2016 International Symposium on ICH Safeguarding in the Asia-Pacific Region held in Sakai

In celebration of IRCI’s fifth anniversary, the “2016 International Symposium on ICH Safeguarding in the Asia-Pacific Region: Transmitting Art and Spirit of ICH” was held on 19 November 2016 at Sun Square Sakai, Osaka, Japan. The public event attracted more than 200 attendees with a wide range of ages.

In the keynote lecture “Intangible Cultural Heritage and Us”, Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura (former Director-General, UNESCO) introduced UNESCO’s various safeguarding activities of cultural heritage and emphasised the necessity to protect and preserve ICH that is deeply rooted in the local regions.

In the panel discussion, based on the premise that ICH evokes a sense of identity and connection within communities, various case studies on Japan (Japanese traditional puppet theatre Bunraku; hassaku taiko dancing and West Africa’s djembe drum school in Iwo Jima), Malaysia (Sumazou and Igal dancing) and Cambodia (various ICH in Angkor Region) were introduced. The following discussions led to sharing the notion that transmitting the “spirit and art of ICH” beyond generations, regions and nations proves crucial. It was also reaffirmed that safeguarding ICH, our valuable treasures of humanity, leads to the understanding of diverse cultures.

The symposium came to an end with the performance of the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage Bunraku, originating in Osaka in the late 17th century.

*For further information, please refer to the event programme.

Sakai City
Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan

Cooperating bodies:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan
Japanese National Commission for UNESCO
Japan Art Council (National Bunraku Theatre)


  • Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura (Former Director-General, UNESCO)

  • Panel Discussion From left: Mr. Wataru Iwamoto (Director-General, IRCI) Mr. Mitsuru Ijima (Director, Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Japan) Mr. Hanafi Bin Hussin (Associate Professor, Department of South East Asian Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya, Malaysia) Mr. Shota Fukuoka (Associate Professor, National Museum of Ethnology, Japan) Mr. Sokrithy Im (Deputy Director, Angkor International Research Center and Documentation, APSARA Authority, Cambodia)