About the Department

The Department of Cultural Resources Studies was founded in 2000. It is a relatively new department for the Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, which has a long history of over a hundred years. The Department offers two postgraduate degree courses: “Cultural Resources Studies” course and “Cultural Management” course. Both courses are available on the master’s and doctoral levels.

▼ The Ideology of Cultural Resources Studies

The Department of Cultural Resources Studies is committed to re-examining cultures at their roots by analyzing various types of languages, forms and sounds. The term “resources” was deliberately selected with a reference to the definition of “source” as a place from which water originates and the addition of “re” emphasizes the return to the source, thereby encapsulating the Department’s intention to rethink, re-examine and rediscover culture from its source.

The term “resources” is also used with an intention to differentiate from the notion of “cultural properties”. Over 70 years have passed since the enactment of the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties in 1950, which forms the foundation of heritage protection in Japan. Since this enactment, the term “cultural properties” has been widely used in Japan alongside the establishment of cultural values as defined, recognized, and evaluated by statutory authorities as well as the official designation of cultural properties system. However, as the limitations and adverse effects of the designation system became prevalent, there are increasing calls for the re-evaluation of heritage not designated as cultural properties. The Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties has undergone several revisions to adapt to changing and emerging social demands for heritage protection – notably the introduction of the registration system in 1996 and a new category Cultural Landscapes in 2005. In recent years, the term “cultural heritage” has been gaining popularity due to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. Instead of using terminology such as “cultural properties” and “cultural heritage”, which imply a fixed set of values, the usage of the term “resources” in Cultural Resources Studies reflects a paradigm shift towards modern society and contemporary culture.

Knowledge gained by revisiting the source in this manner and the contribution back to society thereby falls under Cultural Management. This includes a process of contemplation of the past, present and future of museums, art galleries, archives, libraries, theaters, music halls, cultural policies, heritage and copyright protection, as such utilizing them as cultural resources. Such cultural facilities are established and operate only after recognizing the value of certain types of languages, forms and sounds, and never the other way around. Managing these cultural facilities, therefore, requires far more than generic managerial skills; it demands a thorough understanding of culture as interweaved by languages, forms and sounds, and the social, economic and political issues surrounding it.

▼ Connections across disciplines and organizations

Reflecting its multidisciplinary nature, the Department of Cultural Resources Studies works closely with colleagues based at other departments in the Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology. Researchers of varying research backgrounds and experience, including faculty from Sociology, Art History, Aesthetics and Religious Studies have joined our staff.

We also have partnerships with various research organizations outside and inside the university. Within the university, we are affiliated with the Historiographical Institution, the University Museum, the Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia and the Archaeological Research Unit, whose staff contribute to the courses we offer. Outside of the university, we collaborate with the National Museum of Western Art and the National Institute of Japanese Literature to offer practical learning experience.



The Office of Cultural Resources Studies
TEL:03-5841-3722 E-mail:bunka@l.u-tokyo.ac.jp All rights reserved. Since 2000