Initiatives to Preserve Traditional Japanese Textiles in the Marubeni Collection for Future Generations

Mar. 22, 2024
Marubeni Corporation

Marubeni Corporation (hereinafter, “Marubeni”) is engaging in several initiatives to preserve traditional Japanese textiles in the Marubeni Collection so that they may be passed down to future generations. In the late 1920s to the 1930s, Marubeni assembled a collection of and conducted research into ancient textiles, primarily from the 17th to mid-19th centuries, and their traditional production techniques to inform the research and development of new textile products. Over 400 pieces of this collection of traditional textiles remain in the Marubeni Collection today. To continue to conserve these pieces, especially those in need of repair for future storage and exhibition, Marubeni is engaged in the following projects. 

Marubeni Collection Textile Repair and Restoration Projects
1.Important Cultural Property Conservation and Repair Project 
Since April 2023, Marubeni has been engaged in a repair project of an early 18th-century kimono with the support and cooperation of the Japan Agency for Cultural Affairs, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and Shokakudo Co., Ltd. The kimono, formally entitled Furisode (Garment with long hanging sleeves) with Design of Latticework, Chrysanthemums, Paste-resist (Yuzen) and Embroidery on Parti-colored Silk Crepe (Chirimen), is part of the Marubeni Collection and was designated as an Important Cultural Property by the Japanese national government in 2020.* Once the two-year repair project is complete, Marubeni plans to exhibit the kimono to the public at the Marubeni Gallery.

Important Cultural Property Conservation and Repair Project Videos: 
Prologue: https://youtu.be/I10QGstCOw8
Construction of Repair Materials: https://youtu.be/pLC-MX7wKCc

Note: This project is being funded by the Japan Agency for Cultural Affairs as a Project for the Fundamental Reinforcement of Conservation and Restoration of National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties.

*Reference information: https://www.marubeni.com/en/news/2020/info/00003.html

2.Textile Collection Repair Projects
Marubeni is engaging in projects to repair and restore several works in its approximately 400-item textile collection; going forward, these repaired works are planned to be widely exhibited to the public. Each repair project cycle consists of four major steps: scientific research, determining the repair method, repair work, and exhibition to the public. In the scientific research stage, Marubeni works with pertinent organizations to conduct various analyses, such as image analysis, fiber and dye analysis, colorimetry, and hyperspectral camera analysis, which inform discussions regarding appropriate repair methods. Once the repair method has been determined, Marubeni works directly with experts in the repair and restoration of textile cultural properties (traditional Japanese textiles) to proceed with the actual repair work.* These experts include Professor Yoshie Tanaka (Kyoritsu Women’s University) and professionals at Shokakudo Co., Ltd. and Sengiren Co., Ltd. 
*Some projects have already entered the repair work stage.

Joint Projects with Kyoritsu Women’s University and Kyoritsu Women’s Junior College 
In the course of deepening collaborations regarding the conservation of cultural properties through the analysis and repair of its textile collection, Marubeni entered into an agreement on cooperation and collaborative projects with Kyoritsu Women’s University and Junior College in order to contribute to the development of human capital who can repair and restore traditional textiles, the promotion of academic research, the preservation and transmission of culture and history, and the development of the local region and society. The agreement addresses the following:
1. Conservation and passing down of Japanese textile culture 
2. Administration of museums and art galleries, and the protection and restoration of collections 
3. Human capital development and exchanges
4. Revitalization of the local region and society and implementing solutions to the challenges they face
5. Other matters related to education, academic research, and industry-academia collaborative activities deemed necessary by both parties

Going forward, Marubeni will continue to contribute to cultural heritage conservation by preserving the Marubeni Collection, including its textile collection, and holding public exhibitions at the Marubeni Gallery. 

Reference links: 
Marubeni Gallery Official Website: https://www.marubeni.com/gallery/en/
Marubeni Gallery Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marubeni_gallery_official/