United States Cultural Property Policy and Occupied Japan : the Role of American Experts from the Roberts Commission to the Arts and Monuments DivisionUnited States Cultural Property Policy and Occupied Japan : the Role of American Experts from the Roberts Commission to the Arts and Monuments DivisionAN10485683 米国の文化財保護政策と占領期日本 : ロバーツ委員会から連合国総司令部美術記念物課に至る時期の米国人専門家たちの役割
Even before the American Occupation of Japan (1945-1952) was official, an internal telegram to the then U.S. Secretary of War had outlined its overarching policy for the protection of the defeated enemy’s cultural property. By October 1945 a cluster of American scholars and experts were already in Tokyo, later coalescing into the Arts and Monuments Division of the Civil Information and Education Section, at the General Headquarters of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers. Initially led by George L. Stout, a Harvard curator known for his work to salvage cultural treasures on the European war front, the group quietly spearheaded an orderly effort to revive or establish protective measures and laws for Japan’s cultural property. That this could be done amidst so many other pressing priorities was remarkable but not surprising, the consequence of early and far-sighted work by American scholars and policy planners started already in 1940. From the Harvard Group, the American Council of Learned Societies, and especially the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas (The Roberts Commission), a long and systemic preparation for the post-war period could thus lead to a meaningful and credible cultural policy under the Occupation.