For Keisuke Sugiyama, 46, an associate professor at Tohoku University of Art and Design and former senior conservator for the British Museum Hirayama Studio, painting conservation is a foray into history, both national and personal.

1. What does a Japanese painting conservator do? We examine and restore works painted on silk or paper using traditional Japanese techniques and offer preventive conservation.

2. What are the basic steps to restoring a painting? We start with photographing and examining the work. Then we document findings in a condition report, which is necessary to discuss a conservation policy with the item’s owner. Only after that do we actually start the restoration. Then we write another report when we finish.