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Inscription of “Washi, craftsmanship of Japanese hand-made paper” on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Agency for Cultural Affairs
November 27, 2014

At the 9th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, the Committee reviewed the inscription of “Washi, craftsmanship of Japanese hand-made paper” (hereinafter referred to as “Washi”) on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (hereinafter referred to as the “Intangible Cultural Heritage List”), which had been proposed by Japan, and reached a decision to approve the inscription at 6:46 p.m., Wednesday, November 26, 2014 (2:46 a.m. November 27, 2014, Japan time). We hereby announce the details of the inscription, along with a statement by Hakubun Shimomura, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

1.Results of the review by the Intergovernmental Committee

The Committee decided to inscribe “Washi, craftsmanship of Japanese hand-made paper.”

(Reference)Three types of decisions made by the Intergovernmental Committee

  1. Inscription:The property is to be inscribed on the Intangible Cultural Heritage List
  2. Referral:A decision to refer back to the State Party for additional information
  3. Decision not to inscribe:The property is deemed unsuitable to be inscribed on the Intangible Cultural Heritage List. The nomination may not be presented again to the Committee for the next four years.

Papermaking of Sekishu Banshi
Papermaking of Sekishu-Banshi

Papermaking of Honmino-shi 
Papermaking of Hon-minoshi

Papermaking of Hosokawa-shi 
Papermaking of Hosokawa-shi

2.Background

Japan presented “Hon-minoshi” to the 6th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee in 2011, which received a referral decision on the grounds of the similarity with “Sekishu Banshi,” which was already inscribed on the Intangible Cultural Heritage List. Following this decision, Japan organized the three Japanese important intangible cultural properties (registered under the Preservation Group Certification) (namely, “Sekishu-Banshi,” “Hon-minoshi” and “Hosokawa-shi”) into a group under the title of “Washi” and presented it again as an extension of the already-inscribed “Sekishu-Banshi” to the Committee in March 2013.

<Past events>

September 2009 “Sekishu-Banshi” was inscribed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List at the 4th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee held in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates
November 2011 “Hon-minoshi” received a referral decision at the 6th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee held in Bali, Indonesia
March 2013 Japan proposed “Washi, craftsmanship of Japanese hand-made paper” as an extension of “Sekishu-Banshi.” [Japan’s first proposal for extension; proposal for inscription as a group]
October 2014 The Advisory Body made a recommendation for the inscription of “Washi, craftsmanship of Japanese hand-made paper”
November 2014 “Washi, craftsmanship of Japanese hand-made paper” was decided to be inscribed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List at the 9th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee

(Reference)

Intergovernmental Committee

The Intergovernmental Committee consists of 24 countries chosen from the State Parties of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (161 countries as of November 1, 2014). The Committee meets once a year and makes final decisions on inscriptions on the Intangible Cultural Heritage List based on the recommendations by the Advisory Body.

<Members of the Intergovernmental Committee> ○ indicates the members of the Advisory Body

Belgium ○Greece Turkey Bulgaria Hungary ○Latvia Brazil ○Peru Saint Lucia Uruguay Afghanistan India ○Kyrgyzstan Mongolia South Korea Republic of Congo Cote d'Ivoire Ethiopia Namibia ○Nigeria Uganda Algeria Egypt ○Tunisia

(Agency for Cultural Affairs, Cultural Properties Department, Traditional Culture Division)

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