Important cultural asset of Japan

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The Sankei Japanese Garden in Yokohama

Important cultural property of Japan ( Japanese 重要 文化 財 , Jūyō Bunkazai or Jūbun 重 文 for short ) is an official classification of cultural goods, which is made by the Office for Cultural Affairs . In Japan, a distinction is made between “ material ” ( 有形 文化 財 , Yūkei bunkazai , English Tangible Cultural Properties) and “ intangible cultural properties ” ( 無形 文化 財 , Mukei bunkazai , English Intangible Cultural Properties). The appointment is made when a material cultural asset has "important and special significance". The cultural property must meet a catalog of criteria for appointment and go through a legally regulated appointment process. Important cultural assets can also be elevated to a national treasure and thus further emphasized in their importance.


In order to protect Japan's cultural heritage, the Cultural Property Protection Act ( 文化 財 保護 法 , Bunkazai hogohō , English Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties) was enacted in May 1950 . The law created a “procedure for the appointment” ( 指定 制度 , Shiteiseido ) of cultural goods, which also set restrictions on the modification, repair and export of cultural goods.

In addition to the appointment process, there is also a "registration process" ( 登録 制度 , Tōrokuseido ) that guarantees a low level of protection and care. This means that a cultural property first goes through the registration and then the appointment process in order to obtain the status of an official cultural property. A distinction is made between material and immaterial cultural assets. The material cultural assets such as buildings , paintings, sculptures , old books, historical documents and archaeological finds can still be designated as "important cultural assets". As important cultural assets, they are divided into three classes: city-wide ( 市 定 重要 文化 財 , Shijō Jūyō Bunkazai ), prefecture-wide ( 県 定 重要 文化 財 , Kenjō ~ ) or nationwide ( 国 定 重要 文化 財 , Kokujō ~ ) important cultural assets. The assignment to the classes is cumulative, not exclusive. For example, the Japanese gardenSankei-en ” in Yokohama is classified as an important cultural asset throughout the city and country. Finally, important cultural assets can also be elevated to national treasures .


  1. In the case of temples, castles, etc., each individual building is classified separately, never the ensemble as a whole.
  2. There are around 100 Chinese picture scrolls from the Song / Yüan period that are classified as "important". There are also some national treasures among them .

Some important cultural assets

Web links

Commons : Important Cultural Asset of Japan  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files


  1. Literally translated, these are cultural assets "without form"
  2. ◎
    See Section 27 (Part III) of the Japanese Cultural Property Protection Act :
    • Paragraph 1: The Minister of Education and Cultural Affairs can designate material cultural goods as “important cultural goods”. Marked with (a) in directories and catalogs.
    • Paragraph 2: The minister of culture can designate a selection as a national treasure from among the important cultural assets, taking into account the world's cultural assets. Marked with (b) in directories and catalogs.
  3. When cultural property is spoken of in the following, then officially already officially appointed cultural property is meant. Objects that have not been officially declared a cultural asset are commonly referred to here as cultural property.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Cultural Properties for Future Generations. (No longer available online.) In: Administration of Cultural Affairs in Japan - Fiscal 2009. Bunka-chō , June 2007, archived from the original on March 27, 2009 ; accessed on January 20, 2012 (English). Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. the Sankei Garden in Yokohama (Japanese)