World Heritage Consultant
Be Proud of the First-Ever World Heritage Registration of “Working Industrial Heritage”!
――I’ve heard that there are no precedents for the attempt to have an active working heritage site listed as World Heritage.
Mr. Gamble: That’s right. This was a major challenge for the corporations that own the properties, as well as their shareholders. Not only that, it could be said to have been a major challenge for the Japanese government and even for the UNESCO World Heritage system, as well. Japan has paved the way for the registration of working heritage. More than anything, inscribing a working heritage site entails the need for stakeholders to share value and understanding, and for mutual cooperation through public-private collaborations and partnerships. This site was revolutionary in that it successfully overcame these thorny challenges to achieve registration.
In that sense, I feel that everyone involved in the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution should be proud not only of the fact that this property has been recognized as World Heritage, but that it was the first to have overcome the difficult challenge of inscribing active working heritage sites as World Heritage, as well. In the sense that they tackled difficult problems without getting caught up in legacy frameworks of heritage conservation, I feel that the continued spirit of determination on the part of stakeholders to meet this challenge serves as a wonderful model to follow.
――Could the very idea of “currently active working heritage” in itself be described as something rare outside Japan?
Mr. Gamble: Of course there are many such working heritage sites in Europe and the United States, as well. For example, whether it’s a church, a cityscape, or a port, people are still going to be living there. With respect to the industrial facilities that we are talking about here, however, we could say this is an incredibly rare case. I think it’s just fantastic that the management and unions of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation came together to promote the conservation of these facilities.
――Would you say wanting to preserve “working industrial heritage” was a novel way of thinking?
Mr. Gamble: No, not at all. The concept of “working heritage” has long been a part of the World Heritage Convention. Realistically speaking, however, all of the industrial heritage sites that had been inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage list up to that point had all been obsolete and abandoned “relics of the past.” In that regard, you could say that this heritage, being the first case to include production facilities still being used in corporate activities, has opened a new page in the history of UNESCO World Heritage.
――Does that mean that the Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution could be regarded as a valuable time capsule conveying the image of industry in the nineteenth century?
Mr. Gamble: Certainly, several of the component properties we selected could be described as time capsules conveying the image of technology or else technology transfer during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. More than that, though, the fact that these technologies and facilities have been used continuously down to the present day speaks to the success and development of Japan’s heavy industry. I think there is more value in that respect.
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)