and growth of the rest was inhibited by debris brought by the tsunami.
The debris has since been removed thanks to local cooperation, and the reeds have been replanted as an experiment to restore the field. We appreciate the understanding and cooperation of locals who supported the nature revival in the process of the natural environment recovery from the damage by the natural disaster.
Furthermore, a framework was set for conserving the river and surrounding environment through information exchange and reporting by the Kitakamigawa-karyu River Office and other three cooperative organizations backed by the River Cooperation System set in the Act for Partial Revision of the Flood Prevention Act and the River Act (June 2013). We understand that these cooperations contribute to restructuring the common reed field.
Researchers of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, respectively specialized in intangible cultural properties, folk cultural properties, and cultural heritage disaster risk management, work together to comprehensively investigate the situations, challenges, and solutions in regard to the people, techniques, and materials essential to inheriting intangible cultural properties.
Kheni village in Trashiyangtse province, composed of vernacular stone masonry houses
A house of typology unique to Merak district in Trashigang province
Measurement survey of a timber hut
Since 2012, the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) has been continuously engaged in research on vernacular houses in Bhutan, in collaboration with the Department of Culture and Dzongkha Development (DCDD, formerly the Department of Culture, renamed recently upon restructuring), Ministry of Home Affairs, Royal Government of Bhutan. The DCDD promotes a policy of preserving and utilizing vernacular houses by integrating them into the legal protection framework of cultural heritage, while TOBUNKEN supports the initiative from academic and technical aspects.
Previously, our study focused on rammed earth houses commonly seen in the western area of the country. This year, we began a survey on stone masonry houses widely located in central and eastern areas, with the financial support of a JSPS Grant-in-aid for Scientific Research. The first survey mission under this scheme was implemented from April 25 to May 5, 2023.
Our group, comprising four dispatched staff members of TOBUNKEN and two from DCDD, jointly carried out a field survey in the five provinces spanning from Trashigang in the east to Bumthang in the central region. We observed stone masonry houses that appeared to have been built during earlier periods than other traditional houses in the target area, based on prior information collected by DCDD, and surveyed 14 houses in a detailed manner including taking measurements and interviewing the residents. Other than three cases of large-scale, three-storied residences of the ruling class, all were originally very small houses of one or two stories. In the Merak district of Trashigang, where a nomadic ethnic group lives, a unique typology of one-story houses without cattle sheds was widely observed.
Based on knowledge and information obtained during this survey mission, we plan to extend the target area and conduct more detailed investigations of the old houses we had already identified. In addition, since transition and locality of the housing type reflects change and difference of lifestyles, we feel a need to put more focus on these areas in the future. We will continue in our effort to further accelerate cooperation to prevent the loss of precious heritage against the trend that the numbers of vacant and degraded houses are increasing.
The East Gate after completion (photo taken by drone)
The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) continues to support the conservation and sustainable development project of Ta Nei Temple by the Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap (APSARA) in Cambodia. In November 2022, the two parties completed a three-year collaborative restoration project to dismantle and restore the East Gate of the temple. From May 6 to 18, 2023, TOBUNKEN dispatched our group, consisting of two staff members, to the site to record the completion status of the restoration and conduct additional research for the preparation of a final report on the restoration work to be published this year.
For documentation of the completion status, in addition to (1) architectural photography, (2) architectural drawings and (3) a digital 3D model of the East Gate were created. The digital 3D model with dimensional information was generated from some 1,000 images of the building taken from all directions with a single-lens reflex camera and two drones (Mavic mini), using a technique known as “3D photogrammetry.”
Supplementary survey work for preparing the final report included (1) partial revision of the temple layout drawings, (2) photographic documentation of pediment decorations, and (3) a comparative study to analyze the architectural features of the East Gate. For the comparative survey, we visited 10 other temples among the Angkor Monuments that were constructed during the same period as Ta Nei Temple to examine their architectural styles and decorations.
In addition, on-site discussions were held with APSARA representatives regarding the future implementation plan of the Ta Nei Temple conservation project.
We plan to conduct archaeological excavation and architectural survey of the Entrance Terrace to the Causeway, publish a final report, and organize a symposium to commemorate the completion of the East Gate restoration work in the second half of this fiscal year. We will keep you posted on the progress of our project!
Please also see the past activity reports on the Ta Nei project.
Field Activities (Part I)
Field Activities (Part II)
Field Activities (Part III)
Field Activities (Part IV)
Field Activities (Part V)
Field Activities (Part VI)
Field Activities (Part VII)
Field Activities (Part VIII)
Activities during the COVID-19
Field Activities (Part IX)
Field Activities (Part X-1)
Field Activities (Part X-2)
Field Activities (Part X-3)
Field Activities (Part XI)
Presentation by Mr. Ivgin
The Japan Center for Institutional Cooperation accepted a visiting researcher, Mr. Ilkay Ivgin, from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in the Republic of Turkey from April 10 to May 31, 2023. Mr. Ivgin studies comparative research on the cultural property laws in Turkey, Japan, and Italy. During his stay, he undertook research especially on the administrative system of buried cultural property in Japan. Moreover, he collected information on cultural heritage disaster risk management to reconstruct damaged cultural properties and museums affected by the great earthquake in Turkey and Syria in February 2023.
Our center provided collected knowledge on the protection systems for cultural properties and introduced related documents, and also accompanied Mr. Ivgin on visits to the organizations and institutions that work to investigate and manage cultural properties. Acceptance of this visiting researcher at this time was a good opportunity for us to learn about the current situation of Turkish cultural heritage as well as to understand more deeply the Japanese administrative system for buried cultural property and its tasks.
A comment from Mr. Ivgin is included below.
“Within the scope of my Ph.D. thesis titled "Examination of Legal Legislation in the Preservation of Archaeological Artifacts in Türkiye and Legal Arrangement Suggestions for Standardization", which I am still working with the Department of Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage at Ankara Hacı Bayram Veli University. In my Ph.D. thesis, the Japanese legislative system for the protection of cultural assets constitutes an important part of my work.
I am very grateful for their support of my work on the subject of my thesis at the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, where I began my research within the scope of this thesis. I would like to thank the staff of the Tokyo University, Ancient Orient Museum, Tokyo National Museum, Chiba-City Archaeological Research Center, Tokyo Metropolitan Archaeological Research Center, Archeology Institute of Kashihara, Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and Agency for Cultural Affairs for their support.”