Activity Report (1999) Part 1 II. Cultural Preservation and Vitality

International Forum: Protection and Preservation of Historical Documents in Southeast Asia
February 21 - 24, 2000, Chiang Mai, Thailand

¥ 7,393,047
In cooperation with Chiang Mai University Library, the Asia Center conducted an international forum with the ultimate aim of preserving and conserving historical documents scattered throughout Southeast Asia by sharing experiences and seeking to collaborate in effective ways in the region. The forum was in response to the situation of there being no such framework to put related activities and organizations together, in spite of a number of multinational cooperation efforts made in conservation activities. The three-day forum was attended by historians, curators, archivists, conservation specialists, and foundation officials from the region and they discussed a wide range of issues on protecting and preserving historical documents: the current status of rare documents, conservation methodology, storage conditions for microforms, copyrights and so on. The last day of the event witnessed the adoption of the Chiang Mai Protocol and establishment of the international clearinghouse, SEACAP (Southeast Asian Consortium for Access and Preservation).

Preliminary Study on the Documentation of the Intangible Culture in Viet Nam
April 21 - September 30, 1999

¥ 2,993,423
Viet Nam's traditional culture, which is mostly attributed to minority ethnic groups, has been disappearing in a very rapid manner due to the implementation of a market economy and rapid development. Among those cultural assets, such intangible ones as dances, folk songs and ceremonies are in an urgent need of aid as it would take time to teach people to continue such tradition. Aiming to record these performances in audio-visual forms for future researchers and performers, the Research Committee to Visually Record Asia's Intangible Cultural Assets took the initiative in preliminary field studies on preservation efforts made by the Vietnamese government and cultural institutions, and the ideal framework for international cooperation.
The findings were published in a report and were also presented at the meeting in Tokyo involving those in the field of cultural exchange and cooperation with Viet Nam, government and foundation officials, and researchers of Viet Nam studies.

Documentation of Sbek Thom
February 1 - March 31, 2000

¥ 3,462,160
The focus of this project is to record Sbek Thom, the traditional large shadow theater in Cambodia from an interdisciplinary approach. Seven Japanese participants, including specialists from the National Museum of Ethnology, and experts of Royal University of Fine Arts, Cambodia were involved. With the help of the Study Committee for Traditional Cambodian Arts, the attendants were successful in recording into audio-visual forms all the repertoires of Sbek Thom, while having interviews with the people engaged in the theater. The film shooting proceeded in a manner that simultaneously served as training sessions for young researchers and experts in Cambodia. The recorded footage is to be subtitled in Khmer and Japanese for distribution to institutes in Cambodia, and to be shown at seminars and special exhibitions at the National Museum of Ethnology in Japan.

Support Program for National Museum of Bhutan

Documentation of the Intangible Culture in Bhutan
February 5 - 22, 2000, Bhutan

¥ 3,545,183
Two Japanese experts form the National Museum of Ethnology, Prof. Yasuyuki Kurita and Mr. Hitoshi Tagami, manager of audio-visual technology in the information system division, were dispatched to the National Museum of Bhutan in order to offer training sessions on audio-visual recording to the museum staff members. This will help the museum to prepare for a project to record the nation's intangible assets in audio-visual form. The Asia Center's funds also helped the museum to produce a report on the 2nd colloquium, "Medieval Period of Bhutan" (February 23 - 24, 1999), which is expected to provide educational material for museum staff members.

Emergency Aid to Central Viet Nam for Flood Damages

Course of Nha Nhac in Hue National University: Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan
December 23, 1999 - January 5, 2000, Hue, Viet Nam

¥ 1,567,863
With the Asia Center's continued support, the Hue Institute of Arts at Hue National University in Viet Nam had been making constant progress in preserving and revitalizing Nha Nhac, the traditional royal court music of Hue, until October 1999, when a flood swept through the central part of the country, severely damaging the collage's property, including musical instruments and costumes. In order to assess the magnitude of the damage and to reschedule the Nha Nhac project, two Japanese specialists were dispatched to Hue. Based on their report, discussions were held among professionals to decide on the measures to be taken in the future.

Special Workshop on Restoring Damaged Documents
February 29 - March 14, 2000, Hanoi, Hue and Ho Chi Minh, Viet Nam

¥ 3,254,479
The national archives and museums in Central Viet Nam suffered critical damage to their historical documents due to the flood in October 1999. To immediately respond to this, the Asia Center dispatched two Japanese specialists, Mr. Sakamoto of Tokyo Restoration & Conservation Center and Mr. Imai of Hokuto Documents Conservation Center, to Hanoi, Hue and Ho Chi Minh where they conducted training workshops on how to restore the damaged documents.
These workshops were carried out with the cooperation of curators and archivists at Han Nom Institute, the State Activities Department of Viet Nam, and Hoi An Museum.

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