文化遺産国際協力コンソーシアム Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage JCIC-Heritage logo JCIC-Heritage

文化遺産国際協力活動とは?

DISCOVERY WHAT IS INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
IN CULTURAL HERITAGE?

This refers to parties related to government, the academy, and the private sector joining forces to promote international cooperation related to protection of cultural heritage, based on a recognition that items of outstanding cultural heritage are valuable assets shared by humanity and that we have a responsibility for passing them on to future generations, across national borders.

BACKGROUND

This refers to parties related to government, the academy, and the private sector joining forces to promote international cooperation related to protection of cultural heritage, based on a recognition that items of outstanding cultural heritage are valuable assets shared by humanity and that we have a responsibility for passing them on to future generations, across national borders.

Why is international
cooperation needed?

BACKGROUND

  • Excavation work at Kuntur Wasi
    (Peru)

  • Shwenandaw Monastery
    (Myanmar)

  • Survey on thatched ceiling structure
    (Uganda)

  • Restoration of murals in Ajanta
    (India)

  • Excavation studies at Bamiyan
    (Afghanistan)

  • Hoi An-Japan cultural exchange festival
    (Viet Nam)

  • Zafimaniry wood crafting skills
    (Madagascar)

  • On-site seminar in Angkor
    (Cambodia)

Excavation work at Kuntur Wasi
(Peru)

Shwenandaw Monastery
(Myanmar)

Survey on thatched ceiling structure
(Uganda)

Restoration of murals in Ajanta
(India)

Today, there are items of valuable cultural heritage around the world whose survival is at risk due to wars, natural disasters, poverty, and other causes. The idea of protecting this heritage at risk, shared by humanity, is a strong desire not only in the relevant countries but worldwide as well. However, it is a fact that in not a few cases it is difficult for a single region or country to protect its cultural heritage due to technical, financial, or some other causes. But as globalization advances at unprecedented speed in the political and economic spheres, activities are underway around the world to protect this shared human heritage across national borders. Behind this is the deepening understanding around the world of the need to reflect on the repeated cases of destruction or loss of cultural heritage over history and of acceptance of diverse values.

STORY

A major impetus behind global recognition of the need for international cooperation across national boundaries with regard to protection of cultural heritage was the international campaign to save the Abu Simbel temples of Egypt. During the 1960s, an international campaign was initiated by UNESCO, to protect the temples from being submerged underwater as a result of the construction of the Aswan High Dam upstream on the Nile River.

As a result, the Abu Simbel temples were saved from submersion by relocating them to a safe location. This led to the recognition of the need for international cooperation to protect cultural heritage, as the heritage of all humanity. Eventually, this led to the adoption by UNESCO in 1972 of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

Excavation studies at Bamiyan
(Afghanistan)

Hoi An-Japan cultural exchange festival
(Viet Nam)

Zafimaniry wood crafting skills
(Madagascar)

On-site seminar in Angkor
(Cambodia)

What kinds of activities
are underway?

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION BY JAPAN

  • Fundamental research(Lebanon)

  • Master planning(Palestine)

  • Project planning survey(Indonesia)

  • Human resource development(International training course)

  • Conservation and restoration(Cambodia)

  • Provision of equipment(Pakistan)

Fundamental research
(Lebanon)

Master planning
(Palestine)

Project planning survey
(Indonesia)

Joining hands internationally to pass on to future generations the valuable heritage shared by humanity also leads to an attitude of recognizing and respecting each other’s cultures. Japan is involved proactively in international cooperation activities in the area of cultural heritage as part of its efforts to build a stable foundation for the international community. In particular, as concepts of cultural heritage and methods of cooperation grow increasingly diverse, Japan is taking part actively in various activities based on its experience and track record, including not only tangible aspects but also continual support in the intangibles such as research, preservation and restoration, financial support, preparation of master plans, human-resources development, and activities to raise awareness and promote related initiatives.

Since it is likely that it will take a long time before these efforts generate results, the support for cultural heritage, which is something of which people in each relevant county can be proud, reverberates directly with the counterparties involved, and an important way of contributing to the international community is through assistance based on Japan’s knowledge, technologies, and spirit of valuing culture, instead of sticking to material support alone.

STORY

Japan’s international cooperation in protection of cultural heritage first began to become quite active in the second half of the 1980s. In a speech delivered in London in May 1988, titled “Opening a New Era in Japanese-European Relations,” Prime Minister Takeshita described how Japan’s vision of international cooperation included “international cultural exchange” and clearly described his intent to transform Japan’s cultural role in the world from its traditional passive approach to one of proactive contributions.

This supported the start of proactive activities such as general cultural grant-aid cooperation by the Japanese government in the field of cultural heritage and the contribution of the Japanese Funds-in-trust to UNESCO for the Preservation of the World Cultural Heritage. At the same time, international cooperation activities by research institutions, NGOs, and other bodies with financial support from private-sector foundations and other sources began to thrive as well.

Human resource development
(International training course)

Conservation and restoration
(Cambodia)

Provision of equipment
(Pakistan)

Who takes part in
these activities?

ACTORS

  • Training of measurement at Ta Nei temple ruin
    (Cambodia)

  • Workshop on planning historic site development
    (Kyrgyzstan)

  • Research on traditional festival in Khokana
    (Nepal)

  • On-site seminar in Mandalay
    (Myanmar)

Training of measurement at Ta Nei temple ruin
(Cambodia)

Workshop on planning historic site development
(Kyrgyzstan)

Cross-functional cooperation across a wide range of fields is essential to international cooperation in cultural heritage. It brings together the power of a diverse range of specialists from both the public and private sectors, including those involved in research, those involved in preservation and restoration, those building relevant systems and measures, and those training local human resources. To take advantage of Japan’s preservation and restoration technologies, which are recognized internationally to be at a very high level, together with the involvement of Japanese experts, efforts are focusing on training of human resources for sustainable preservation and restoration, so that in the future local people will be able to protect their cultural heritage with their own hands. In addition, the Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage (JCIC-Heritage) was established in June 2006 as an organization intended to build an domestic network to bring together into one single body the powers of institutions such as universities and research institutions and experts in Japan. This led to the formation of a network of experts and related parties, from government, academia, and private sectors, involved in international cooperation in cultural heritage, enabling more efficient cooperation as a result. This system is like none other in the world.

Government budget for international cooperation on cultural heritage (fiscal 2015)
Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan ¥319million
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan ¥152million
UNESCO Japanese Funds-in-Trust (JFIT) for the Preservation of the World Cultural Heritage & JFIT for the Preservation and Promotion of the Intangible Cultural Heritage
Aid from private foundations
In Japan, private aid for research on protection of cultural heritage abroad and for its preservation and restoration is provided mainly by the following foundations.
Sumitomo Foundation Preservation of cultural heritage (works of art and sites) overseas; restoration projects and maintenance; advanced research directly related to restoration
Toyota Foundation Policy-advice activities in East Asia and Southeast Asia
Foundation for Cultural Heritage and Art Research International exchange and cooperation related to protection of cultural heritage and art research
Mitsubishi Foundation Empirical research in fields related to the humanities and social sciences

Research on traditional festival in Khokana
(Nepal)

On-site seminar in Mandalay
(Myanmar)