Yukeibunkazai (tangible cultural properties) (有形文化財)
Tangible Cultural Properties are as follows. In a broad sense, they refer to all the cultural products with a tangible form that were created by the cultural acts of human beings.
In a narrow sense, they are a type of cultural properties stipulated in the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties and ordinances of the local public entities, and it refers to cultural products with a tangible form including buildings and other structures, and works of fine arts and crafts. In particular, the term refers to 'tangible cultural properties' stipulated under No.1, Item 1, Article 2 of the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties.
Generally, when something is referred to as 'Tangible cultural properties', it frequently means tangible cultural properties that the local public entities designated under the Regulation for the Protection of Cultural Properties.
This section describes the details of No. 2.
Under No.1, Item 1, Article 2 of the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties, 'tangible cultural properties' are defined as buildings, paintings, sculptures, crafts, calligraphy, classical books, paleography, and other cultural products with tangible forms (including land and other properties that create value by being a part of those products) that possess high historical or artistic value for Japan as well as archaeological artifacts and other historical documents with high academic values. Also, there are cases which the regulation for the Protection of Cultural Properties and so on of local public entities stipulate 'tangible cultural properties' as one of the types of cultural products.
Protection by the National Government
The Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties establishes systems for designating, registering, and protecting national treasures, important cultural properties, and registered tangible cultural properties among the tangible cultural properties.
Important Cultural Property (Item 1, Article 27): The Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology may designate 'important cultural properties' which are important products among the tangible cultural properties.
National Treasure (Item 2, Article 27): The Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology may designate among important cultural properties, products with high values from the perspective of worldwide culture which are the treasure of the nation having no equal as 'national treasure.'
Registered Tangible Cultural Properties (Article 57): The system of registered tangible cultural properties was founded owing to the amendment of the Law for the protection of cultural properties in 1996. The Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology registers on the original register of cultural properties, tangible cultural properties other than those designated by the national government or the local public entities that are in particular need for preservation and utilization. Products mainly of the modern period are registered as registered tangible cultural properties.
Protection by the local public entities
The local public entities may, by establishing regulations, designate important products that exist within the districts of the local entities, which are other than those products such as important cultural properties designated by the national government (Item 2, Article 182).
Each of the local public entities establishes Regulation for the Protection of Cultural Properties, and designates those products that are important to the local public entities among the tangible cultural properties (excluding properties which are designated as important cultural property) in the form of 'a tangible cultural asset designated by xx prefecture', 'a tangible cultural asset designated by municipalities' and so on.