The Agency for Cultural Affairs has put six cultural treasures stolen from temples in Japan on an international "wanted list," fearing they may have been spirited overseas.
It is seeking assistance from 120 signatory nations to a 1970 treaty binding members to cooperate in the return of cultural assets that have been obtained illegally.
The items that Japan wants back are designated as important cultural assets, and include the Goganmon manuscript written by Emperor Go-Daigo (1288-1339) during a turbulent time in Japan's history in which he jotted down his hopes for his subjects, as well as another document.
The documents are owned by Gakuenji temple in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture.
Japan is also seeking the return of two Buddhist statues.
One of them depicts Buddha in a blissful state. Called Mokuzo Dainichi Nyorai Zazo, it was created in the second half of the Heian Period (794-1185). The statues are owned by Konyoji temple in Nose, Osaka Prefecture.
The other items are paintings of irreplaceable value. They were all stolen after Japan signed the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property in 2002.
In a related development, Japan's cooperation is being sought in the return of three cultural assets stolen overseas.
A crown worn by Queen Ranavalona I, who governed the Merina Kingdom in central Madagascar in the 19th century, vanished from a museum in Madagascar last December.
The other items are a silver cross and an ancient biblical manuscript stolen from a church in Turkey in 2003.
The Japanese agency is calling on entities across the country, such as local governments, museums and religious corporations, not to accept or buy those items but to inform the agency and police if they come across the items.
- « Prev
- Next »