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Japanese Collector Honors Dead Husband’s Request, Returns 1000-Year-Old Cambodian Artifacts

Nobelle Borines

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  • A Japanese collector has decided to return several rare artifacts to Cambodia after keeping them in her residence for more than two decades.
  • The collector revealed that the return of the artifacts was part of her late husband’s final request.
  • The artifacts have been dated back to the Angkor era although a few of them were found to be much older.

Collecting rare artifacts can be a life-long venture for most people but one Japanese collector had a change of heart after the death of her beloved husband. The widow decided to return the precious artifacts she and her late husband had procured from Cambodia.

Fumiko Takakuwa and her late husband actually purchased the rare items in Japan but were well aware that their collection originates from Cambodia. Although the artifacts were on display in the couple’s home for over two decades, things changed when Takakuwa’s husband passed away. Interestingly, his final request included the return of the Cambodian artifacts to the Southeast Asian country.

Some of the artifacts that Takakuwa returned to Cambodia.

According to Takakuwa, the decision to return the items came from her husband right before his passing.

“My husband has said before he passed away that those artifacts have to be returned back to Cambodia, and today I am happy that I did,” she said.

The 85 artifacts included small bronze items that date back to the Angkor era but some were also older. All items were returned in an official reception for the artifacts that was attended by the country’s Secretary of State for the Culture and Fine Art Ministry Prak Sonnara who praised Takakuwa for her actions.

Takakuwa attends the reception where the artifacts were returned to Cambodia.

In 1993, a Cambodian law prohibited the removal of cultural artifacts without the permission of the government. Although the law aims to compel owners of items taken abroad after that date to return them, only a few have ever been brought back to Cambodia. Needless to say, Takakuwa’s decision to return the 85 artifacts is a welcome one for the country.

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