Japan has helped conserve the tangible and intangible values of the Complex of Hue Monuments – a world heritage site in Hue, the imperial capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen Dynasty.
Japan began providing aid for relic conservation in Hue (the central province of Thua Thien-Hue) in 1990. The first large-scale project with Japanese funding, 100,000 USD, was to restore the Ngo Mon (Noon Gate) – the main gate to the Hoang Thanh (Imperial City) and a symbol of Hue.
Japan’s total funding for the city has amounted to more than 4.6 million USD, compared to the total foreign sponsorship of 10 million USD for culture-related activities in the Complex of Hue Monuments.
The UNESCO World Heritage Institute of Japan’s Waseda University is working with the Hue Monuments Conservation Centre to study local traditional architecture to preserve relics under the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 – 1945). They focus on the Can Chanh Palace, which was destroyed in 1947 during war. This project hopes to receive funding from the Japanese Government.
Phan Thanh Hai, Director of the Hue Monuments Conservation Centre, said advanced techniques have been applied to restore monuments thanks to Japan’s sponsorship.
He added his centre has been coordinating with Waseda University to conduct a study to restore the cultural scenery in the basin of the Huong River between 2016 and 2018. It also worked with the All Japan Society of Architects to hold a seminar on conserving traditional wooden structures.
Additionally, the centre and the Osaka-based International Research Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region are working to devise measures to preserve intangible cultural heritage amid natural disasters.
Hai said aside from restoration support, Japan has helped in personnel training and technology transfer for the conservation of Nha Nhac (Vietnamese court music).
He said that the country financed an action plan on the conservation and promotion of Nha Nhac and a project on Nha Nhac conservation, research and training activities. They have formed a foundation for the study, documentation and teaching of Nha Nhac skills to younger generations while raising awareness of the heritage among locals and foreigners.
Japan currently ranks eighth among the top 10 sources of foreign tourists to Hue. More than 25,100 Japanese visitors came to the city in 2016, accounting for 4.14 percent of foreign holiday makers.