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Research Center for Japanese Garden Art and Historic Heritage

Japanese Garden Art Research Department

"Japanese garden art as the key to understanding the deep relationship between nature and people"

The Japanese Garden Art Research Department (formerly the Research Center for Japanese Garden Art) is a professional research institution founded in 1996 in order to host studies of Japanese garden art. As well as conducting distinctive research of garden culture in Japan, the department has been entrusted surveys from various aspects, such as local public bodies, regarding preservation and utilization of traditional gardens. The culture of Japanese gardens was born and grew over the years interwoven with the close relationship between nature and people. It is a manifestation of the profundity of the human heart, and at the same time it is also a result of a pursuit of a comfortable living environment. By making many changes to the natural environment, modern civilization has accomplished a truly swift development. At the same time it ended up with many contradictions on the levels of the individual, the society, and the earth. By working with Japanese gardens we are trying to find clues to resolve these contradictions. This department addresses the task of understanding Japanese garden art not only within the framework of such specialized areas as those of gardening or landscape design, but also incorporating various other points of view, such as those of architecture, fine arts, industrial art, philosophy, and religion. All of the studies are conducted on the firm basis of practical examination of the locations such as measurement surveys and archeological excavation on the one hand and close cooperation with the on-site professionals on the other. Every year our department offers two series of open lectures, the Study of Gardens Course, which strives to explore the charm of gardening culture, and the Humanity and Creative Power Course, which tries to gain insight into the coexistence of people and nature, which forms the very basis of gardening culture. In addition, in order to promote understanding and popularization of Japanese garden culture overseas, we hold intensive seminars for researchers and on-site professionals from abroad.

In the 2007 academic year, our department was entrusted the surveillance study “general plan of restoration and maintenance of Tamazato Residence Garden” (Kagoshima City), “planting and maintenance work in such famous beauty spots as Genkyu Rakurakuen and Matsubara Shimoyashiki Garden of the Hikone clan” (Hikone City), “restoration of the pond embankment at famous beauty spot Aizu Matsudaira's Royal Garden” (Aizuwakamatsu City) and “plan for execution of restoration and maintenance of famous beauty spot Saifukuji Garden” (Tsuruga City). The fruits of our research are offered to the general public through open classes and lectures, publications in research bulletins and other media. Students and graduate students of the Department of Environmental Design and the Department of Historical Heritage are also actively involved in the planning of restoration and maintenance of culturally important gardens as well as in actual execution of such plans, operation and maintenance. These activities surely add depth to their research and artwork creation.

Cooperation with the graduate school education

Graduate students of both master's and doctoral courses engage in the research in gardening culture by participating in the joint research projects initiated by this department, and by lending their hand in management of our open classes or participating in entrusted surveys and research get a good opportunity to put their knowledge into practice. Moreover, there are as many as several hundred Japanese gardens overseas and our department has close ties with those in America, Canada, the Netherlands, Austria, and other countries. By participating in planning and management of intensive seminars, graduate students can build close relationships with overseas researchers and workers. The graduates of our graduate school are now working as researchers, in public administration in charge of conservation of cultural property, as technical experts preserving culturally significant gardens, etc.

History and Restoration of Cultural Property Department

"Practical activities aiming at the establishment of Historical Heritage Preservation Studies as an academic discipline"

History and Restoration of Cultural Property Department (formerly Research Center for Historical Heritage) conducts various practical activities related to surveys, research, and conservation starting with cultural heritage of Kyoto but also attentive to the problems of the heritage of the world at large. Our department conducts a broad array of activities in cooperation with extramural experts: fieldwork studies of cultural heritage aiming at regional vitalization or volunteering to rescue historical materials at the time of disasters. In close cooperation with the communities, and other support activities to protect cultural heritage in; surveys of heirlooms kept in the families for generations using the specialized facilities available in the university; treatment and preservation of buried cultural property.

In the future we shall expand the practical activities of survey, research, and conservation further, aiming at the establishment of Historical Heritage Conservation Studies as an academic discipline. These consist of activities to promote cooperation between such academic fields as history, sciences of conservation and restoration further, and not only excavate the buried cultural heritage but also strive to uncover the historical hidden information and devise ways to pass this information on to the future generations. With Historical Heritage Conservation Studies as our keyword, we shall closely cooperate with other research centers of this university as well as extramural organizations. The work this department is entrusted with is undertaken as projects led by professors (researchers) with active participation of both undergraduate and graduate students.

The main types of work entrusted to us are surveys, conservation, restoration and support for utilization of local materials (historical documents, paintings and calligraphic work, livelihood materials, etc.), and surveys, conservation, restoration of materials and conditions of cultural heritage conserved in museums.

The projects we conduct include both activities in the university itself and activities on local sites. But all of them shall require high professionalism, and participation in such work entrusted to us by outside institutions offers the students a unique opportunity to acquire a more practical experience they cannot get by merely attending lectures. At the same time, by receiving work from the outside and cooperating with researchers and specialists of various fields, it is possible for us to achieve truly interdisciplinary results. Conducting practical activities and serving its role as a base for research on cultural heritage and conservation and restoration of cultural property, our department will feed the results back to the society through various report meetings, workshops, and symposia both inside the university and outside it.

Cooperation with graduate school education

This department is formed centering on the professors of the Department of Historical Heritage. In our department graduate students not only participate in the specialized lectures and study groups, but also directly involve themselves with survey, research, conservation and restoration activities together with the researchers. They can thus acquire extensive knowledge in each sphere and can also master the required know-how through practice.

The Japanese Garden Intensive Seminar Plus in Kyoto
Research Center for Japanese Garden Art and Historic Heritage (in Japanese)