Japan's cultural treasures on "wanted list"

Featured Weekender - June 20th, 2012
thumb

Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs identified six cultural treasures that were stolen from temples, launching an international pursuit on the illegal trade of looted treasures, reports the Asahi Shimbun.

Among the cultural treasures in Japan’s “wanted list” is a Goganmon manuscript written by Emperor Go-Daigo, which was stolen from the Gakuenji temple in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture. Japan is also looking for two Buddhist statues owned by Konyoji temple in Nose, Osaka Prefecture, including the Mokuzo Dainichi Nyorai Zazo from the Heian Period. Several priceless paintings were also lost.

Japan is a signatory to the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property and has appealed to the 120 signatory nations’ assistance in bringing back the treasures to their rightful place.

According to INTERPOL, looting cultural treasures is considered a “transnational crime”! that diminishes the cultural heritage of countries. Other cultural properties that were stolen includes the crown of Queen Ranavalona I, a silver cross and an ancient biblical manuscript.