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Japanese National Archives

Photographer: Everett Kennedy Brown


Japan's National Archives is a world leader in restoration techniques and its conservators are daily involved in restoring some of the 990,000 documents in the archives, the oldest of which date back to 908 A.D.


To restore the rare and irreplaceable documents, experts use a variety of methods, both traditional and state of the art to restore documents close to their original condition. The National Archives collaborates with one of Japan's traditional paper makers, which innovated the world's thinnest paper at .002 mm, to advance a technique to patch thin Japanese ‘washi’ paper with damaged documents. With the state of the art leaf casting machine, which is based on traditional Japanese paper making techniques, fibers of washi paper are used to fill in the damaged parts of documents.


Thanks to the restoration technology, the archives is active in international exchanges and offers its expertise and technology to institutions around the world. In particular, archivists from Middle East and Asia frequently consult with Japan's National Archives on techniques and request training of experts at the archives. On 09 June is marked the International Archives Day.