World Heritage and Intangible Cultural Heritage

Intangible Cultural Heritage

About Intangible Cultural Heritage

The Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Herirtage

The Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was adopted at the UNESCO General Conference in October 2003, and came into force in April 2006. Japan became the third state party to the Convention in June 2004. There are 180 States Parties to the Convention as of February 2022.

This Convention stipulates that the States Parties take measures for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in their territories, for example by identifying elements of intangible cultural heritage within their territory and making inventories of them. It also stipulates international safeguarding measures, including the establishment of the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (Representative List) and the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding (Urgent Safeguarding List) in order to increase awareness of intangible cultural heritage and promote intercultural dialogue.

Today 530 elements are inscribed on the Representative List in total, including 22 elements in Japan (as of February 2022). At the fifteenth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage held online in December 2020, “Traditional skills, techniques and knowledge for the conservation and transmission of wooden architecture in Japan”, nominated by Japan, was inscribed on the Representative List. This nomination consisted of 17 groups of skills selected by the government for preservation (along with associations certified to safeguard the skills).

Intangible Cultural Heritage List