Gov't panel recommends naming 4 artists as living national treasures

A government panel recommended Friday that four artists be named living national treasures, paving the way for their official designation around October.

The Council for Cultural Affairs suggested to Hakubun Shimomura, minister of culture, that the government recognize two "shamisen" stringed instrument players, as well as porcelain and lacquerware artists as national treasures.

The shamisen players are Masataro Imafuji, 77, and Umekichi Kiyomoto, 80, whose real names are Shoichi Nakagawa and Seinosuke Matsubara, respectively. White porcelain artist Akihiro Maeta, 59, and lacquerware artist Yoshito Yamashita, 61, were also nominated.

The addition of the four artists will bring the total number of people certified as living national treasures to 113. Including those who have died, the total will stand at 340.