Yapese Intangible Cultural Heritage:
History, Legends, Myths, and Performing Arts of the Federated States of Micronesia


2017 Federated States of Micronesia-ICHCAP Digitization Project of ICH-related Analogue Audiovisual Materials

The Yap State Historic Preservation Office (YSHPO) is a national research institute established to record and preserve the history and cultural heritage of Yap State, one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). FSM has great cultural diversity, as the country consists of Pacific island groupings located between Palau and the Marshall Islands. Even in the same state, cultural differences can be found among residents of major, small and reef islands. Yap State, in particular, is known for its well-maintained traditions and practices. For instance, the Yapese still use stone money, the largest physical currency in the world. YSHPO has recorded and safeguarded various cultures and history in the Yap island.

In 2017, ICHCAP carried out the Digitization Project of ICH-related Analogue Materials in cooperation with YSHPO, which resulted in the digitization of five hundred hours of analogue materials. Based on this, ICHCAP has published an audiovisual collection, titled “Yapese Intangible Cultural Heritage: History, Legends, Myths, and Performing Arts of the Federated States of Micronesia”, which contains selected digitized materials that well represent FSM’s traditions. YSHPO not just contributed to the digitization of analogue materials, but also supported the production of the collection to help more people discover the precious materials.

The FSM collection consists of eight CDs and two DVDs. The collection lists twenty tracks of ICH-related stories, legends, and myths of everyday life of the Yapese that were recorded in the 1960s. The collection also features a video on major dances performed during Yap Day, an annual holiday celebrated since 2007. Each CD contains photos about live performances to provide a better understanding.

The digitization project is meaningful in that it has restored analogue materials in FSM, which were at risk of severe damage, to enhance academic values and raise public awareness of the materials. ICHCAP will continue its efforts to identify valuable materials in the Asia-Pacific region and provide a better access to ICH information through related projects.