Kyoto papers seek heritage status


The government will recommend a set of old documents at a Kyoto Buddhist temple for UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register, according to the culture ministry.

The government plans to file a letter of recommendation with the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization by March 2014. An advisory body to the UNESCO register will then study the letter to decide whether to include the documents, ministry officials said Tuesday.

Japan hopes the documents can be included in the register in 2015. The “Toji Hyakugomonjo” documents, designated as a national treasure, have been passed down to the Toji Temple in Minami Ward, Kyoto, and are currently owned by the prefectural government.

They comprise some 25,000 documents from the Nara Period (710-794) to the Edo Period (1603-1866), and are mainly minutes of discussions on the management of the temple. They also include descriptions of the lives of ordinary people in various areas across the country, as the temple was able to exercise its influence to collect such information.

Last year, the government recommended for UNESCO’s register an autograph diary written by Fujiwara Michinaga (966-1028), who served as “dajo-daijin” or chancellor of the realm, and a set of Edo Period documents and materials covering the progress of talks between Japan and Europe. UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova will decide whether to include these two in the register after examinations scheduled for June, the officials said.

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