World Heritage Consultant
Daily Conference Calls to Narrow the Scope of Component Properties Even After Returning to the UK
――It was very unfortunate that Stuart Smith died suddenly in 2014 without hearing the good news of the property’s inscription onto the UNESCO World Heritage list. For Mr. Smith, the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution would have been the last major project that he was involved in, and I wondered if you could tell us about how you remember him.
Mr. Gamble: There is so much that I will always remember about Stuart, even in connection with this project. One thing I can never forget is that during the early stages of this project, we spent a lot of time discussing what to select from among the many potential candidate heritage components, and what to leave out. There were so many candidates to become component parts, and many difficult challenges in choosing what kind of story to tell. We ended up conducting a lot of fieldwork and engaging in a lot of heated professional debates.
We kept these extremely intellectual discussions going even finishing our survey in Japan and going back to the UK. Every weekend, we would get together to discuss things. Not only that, but every time he got a delivery of historical materials or technical materials about the sites from Japan, Stuart would call me almost every night to provide me with this valuable information. From what I can see, Stuart stuck doggedly to this extensive survey and substantiation work up until we had finished the endorsement letter for UNESCO, and I feel that he made a major contribution to enriching the substance and refining the accuracy of its content.
――What do you think was the most heated part of your discussions?
Mr. Gamble: I guess it was our discussions about which properties to include. Stuart had his own preferences, and the same trend is probably true of me and others on the expert committee, so that was a big hurdle for us and let to some heated debates. However, since our role in the end was to get the property inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage list, we kept having these tough discussions to select properties that would ultimately satisfy UNESCO criteria, debating and giving advice about which would have to be excluded.
――This rigorous selection process ultimately proved successful in accomplishing the World Heritage inscription, but what were your own initial impressions of these properties? Frankly, even though you are an expert, I can’t imagine that you would have had a very deep familiarity with or understanding of Far East Asia’s Industrial Revolutionary Heritage.
Mr. Gamble: You might think it odd, but my first impression of these properties was that wasn’t surprised by them in the least. Rather, they seemed incredibly familiar. This is because the heritage in question is related to technologies and plants brought over from Europe, including Germany and my own home country of the UK. In other words, it was very Western-style kind of industrial heritage, so it was quite familiar to me as a specialist. Yet while I was not surprised at the presence of Western technology itself, I couldn’t contain my amazement at how it had been incorporated into Japan’s traditional culture and architecture. In particular, I found the components dating to the end of the feudal era, at the initial stages of industrialization, to be deeply interesting. The Japanese people of those times, without a scrap of prior knowledge or experience, had attempted to directly adopt Western technology through repeated trial and error. I was keenly interested in this.
Another exciting challenge for me was adding still-active “working heritage” sites owned by major companies as component parts. I feel that this may be the most noteworthy and valuable aspect of this World Heritage registration.
Former Mayor of Omuta City
Archaeologist and Heritage Conservation Specialist
A fellow of the Japan Federation of Engineering Societies
Team Member of the Industrial Project Team Office for the Promotion of World Heritage Listing under Cabinet Secretariat
Governor of Kagoshima Prefecture
Mayor of Hagi City
Mayor of Uki City, Kumamoto Prefecture
The Former Employee of Nippon Steel Corporation
An Associate Professor of the Faculty of Science and Engineering in Iwate University
Chairman of the Tourist Guide Association of Misumi West Port
President of Kuraya Narusawa Co., Ltd.
Chairman of Izunokuni City Tourism Association
Director and General Manager of Gunkanjima Concierge
Producer of the Gunkanjima Digital Museum
Owner at Tōge Chaya
Chairman: Mr. Hidenori Date
President: Mr. Masahiro Date
Proprietor, Houraikan Inn
Representative Director of Egawa Bunko non-profit incorporated foundation
The 42nd head of the Egawa Family
Democratic Party for the People (DPP) Representative for Nagasaki Prefecture
President of the NPO, Way to World Heritage Gunkanjima
MI Consulting Group
President of Watanabe Production Group and Honorary Chair of Watanabe Productions Co., Ltd.
Member of the House of Councillors
World Heritage Consultant
Director and Dean, The Kyushu-Asia Institute of Leadership
Representative Director, SUMIDA, Inc.
Journalist, founder of the Shimomura Mitsuko Ikikata Juku School
Representative, Rally Nippon
Chairman, Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution World Heritage Route Promotion Council Director, National Congress of Industrial Heritage
Representative Director, General Incorporated Foundation National Congress of Industrial Heritage (Advisor, Public Interest Incorporated Foundation Capital Markets Research Institute）
Mayor of Nagasaki City
Policy Director at Heritage Montreal
World Heritage Consultant
Executive Director of Kogakuin University
Heritage Architect and International Consultant
Head of Data Acquisition at The Glasgow School of Art’s School of Simulation and Visualisation
Head of Industrial Heritage, Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh
Scottish Ten Project Manager, Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh
Mayor of Izunokuni City, Shizuoka Prefecture
Pro-Provost and Chairman of Council of the Royal College of Art. Heritage advisor of Canal & River Trust for England and Wales.
Dean of Tokyo Rissho Junior College
Professor emeritus of Keio University
Mayor of Kitakyushu City
At the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee convened in Bonn, Germany, from June 28 to July 8, 2015, the decision was approved to inscribe the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution on the World Heritage list.
At a celebratory party held to mark the occasion, some of the primary promoters of the project spoke of their joy in achieving their goal and of the trials and tribulations to getting there.
Director and Managing Executive Officer, Hanshin Expressway Company Limited
Member, Board of Directors, National Congress of Industrial Heritage
Vice-Governor of Shizuoka Prefecture
Mayor of Hagi City
Chairman, Tokyo Metro Co., Ltd.
Mayor of Omuta City
Deputy Director-General, Lifelong Learning Policy Bureau, MEXT
Former Counsellor, Cabinet Secretariat
Mayor of Kamaishi City
Member, Board of Directors, National Congress of Industrial Heritage Counselor, Shimadzu Limited
Chairman of the Consortium for the World Heritage Inscription of Modern Industrial Heritage (Kyushu-Yamaguchi) and governor of Kagoshima Prefecture (as of 2015)