April 24, 2012 12:47
The Tokyo National Museum has officially admitted having a helmet and armor from the Chosun era in its collection of Korean artifacts, which has reignited controversy over whether the artifacts were looted from Korea in colonial times.
Jun Tomita of the museum, in a conference with Korean civil organizations working for the return of Korean cultural property, on Monday acknowledged that the museum has a set of armor and headpiece and a hat worn by Chosun princes.
They are among some 1,100 Korean relics in the Okura Collection at the Tokyo National Museum collected by Japanese businessman Okura Takenosuke during the colonial period. His son donated the entire collection to the museum in 1981.
During negotiations for the 1965 Normalization Treaty, Korea demanded the return of the Okura Collection as the artifacts were illegally taken into Japan, but Tokyo refused saying it was a private collection.
Japan's national cultural heritage authority announced on Monday that four national museums in Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara and Kyushu hold 4,422 artifacts from the Korean Peninsula.
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