Cooperation with International Organizations (UNESCO,UNU)

Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage

December 14, 2016
Japanese

Upon hearing the term Cultural Heritage, images of buildings, temples and other relics tend to come to mind, but intangible cultural heritage such as language, music, dance, craft technique and ritual and festive events must not be forgotten. Intangible cultural heritage is the emblem of the spiritual culture of the many different peoples of the world, and at the same time, is an important legacy shared by all of mankind. There has been active discussion in the global community on recognition and respect for the diversity of culture in this age of globalization. In particular, the importance of safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage that comprises the roots of each people's cultural identity has especially been gaining attention around the world.

Intangible cultural heritage cannot be recovered once it has been lost. In Africa there is a saying that when an elder dies, a library burns. In recent years, due to the aging of practitioners and the lack of successors for their arts and crafts, a great amount of Intangible Cultural Heritage is facing the danger of extinction. Urgent steps must be taken to preserve and promote intangible heritage.

In 1993, Japan established with the UNESCO Japanese Funds-in-Trust for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, and by 2016 it has contributed 16.44 million USD and implemented more than 100 projects in the world.

In addition to creating an atlas of the world's languages in danger of disappearing (a project to preserve language), Japan has been working on various individual projects to preserve intangible cultural heritage. These projects cover topics such as the preservation of the Kutiyattam Sanskrit theatre in India and bark cloth making in Uganda. Japan has taken a lead in the creation of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which went into effect in 2006. It has also been supporting the development of domestic institutions for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in Oceania, a region rich in Intangible Cultural Heritage, to encourage those countries to join the Convention. Japan carries out projects to help the States that have ratified the Convention implement it fully.

As the Intangible Cultural Heritage eligible for safeguarding efforts is often inherited by minorities, Japan -- in cooperation with UNESCO, and by respecting the wishes of the governments of the relevant countries -- carries out efforts to ensure the survival of Intangible Cultural Heritage into the future.

UNESCO Japanese Funds-in-Trust for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage

Completed Projects

    Place Period
1 International Expert Group Meeting on the Safeguarding and Promotion of Intangible Cultural Heritage France (Paris) June 1993
2 Preservation of the Han Nationality Intangible Cultural Heritage China 1994 -1998
3 Publication of an Atlas of Endangered Languages in the World   1994 -1996
4 Protection and Promotion of Minority Chinese Nationalities' Fork Tales, Poems and Other Nonphysical Cultural Heritage in Danger of Extinction China 1994 -December 2003
5 International Expert Group Meeting on the Safegurding and Promotion of the Intangible Cultural Heriage in Viet Nam Viet Nam March 1994
6 Follow-up of the International Expert Group Meeting of the Intangible Cultural Heriage in Viet Nam(Publication of a book entitled The Sadang of Viet Nam) Viet Nam 1995 -1998
7 The International Conference for Preservation and Promotion of Traditonal Culture in East Asia Japan (Tokyo) September 1995
8 Regional Workshop of East Asian Lacquerware Myanmar February 1996
9 International Expert Meeting for the Safeguarding and Promotion of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Minority Groups of the Lao People's Democratic republic Lao People's Democratic Republic October 1996
10 Publication of a Book on 53 Ethnic Groups in Viet nam Viet Nam July 1997-December 2000
11 Publicaton of a Book on 47 Minorities Ethnic Groups Lao People's Democratic Republic July 1997-December 2000
12 Regional Workshop on East Asian Lacquerware Myanmar July 1997-December 2000
13 Publication of a Book on East Asia Lacquerware Myanmar July 1997
14 Central Asian Epics International Symposium -Festival Mongolia August 1997
15 World Survey on Application of the Recommendation adopted in 1989 on the Safeguarding of Traditional Culture and Forklore United States of America
(Washington D.C.)
June 1999
16 Safeguarding of Mongolian Intangible Cultural Heritage Mongolia August 1999-May 2002
17 Symposium on Revitalisation of Traditional Ceramic Techniques in Central Asia "Blue of Samarkand" Uzbekistan September 1999-July 2000
18 Indigenous Languages:Revitalization and Preservation in Melanesia and the Pacific (phase1) Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu June 2000-February 2003
19 Preparatory Activities for the Second Proclamation of Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity (phase1) Spain
(Elche)
June 2000-October 2001
20 Workshop on Transmission of the Traditional Technique of Costume-making of the Mial/Hmong people China July 2000-July 2002
21 Rehabilitation of the Performing Arts in Cambodia Cambodia August 2000-August 2001
22 Rivised Edition of the An Atlas of the World'slanguages in Danger of Disappearing   August 2000-April 2001
23 National Programme for the Safeguarding and Development of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Lithuania Lithuania September 2000-September 2001
24 Artisans of SouthEast Asia:Symposium ,Workshop and Exibition for the Preservation and Inheritance of Traditional Textile Making Skills Japan
(Osaka, Kyoto)
March 2001-April 2001
25 Establishing of a National Inventory of the Performing Arts of Bhutan Bhutan May 2001-December 2004
26 Awareness raising for the project "Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity France (Paris) September 2001-April 2002
27 Training Course for the System Entitled "Living Human Treasure" Philippines, Japan (Tokyo) September 2001-March 2001
28 2001 Regional Seminar for Cultural Personnel in Asia and the Pacific on "Proclamation of Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" Japan (Tokyo) September 2001-April 2002
29 International Meeting of Experts on Intangible Cultural Heritage, 22-24 January 2002, Rio de Janeiro,Brazil Brazil (Rio de Janeiro) December 2001-December 2003
30 The Kunqu Opera China May 2002-December 2004
31 Creating a Multimedia Datebase of Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity(First Phase) UNESCO (Countries concerned: India, China, Morocco, Georgia, Belize [Honduras, Nicaragua]) December 2002-December 2005
32 Preliminary draft convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage(Phase:I) France December 2002-March 2003
33 Preparatory Activities for the Second Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity(phase 2) France January 2003-December 2004
34 "Follow-up to the Blue of Samarkand" Project: National Inventory Revival of the Traditional Ceramics of Uzubekistan Uzbekistan January 2003-May 2007
35 The Oral and Intangible Heritage of the Zapara Community Peru, Ecuador January 2003-September 2007
36 Preliminary draft convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage (Phase:II) France February 2003
37 The Hudhud chants of the Ifugao Philippines May 2003-April 2008
38 The Cultural Space of the Boysun District Uzbekistan May 2003-June 2006
39 Georgian Traditional Polyphony Georgia July 2003-November 2006
40 Public Awareness Campaign in Colombia On the Importance of Safeguarding the oral and Intangible Heritage Colombia July 2003-September 2005
41 The Oral Heritage of Gelede Benin, Nigeria, Togo October 2003-December 2007
42 Kutiyattam, Sanskrit Theatre India January 2004-February 2007
43 The Cultural Space of Jamaa el-Fna Square Morocco March 2004-December 2008
44 Lithuanian Cross - Crafting and its Symbolism Lithuania April 2004-July 2005
45 Traditional Money Banks in Vanuatu Vanuatu July 2004-January 2007
46 TheTraditional Music of the Morin Khuur Mongolia September 2004-September 2007
47 The Wayang Puppet Theatre Indonesia December 2004-November 2007
48 The Woodcrafting Knowledge of the Zafimaniry Madagascar December 2004-September 2008
49 The Polyphonic Singing of the Aka Pygmies od Central Africa Central African Republic, Republic of Congo December 2004-July 2008
50 Shashmaqom Music Tajikistan, Uzbekistan January 2005-October 2007
51 The Lakalaka,Dances and Sung Speeches of Tonga Tonga January 2005-December 2008
52 Preparatory and follow-up activities for the Third Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity January 2005-November 2007
53 The Safeguarding of the Carnival of Barranquilla Colombia January 2005-April 2009
54 Nha nhac-Vietnamese Court Music Viet Nam January 2005-March 2009
55 The Art of Akyns, Kyrgyz Epic Tellers Republic of Kyrgyzstan February 2005-October 2009
56 Vanuatu Sand Drawings Vanuatu March 2005-July 2008
57 La Tumba Francesa Cuba June 2005-August 2008
58 The Royal Ballet of Cambodia Cambodia November 2005-December 2008
59 Indigenous Language Revitalisation and Preservation in Melanesia and the Pacific(Phase II) Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu January 2006-October 2009
60 The Song of Sanaa Yemen March 2006-January 2009
61 Garifuna Language, Music and Dance Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua April 2006-June 2009
62 Oral and Graphic Expressions of the Wajapi Brazil July 2006-September 2008
63 The Mask Dance of the Drametse Ngacham Bhutan November 2006-August 2009
64 Traditional Games of the Afar and the Somali people in the Horn of Africa Djibouti December 2006-March 2009
65 Taquile and its Textile Art Peru December 2006-June 2009
66 Photo Exhibition around the UNESCO(Living Heritage-voyage to the heart of the intangible) February 2007-August 2008
67 Barkcloth Making in Uganda Uganda September 2007-August 2009
68 Organization of a Sub-regional Meeting in the Pacific for the Promotion of Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fiji October 2007-July 2008
69 "Songs of the Moon" Safeguarding traditional Swahili music from Zanzibar(Unguja&Pemba) and the Comoros Tanzania (Zanzibar), Comoros February 2008-February 2009
70 Organization of a consultation workshop in Papua New Guinea on the ratification of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Papua New Guinea, 17 other countries in Oceania March 2008-December 2008
71 Safeguarding Tradistional Somali Performing Arts Kenya, Somalia April 2008-September 2009
72 Inventry of Intangible cultural heritage and their bearers in Burundi, Organizations of Promotional activities Burundi June 2008-July 2009
73 Organization of a sub-regional capacity building workshop in the Pacific and a national consultation meeting in Tonga on the Convention for the Safegarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Tonga, 17 other countries in Oceania October 2008-May 2009
74 The Mbende Jerusarema Dance Zimbabwe December 2006-December 2009
75 The Gule Wamkulu Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia November 2006-December 2009
76 The Makishi Masquerade Zambia October 2006-December 2009
77 The Vinbuza Healing Dance Malawi November 2006-December 2009
78 The Cultural Space of the Brotherhood of the Holy Spirit of Congo's of Villa Mella Dominican Republic April 2005-December 2009
79 The Chopi Timbila tradition Mozambique November 2006-December 2009
80 Preparation of the open-ended intergovernmental working group on Operational Directives of the 2003 Convention France March 2010
81 The Cultural Space of the Yaaral and Degal Mali November 2006-April 2009
82 The Duduk and its Music Armenia November 2006-April 2009
83 El Gueguense Nicaragua April 2007-December 2009
84 Carnaval de Oruro Bolivia April 2005-October 2011
85 Albanian Folk Iso-Polyphony Albania December 2006-March 2010
86 Action Plan fo the Identigication and Promotion of the Sacred Songs of the Voodoo Cult of Dereal Lakou Haiti May 2008-February 2010
87 Baul Songs Bangladesh October 2008-October 2010
88 The Cultural Space of Sosso-Bala Guinea January 2002-January 2008
89 Organization of a series of national consultation meetings on the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in five Pacific countries Palau, Cook Islands, 3 other countries July 2009-June 2011
90 The Mugam of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan January 2006-September 2011
91 The Ifa Divination System Nigeria November 2006-June 2011
92 The Kankurang, Manding initiatory rite Gambia, Senegal November 2006-March 2011
93 Safeguarding of Cimboa Cape Verde June 2008-March 2011
94 Photographic documentation of intangible heritage in Kenya Kenya September 2010-October 2011
95 The Batammariba of Koutammarkou Togo April 2007-June 2009
96 Safeguarding traditional foodways of two communities in Kenya Kenya September 2009-December 2012
97 Contribution in favor of the sub-fund to be used exclusively for enhancing the human capacities UNESCO June 2011
98 Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage through the Strengthening of National Capacties in Asia and the Pacific Bhutan, Cambodia, Mongolia, Nepal, PNG, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste November 2011-December 2015
99 Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage of Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay through strengthening their capacities for implementing the Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay June 2012- March 2014
100 Strengthening national capacity for effective safeguarding of ICH UNESCO June 2011-July 2014
101 Transfer to Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund UNESCO March 2015
102 Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage of Belize, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago through strengthening their capacities for the implementation of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Belize, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago June 2012-December 2015

Ongoing Projects

    Place Period
1 Action Plan for the Safeguarding of theTraditional Medicine Kallawaya Bolibia March 2007-
2 Strengthening national capacity for effective safeguarding of ICH: Phase 2 UNESCO March 2015-
3 Support to the effective implementation of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Nigeria Nigeria January 2015-
4 Strengthening capacities to safeguard intangible cultural heritage in Equador Equador February 2015-
5 Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage through the Strengthening of National Capacities in Asia and the Pacific: Phase 2 Fiji, Laos, Mongolia, Samoa, Sri Lanka March 2015-