Representative, Rally Nippon
■ The Photogenic Attraction of Industrial Heritage Sites and Bright Yellow Ferraris
Can you tell us something about the achievements of Rally Nippon to date and your future plans?
Mr. Kobayashi: The first rally took place in 2009. There has been a rally every year since then without a break. During this time, we held two rallies in Taiwan. Last year’s rally started from Nijo Castle in Kyoto and followed a route through Shirakawago, Takayama, and Karuizawa that finally ended in Izu with a majestic sight of Mount Fuji. A total of 82 cars from inside and outside Japan were driven in the event.
In the fall of 2018, to commemorate our tenth anniversary, we will be holding a Rally Nippon 2018 in California event along the west coast of the United States. In 2019, the Rally will take place in Kyushu. With the help of the National Congress of Industrial Heritage, we are planning a route that will incorporate the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution. After that, we hope to hold a rally in the Tohoku (northeastern) region and after that, in Myanmar and Thailand. Those will be followed by Hokkaido and for our 15th anniversary, we are thinking of Taiwan.
What got you involved with the National Congress of Industrial Heritage?
Mr. Kobayashi: Among our participants is the eldest daughter of the founder of one of Japan’s major corporations. She and her husband own an old Ferrari considered to be the most valued in the world. They are well known as avid classic car fans. It just happens that one of their good friends is the mother of Ms. Koko Kato, the Managing Director of the National Congress of Industrial Heritage. And I have been included as a fringe member of this group, sort of like a server at a party (laughs). That’s how I got to know Ms. Kato. She took great interest in a photo I showed her of a red Shelby Cobra owned by the woman I mentioned earlier parked at Yasukuni Shrine. And that is what sparked the idea holding a rally along the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution as a promotional event.
Actually, the first person to propose the plan to link classic cars and the industrial heritage sites was Ms. Misa Watanabe, honorary chair of the multimedia management company Watanabe Productions. She is so astute! She said to me, “You’ve got to tell Koko what you do. I am sure something will come of it.”
I gather you have already had the first collaborative event of classic cars and industrial heritage sites.
Mr. Kobayashi: Yes, things moved quickly after we talked with the people at the National Congress of Industrial Heritage sometime in February or March last year (laughs). The first idea was to visit the World Heritage components in Kyushu and take photos and videos to post on the Internet. We did that in May and got some really beautiful photos and videos. You can see them on the Facebook and Instagram accounts of the National Congress of Industrial Heritage. (See links below).
※World Heritage “The Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution”
※“The Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution” World Heritage
Wow! You had those posted in just two, three months from the time the idea was first proposed.
Mr. Kobayashi: Yes, it was a really tight schedule. But as they say in Japanese, zen wa isoge, in other words, “strike while the iron is hot.” To tell you the truth, we simply lucked out with one thing after another (laughs). Our cameraman, Mr. Masujima, suggested that we should shoot in late May when the weather would be at its best. And just as he said, we had clear skies for all the five days of the project. I know from my own experience that this is rare. The car was in great condition as well. We used a Dino 246GT yellow Ferrari, the first to be officially imported into Japan. I secretly worried that it might not last the whole trip, but it came through with very few problems. That is another rarity.
Former Director of the Sano Tsunetami Memorial Museum (currently known as Sano Tsunetami and the Mietsu Naval Dock History Museum)
Director of NPO Association for Thinking about Satoyama
Director of National Congress of the Industrial Heritage
Honorary Chief Priest Toshinari Ueda
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)