UNESCO's "Memory of the World" panel opens meeting in S. Korea

The UNESCO International Advisory Committee on the world's documentary heritage opened a two-day meeting in the South Korean city of Gwangju on Tuesday to screen rare historical documents for inclusion in the U.N. agency's Memory of the World Register.

This year, about 80 historical documents have been nominated for inscription, including two from Japan.

The Japanese government has proposed the inscription of historical documents about the 1613 Keicho Mission to Europe and the diary "Mido kanpakuki" left by the powerful regent Fujiwara Michinaga (966-1028). The documents are designated "national treasures" in Japan.

After the meeting, the advisory committee will present its recommendations to UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova, who has final authority to grant inscription in the Memory of the World Register.

The collection of annotated coal mine paintings and diaries of Japanese artist Sakubei Yamamoto (1892-1984) was granted inscription in the Memory of the World Register in 2011.

The Keicho Mission to the Vatican and Spain was sent by the Sendai feudal lord Date Masamune in 1613 to negotiate direct trade with Spanish possessions in Mexico.

Fujiwara's diary "Mido Kanpakuki" provides an important source of information about court life in Japan's Heian period (794-1185).