The National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku) is a research center for ethnology and cultural anthropology.

Seminars, Symposia, and Academic Conferences

Wednesday, November 29 ~Friday, December 1, 2017
International Symposium “Negotiating Intangible Cultural Heritage”

  • Date: Wednesday, November 29 - Friday, December 1, 2017
       13:00-16:45, November 29
       10:00-16:00, November 30
       9:30-17:00, December 1
  • Venue: Conference Room 4, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka
  • Open to the public (Free/Entry via E-mail/ Max. 50 people)
  • Language: English with Japanese interpretation
  • National Museum of Ethnology (NME), International Research Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (IRCI), Agency for Cultural Affairs
  • E-mail:ich★
    Replace ★ with @


The safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) has been one of the most pressing issues in the studies of culture, to which scholars of anthropology and related disciplines have paid increasing attention in recent years. However, what is known today as ICH, or heritage in general, is not self-evident to local communities, and it needs to be identified as such through complex processes. This symposium aims to analyse the ways in which the multiple levels of negotiation between various actors/stakeholders affects the safeguarding of ICH. It will first explore the process in which some aspects of culture are selected (over others) and recontextualised as heritage, and how the concept of ICH defined and disseminated by UNESCO has been negotiated in community-based efforts to preserve and invigorate culture. The symposium will also examine the nature of collaborative negotiation between local communities and outside organisations (such as museums, archives, research institutes, NGOs and government agencies) in their effort to safeguard ICH. Finally, the potential for reviving lost or threatened culture in the process of various negotiations regarding ICH will be discussed.
This symposium is expected to lay the foundation for ICH research in the Asia-Pacific region through the professional, inter-disciplinary discussions on theories and issues in ICH safeguarding.



November 29
13:00 Registration

Opening Session
Chair: IIDA Taku, National Museum of Ethnology (NME)

13:30 - 13:40 Welcome Remarks
YOSHIDA Kenji (Director-General, NME)
13:40 - 13:50 Opening Remarks
IWAMOTO Wataru (Director-General, IRCI)
13:50 - 14:30 Keynote Speech
Negotiating Intangible Cultural Heritage with Regard to UNESCO and ICTM in Central and Southeastern Europe
Svanibor PETTAN (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)
14:30 - 14:45 Coffee Break

Session 1 : Re-contextualisation of heritage and community
Chair: Don NILES (Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies)

14:45 - 15:15 The “Heritage-effect” in Ethnic China: Navigating Intangible Cultural Heritage Discourses and Practices
William NITZKY (California State University)
15:15 - 15:45 Querying Intangible Cultural Heritage with Central Carolinian Seafaring's Extreme Tangibilities
Vicente DIAZ (University of Minnesota Twin Cities)
15:45 - 16:15 Negotiating Heritage through Tattoo Pilgrims: The Recontextualization of Traditional Tattoos in Contemporary Kalinga Society, North Luzon Philippines
Analyn SALVADOR-AMORES (University of the Philippines Baguio)
16:15 - 16:45 Discussion
November 30
10:00 Registration
10:30 - 11:50 Observation of Minpaku otta kamuynomi, a rite of Ainu to offer prayer to deity in front of the main entrance, NME
12:00 - 13:30 Lunch Break

Session 2: Defining heritage locally
Chair: TERADA Yoshitaka (NME)

13:30 - 14:00 Tradition of Folk Performing Arts in Tokunoshima: Practices under the Cultural Property Regime in Japan
14:00 - 14:30 Defining Heritage Locally: Negotiating Malaysian Performance Traditions
Mohd Anis MD NOR (Nusantara Performing Arts Research Center)
14:30 - 15:00 Celebrating Cultural Heritage without ICH Involvement: Papua New Guinea Successes and Challenges
Don NILES (Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies)
15:00 - 15:30 Discussion
15:30 - 15:40 Coffee Break
15:40 - 16:00 IRCI’s Activities
December 1
9:30 Registration

Session 3: Collaboration and Intervention
Chair: FUKUOKA Shota (NME)

10:00 - 10:30 Empowering Communities through Archives and Narratives of Heritage
M. D. Muthukumaraswamy (National Folklore Support Centre)
10:30 - 11:00 Return and Transfer: Music Intervention Initiatives at the UP Center for Ethnomusicology
Verne DE LA PE?A (University of Philippines Diliman)
11:00 - 11:30 Drumming and Marginalized Community: Museum Documentation of a Cultural Heritage in the Making
TERADA Yoshitaka (NME)
11:30 - 12:00 Discussion
12:00 - 13:30 Lunch Break

Sessions 4: Museum and Revival of Culture
Chair: OHNUKI Misako (IRCI)

13:30 - 14:00 Digital Technologies, Museums, and Community Engagement: A Melanesian Case Study
Graeme WERE (University of Queensland)
14:00 - 14:30 Museum and Revival of the Ainu Culture
14:30 - 15:00 Practicing Engaged Anthropology in Museums and Archives: Examples of “Fascinating Chu Tunes and Melodies” Exhibition and Revival of “Mongolian Epics”
XIAO Mei (Shanghai Conservatory of Music)
15:00 - 15:30 Discussion
15:30 - 15:45 Coffee Break

General Discussion
Chair: IIDA Taku (NME)

15:45 - 16:45 General Discussion
16:45 - 17:00 Closing Remarks
IWAMOTO Wataru (Director-General, IRCI)