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

Women in Modern Korean Art – The 8th Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems in FY 2023

Presentation by Dr. Kim Soyeon
Discussion with Dr. Kim Soyeon

 In the Art World, it is widely known that fewer female artists actively worked in the male-dominated society in the past, while female artists work very actively today. Recently, however, research has been gradually revealing previously little-known activities of female artists in the modern period of Japan. However, how female artists worked in the modern Korean art world remained unknown to us.

 On January 17, 2024, Dr. Kim Soyeon of Ewha Womans University conducted a presentation titled, Female Arts in Modern Korean Art History – Why were there no Female Artists in Modern Korea?” at the 8th Seminar held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems. This presentation showed the latest outcomes of research on female artists in Modern Korean Art history.

 Dr. Kim explained that Kisaeng (Korean Geisha) occupied outstanding positions as the first receivers of the benefits of the art education available for females in Korea in the first half of the 20th century. However, the arts that kisaeng created did not go beyond the traditional art categories such as Korean traditional calligraphy and Sagunja (the four gentlemen paintings or the Four Gracious Plants: Korean traditional paintings depicting bamboo, plum blossoms, chrysanthemums and orchids, as metaphors of noble gentlemen). On the other hand, female artists such as Jeong Chanyeong, who adapted the way of modern Japanese-style painting, appeared in that period. Dr. Kim also talked about Japanese female painters in Korea who worked as art teachers or trained disciples in their own private painting schools in colonial Korea. Based on these outcomes, she stressed the necessity of research collaboration between Japan and South Korea.

 After her presentation, Mr. TADOKORO Tai of Kosetsu Memorial Museum, Jissen Women’s Educational Institute, talked about the current research on modern female artists in Japan, especially Japanese-style painting artists. After his talk, discussions were held that included the audience.

 This seminar focused on areas in which further research is needed both in Japan and Korea. We believe that it was a precious opportunity for research exchange to further historical investigation.

 This seminar was held in both Japanese and Korean, and Dr. TASHIRO Yuichiro of the department interpreted the seminar.

About Two Christian Lecterns ‘discovered’ in Portugal: New Materials that Show the Historical Relationship between Japan and Portugal and the Actual Situation of the Christian Ban in the Momoyama and Early Edo Periods - the 9th Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

Research scene at TOBUNKEN
Presentation at the seminar
Observation of the lecterns by the attendees

 On January 23, 2024, Mr. KOBAYASHI Koji, Senior Fellow of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems, and Dr. Ulrike Körber, Researcher of the IHA-NOVA FCSH / IN2PAST, Lisbon, Portugal, conducted research and made a presentation titled as above at the 9th seminar held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems.
 Two portable lecterns that had been used by Christian missionaries and served to uphold the mass books were reported as new materials discovered in Portugal in recent years. One lectern, with a Luso-Asian style, has been referred to as having a strong relationship with the Ryukyu Islands or with Macau, the latter having been a Portuguese base in China at the time, and many Chinese characters are written in black ink on the wooden substrate underneath the decorative lacquer coating. The other lectern is of Nanban lacquer, made in Kyoto in the 1630s, and had been exported to Europe. Curiously, the center area, with the IHS insignia of the Jesuits on almost all such lecterns, is thickly recoated with a black lacquer pine tree pattern on it on this lectern. It was considered that these lecterns with the above characteristics must be important, previously unknown historical materials, and thus we have been preparing to conduct various research studies at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Tokyo and Nara or other facilities and to have this presentation.
Based on the research of the two presenters and that conducted at this time, we could obtain the tentative results that the lectern having the Luso-Asian style was made around 1600, and that the Nanban lectern produced in Japan during the same period had a close relationship with Macau, because we can see characters that can possibly be read as ‘difficult to leave from Macau’ in a Chinese poem on the lectern. Also, on the other lectern, we could discover the IHS insignia trace underneath the pine tree lacquer recoating layer by X-ray CT conducted at Nara National Museum. We can infer that the involved party at that time stripped the original shell pattern (raden) off completely and recoated the area to totally hide the Christian symbol under the imminent pressure of the strict Christian ban imposed by the Tokugawa Shogunate.
 We reported on the above ongoing very new findings quickly based on in this presentation, and it became an opportunity for the attendants to observe these two lecterns. We intend to deepen our research further and to make an official report of this research as soon as possible.

(NHK news report web link in Japanese:

The Second Korean Art History Colloquium at Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties

The seminar room on January 26.

 The Archives Section at the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems currently organizes Korean painting research materials, such as prewar glass plates and mounted photographs.* In organizing the data, we exchange opinions with both Japanese and Korean researchers. As a part of the project, Dr. Mok Soohyun (Director, Institute of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, at the Association of Korean Modern & Contemporary Art History), a leading researcher on modern art history in Korea, was invited to the institute. In conjunction with a review meeting on materials, a colloquium titled, Korean Art History Colloquium was held on January 26 in the institute’s basement seminar room, where the first colloquium was held in November. The colloquium was designed as an opportunity for researchers and students in Japan to come into contact with the recent trends and current state of Korean art history. The event, titled stablishment of Museums in Korea, was hosted and translated by Mr. TASHIRO Yūichiro, a researcher at the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems. The colloquium was attended by researchers and graduate students from related fields, including Professor KIDA Emiko of Ōtani University and Professor Lee Mina of Tokyo National University of the Arts, and full and frank academic discussions were held. The Archives Section hopes that we can continue to organize the data accumulated by the institute and serve as a bridge between researchers from overseas and Japan.

*Funded by the Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation. “Photographs of Korean Paintings at Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties” (September 2023 – August 2024, research representative: TASHIRO Yūichiro)

A Lecture at SOAS

Ms. Maizawa, presenting at SOAS

 Ms. MAIZAWA Rei (Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems) has been a visiting researcher at the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC) in Norwich, UK, since last October, where she has been working on research of art works and studies
( As a part of these activities, on January 25, 2024, she gave a lecture in English titled “The Arhat painting at Kōmyōji Temple: Iconography, Style, and the Worship of Buddha in East Asia” at SOAS (University of London, The School of Oriental and African Studies), Center for the Study of Japanese Religions. SOAS is world-renowned as an academic institution for the studies of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. It also has been a leading center for the study of Japan in Europe.
 In the lecture, Ms. MAIZAWA explained about the style and iconography in detail, and then discussed its religious background of the Arhat painting. Professor Lucia Dolce of SOAS chaired the lecture, which was attended by around 70 people, including SOAS alumni and researchers and students of Japanese religious studies. The lecture was followed by a question-and-answer session, during which experts in Chinese and Korean art also gave their opinions, providing an opportunity for a meaningful exchange of views. The lecture hall was almost full on the day, indicating the high level of interest in the study of Buddhist painting in the UK.

Open seminar: “Preservation and Utilization of Aerial Heritage”

Panel discussion

 On January 23, 2024, the Center for Conservation Science of the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) held an open seminar, titled Conservation and Utilization of Aerial Heritage, in cooperation with the Japan Aeronautic Association (JAA).
 Aerial heritage, including materials related to aviation history such as drawings and photographs, are irreplaceable cultural properties in Japan’s modern and contemporary history. However, there are many differences from conventional cultural properties in terms of materials and scale, and new methods are often required for their conservation and utilization as cultural properties. The purpose of this open seminar was to rethink the current status and issues of aviation materials as cultural assets and cultural heritage.
 The opening remarks were made by Mr. SAITO Takamasa, Director General of TOBUNKEN, and Mr. SHIMIZU Shinzo, Vice President of the JAA, followed by an explanation of the purpose of the seminar by Mr. NAKAYAMA Shunsuke, Senior Fellow of the Center for Conservation Science. Mr. NAKAYAMA, Mr. KANDA Shigeyoshi of JAA, and Ms. NAKAMURA Mai, Associate Fellow of the Center for Conservation Science, gave a presentation titled “Preservation of Aviation Historical Materials and Challenges” on the results and challenges of the joint research project, “Study on the Preservation of Aviation Heritage,” that the JAA and the TOBUNKEN have been carrying out since FY2004. Mr. NAGASHIMA Hiroyuki, a former member of the JAA, gave a detailed case study report on the repair of the fabric coverings of the Type 3 Fighter “Hien,” owned by the JAA and exhibited at the Gifu-Kakamigahara air and space museum. Mr. YAMAKI Satoshi of the Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots in Minamikyushu City reported on the history of the Type 4 Fighter “Hayate (No. 1446),” owned by the museum, and the research activities being undertaken to preserve it. In addition, Mr. CHIBA Tsuyoshi, Researcher of the Center for Conservation Science, and Ms. HAGA Ayae Researcher of the Center for Conservation Science, gave a presentation on the status of the designation of aircraft as cultural properties in Japan and introduced the research that has been conducted as part of the “MoU for Research on Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Properties Designated by Minamikyushu City.” Following these lectures, a panel discussion was held with Mr. KANDA, Mr. NAGASHIMA, Mr. YAMAKI, and Mr. NAKAYAMA, with Mr. TATEISHI Toru, Director of the Center for Conservation Science, as a facilitator, in which participants actively exchanged opinions on the current status and issues surrounding aviation materials as cultural properties. The event ended on a high note with closing remarks by Mr. TATEISHI.
 In the foyer of the venue, we exhibited materials related to the joint research between the JAA and TOBUNKEN, including a horizontal stabilizer of a Yamazaki Type 1 “Wakamoto” glider, the vertical stabilizer of an Ito Type A2 glider, an oil painting called “Asakaze” by YAMAJI Shingo, and a Siemens-Schuckert D.IV fuselage panel.
 In all, 77 people participated in the seminar, and the post-event questions showed that there are high expectations for research and study on the preservation and utilization of modern cultural heritage, including aircraft. A report on this seminar will be published in the next fiscal year.

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