Resources > National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo
04 Jul 2011

National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo

The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo was originally founded in 1930 as The Institute of Art research. In 2001, the Institute was renamed the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties,Tokyo and started its new history as a branch of the Independent Administrative Institution with some changes to the former organization.

The accumulation of documents and image data related to cultural properties is an essential part of the management, utilization and conservation of cultural properties. Working from an art historical basis, the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems has as its fundamental mission the organization and archiving of these written and visual materials related to the study of cultural properties and the dissemination of these materials to the public. We further aim to establish new "information materials studies" and new relevant research methodologies as part of this process.

The Department's aim is to make the cultural properties information archive created from the materials collected and organized through our research available to the public through the Institute Library and website. In addition, the Department manages all the information system of the Institute and is in charge of the Institute’s public relations.

The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage conducts basic research useful for the preservation and transmission of intangible cultural heritage of Japan such as intangible cultural properties, intangible folk cultural properties, and conservation techniques for cultural properties. Audio-visual documentation, which is a significant method for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, is conducted and new methods for documentation are also investigated.

The Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques was established as a national center to conduct scientific research on cultural properties by integrating the Department of Conservation Science and the Department of Restoration Techniques. The Center studies environmental conditions surrounding cultural properties and the characteristics of cultural properties by employing scientific methods for their conservation. It also studies the materials, manufacturing techniques and the environment surrounding cultural properties for their restoration, and develops and evaluates necessary restoration materials and techniques. The Center collaborates closely with those actually engaged in conservation and restoration of cultural properties.

The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation was established as the national center for international cooperation related to the conservation and restoration of cultural properties in countries all over the world and has since been consistently working at the forefront of Japan’s international cooperation for cultural heritage.

The Center’s activities have been evolving in content, from its original activities consisting of exchanges for research related to conservation and restoration or capacity building in the domain of cultural property protection, to cooperation in actual on-site conservation and restoration projects abroad, or assistance in the safeguarding of cultural properties in times of disasters. Furthermore, network building between related organizations in Japan and abroad has become another important mission of the Center.

The Center also coordinates activities with the International Cooperation Section of the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, connecting the two Research Institutes for Cultural Properties based in Tokyo and Nara, for an effective implementation of the Institutes’ internationally-related activities.