JAPANESE  ENGLISH

PEOPLE

2019.01.31
Vol.30
Turning Our Industrial Heritage into Hope for Those 100 Years From Now

Member of the House of Councillors

Mr.Tatsuo Hirano
Mr.Tatsuo Hirano

ーーWhat kind of support did you provide?

Soon after meeting with Ms. Kato, I went to talk with Mr. Hiroto Izumi, who was director of the Cabinet Secretariat’s Regional Revitalization Office at the time (currently Special Advisor to the Prime Minister). He understood the subject well, and agreed that we needed to talk with the Agency for Cultural Affairs and get them create a category for industrial heritage within Japan’s World Heritage Sites. But then the Great East Japan Earthquake struck, and I had to focus all of my efforts on my duties as Minister for Reconstruction in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake and Minister of State for Disaster Management. So I did next to nothing in regard to inscribing industrial heritage sites on the World Heritage List. Ms. Kato and Mr. Izumi worked in tandem to move the project forward.

Unfortunately, things did not go so smoothly. The Government Revitalization Unit was established to revamp the government’s budget and programs and it deliberated on “reevaluating overemphasis on the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties in regard to inscribing industrial heritage sites on the World Heritage List,” but the Agency for Cultural Affairs believed that it would be difficult to get the inscription approved with only protecting the sites under the law, and responded that building a new framework would be meaningless if we cannot hope for inscription. So we were caught between a rock and a hard place. Eventually, when Ms. Renho Murata, new Minister of State for Government Revitalization visited Yawata Steel Works during the “budget screening process” to review government programs to reduce wasteful spending, it opened a path for inscribing industrial heritage sites on the World Heritage List, but it did not go anywhere while the Democratic Party was in power.

Since 2005 when the Liberal Democratic Party was in power, Ms. Kato and others have got the project into full swing. Thanks to their diligent efforts, I was able to rest easy seeing that the project continued without trouble even after the rule of the Democratic Party ended and the Second Abe Cabinet was formed. And my desire to support the project remained unchanged. One thing I reaffirmed through my involvement in reconstruction efforts in the disaster-afflicted areas was that it is not politicians nor this party nor that party that is important in accomplishing things, but the dedication of individuals. What is needed is the conviction of individuals to get to the essence of what the real objective is and see it through to the end. People in many different positions were involved in moving the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution World Heritage Inscription Project forward, but each one of them worked single-mindedly for the same reason as Ms. Kato—they wanted to do something for Japan. And the strong solidarity this created bore fruit, achieving inscription on the World Heritage List.

ーーI understand that you’re from Kitakami City, Iwate. Kamaishi Hashino Iron Mining and Smelting Site is included in the industrial heritage sites. Do you think that one of the reasons you had such strong interest in Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution was your love for your hometown?

Yes I do. Kamaishi is widely known in Japan as the “City of Steel.” I knew this since I was a child, but my interest in Kamaishi’s steel history started when I joined the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and undertook jurisdiction over Iwate Prefecture. I found it incredibly interesting and became a total “steel nerd.” Actually, the first time I met Ms. Kato, the first thing we talked about was steelmaking. She is profoundly knowledgeable about steel—I was amazed how much she studied the subject. Hashino Iron Mining and Smelting Site become a National Historic Site in 1957, but at first it was not included in the industrial heritage component parts. But when preparing the nomination to submit to UNESCO, they realized that the story of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution wouldn’t be complete without Hashino, so it was added in 2013. When I mentioned this to Ms. Kato, she said, “That’s because Kamaishi was where Japan’s modern iron and steel industry began.” Hearing this made me feel proud of my hometown and want to make it a World Heritage Site so I could share that pride with the people of Iwate.

Last year there was an TV drama series on NHK called Segodon. At the beginning there was a scene where Lord Nariakira Shimadzu was struggling hard at trying to build cannons. In the final years of the Edo period there was an urgent need to manufacture steel cannons. However, steel made with Japan’s iron-sand was ill-suited for manufacturing. Therefore, they needed to make steel from flexible magnetite magnets with a Western-style blast furnace. So what drew people’s attention was an iron mine in the Ohashi district of Iwate Prefecture where magnetite was discovered. Under order of the Morioka Domain, Mr. Takato Oshima, known as the father of the modern iron and steel industry, was the first person in Japan to successfully tap molten pig iron by refining iron ore with a Western-style blast furnace in 1857; but in any case, by switching from the traditional tatarasteelmaking method in which the furnace had to be destroyed each time to extract steel to a blast furnace method in which molten pig iron could be tapped continuously without having to destroy the furnace, it enabled the mass-production of high-quality steel, moving Japan one step closer to modernization. The technology developed at Hashino Iron Mining and Smelting Site contributed to Yawata Steel Works’ activities such as railway manufacturing and shipbuilding. I can go on forever when I talk about steel, so I should probably stop here.

ーーLastly, could you tell us about the expectations and challenges that face the National Congress of Industrial Heritage and local governments?

I read the World Heritage commemorative publication Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding, and Coal Mining that was published last March. It is an impressive 400-page book that gives detailed descriptions of the 23 component parts spanning eight prefectures and 11 cities and provides an in-depth look at the history leading to inscription on the World Heritage List in 2015. The people involved conducted extensive research with experts from a variety of fields to select the component parts, pursued a serial nomination for the first time in Japan, obtained the understanding of local governments, and coordinated with the national government. Furthermore, they were fully aware that achieving World Heritage inscription was not the goal but the start of a new beginning. It made me keenly reaffirm my realization that looking back at history means to think about how one lives now.

Last year so many natural disasters occurred across Japan, forcing so many people to live as evacuees, that the kanji of the year was the character for “disaster.” Our country faces many difficulties: the grief from losing loved ones is immeasurable, those who lost their homes and fortunes face great uncertainty, reconstruction in areas like Fukushima where the population has declined is taking a long time, and so on. But there is no greater message of hope than the fact that Japanese people with an unyielding spirit accomplished the industrial revolution in the short time of 50 years.

I firmly believe that the inscription of the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution on the World Heritage List is an epoch-making event in the history of Japan. Inscribing Japan’s industrial heritage on the World Heritage List is a great opportunity to give vitality to the people of Japan. I hope those involved will make full use of this opportunity so that those of us living today can deliver to those living 100 years from now a message of hope—that Japan overcame countless hardships and continued to grow as an industrial nation. This is not an expectation, but my earnest wish. I have profound respect for those in the National Congress of Industrial Heritage who push ahead undaunted with such meaningful initiatives, and will continue to support their work in coordination with them and local governments.

(Interviewed and written by Akane Maruyama)

Backnumber>ALL
Vol.50
What is the secret plan to make the Port of Miike, an operational asset of a World Heritage site?

Former Mayor of Omuta City

Mr. Michio Koga
Vol. 49
Why Conservation Management of Japan's Meiji Industrial Sites is needed?

Archaeologist and Heritage Conservation Specialist

Dr. Michael Pearson AO
Vol.48
The Truth of Industrial History Unraveled from the Perspective of Metallurgy: the Mission of the Heritage of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution is to Pass on the Intelligence, Diligence, and Fortitude of the Japanese People to Future Generations

A fellow of the Japan Federation of Engineering Societies

Professor Tadahiro Inazumi
Vol.47
The Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution is a Great Teaching Aid, and Various World Revealed by Looking Into It

Team Member of the Industrial Project Team Office for the Promotion of World Heritage Listing under Cabinet Secretariat

Mr. Kazuhiko Suga
Vol.46
The History of Iron that Began in Kagoshima has Dramatically Advanced Japan's Modernization~I Want to Pass on the Vitality of the People of Satsuma to the Younger Generations Whom Will Live in the Future~

Governor of Kagoshima Prefecture

Koichi Shiota
Vol.45
Yoshida Shoin preached the Theory of Engineering Education and produced the Choshu Five who risked their lives to go to England--to pass on the proud Hagi spirit to future generations

Mayor of Hagi City

Mr. Fumio Tanaka
Vol.44
I wish to pass on to my children's generation the wisdom, technology, and energy of our ancestors who built Misumi West Port - I will do my very best to do what I can at this moment by looking ahead to the future that will surely come after COVID-19.

Mayor of Uki City, Kumamoto Prefecture

Mr. Kenshi Morita
Vol. 43
An Imperial Company named the Yawata Steel Works became a World Heritage Site from a Single Old Photo!

The Former Employee of Nippon Steel Corporation

Mr. Masayoshi Minakuchi
Vol.42
We would like to Establish a "New Local Studies" that will be transmitted to the Outside World.

An Associate Professor of the Faculty of Science and Engineering in Iwate University

Mr. Hideki Onodera
Vol.41
18 Years History of a Tourist Guide Business and an Outpouring of "Love for Misumi West Port." ~"Registration for World Heritage is Not Simply a Goal, but a New Starting Point."~

Chairman of the Tourist Guide Association of Misumi West Port

Mr. Manpo Saito
Vol.40
To Mark the Passage of "Time" Together with Nirayama Reverberatory Furnace ~To increase the attractiveness of "reverberatory furnace tourism" through the use of commercial museum and restaurant business~

President of Kuraya Narusawa Co., Ltd.

Chairman of Izunokuni City Tourism Association

Mr. Hironori Inamura
Vol.39
The Establishment of the Gunkanjima Digital Museum Were Led by Fate: I want to start, continue, and finish what I can do to convey the value of the Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution to a wide audience

Director and General Manager of Gunkanjima Concierge

Producer of the Gunkanjima Digital Museum

Ms. Yuko Kuon
Vol.38
In Industrial Heritage, It's the "People" Who Play the Central Role: How World Heritage Inscription Casts a Fresh Light on Hometown Splendors

Owner at Tōge Chaya

Ms. Shizuko Ogasawara
Vol.37
Everything is for the Economic Development of Nagasaki--Expanding Beyond the Shipping Business to Pass on Nagasaki's Culture and Industrial Heritage

Chairman: Mr. Hidenori Date
President: Mr. Masahiro Date

Yamasa Kaiun Co., Ltd.
No.36
Kamaishi's "Miracles" and Overcoming Disaster: The Huge Opportunity Provided by World Heritage Site Inscription

Proprietor, Houraikan Inn

Ms. Akiko Iwasaki
Vol.35
"850 years of historical records" along with Nirayama reverberatory furnace that ought to be passed down to future generations. ~The long-awaited new storage warehouse is completed and it has encouraged preservation, restoration, and utilization~

Representative Director of Egawa Bunko non-profit incorporated foundation

The 42nd head of the Egawa Family

Mr. Hiroshi Egawa
Vol.34
The History of an Era Opened by an Indomitable Pioneering Spirit and the Power of Our Forefathers

Democratic Party for the People (DPP) Representative for Nagasaki Prefecture

Mr. Yoshiaki Takaki
Vol.33
Gunkanjima Is a Warning Message for the Future of Earth and Humanity ~The Thoughts and Pleas of a Guide and Former Resident~

President of the NPO, Way to World Heritage Gunkanjima

Mr. Dotoku Sakamoto
Vol.32
Synchronicity Yields the Miracle of World Heritage Site Inscription: Strong Aspirations Inspire Support among Like-Minded Individuals

Representative Director

MI Consulting Group

Mr. Fumio Ohue
Vol.31
Power to the People of Japan The Mission of Meiji Japan's Industrial Revolutionary Heritage

President of Watanabe Production Group and Honorary Chair of Watanabe Productions Co., Ltd.

Ms. Misa Watanabe
Vol.30
Turning Our Industrial Heritage into Hope for Those 100 Years From Now

Member of the House of Councillors

Mr.Tatsuo Hirano
Vol.29
Calling on 21st Century Satsuma Students to Build the Future! Shuseikan Serves as a Source of Information about Sightseeing in Kagoshima

Governor
Kagoshima Prefecture

Mr. Satoshi Mitazono
Vol.28
Awareness of "Stories with Connections" is steadily spreading throughout each region~There are also challenges for conservation management and interpretation~

World Heritage Consultant

Ms. Sarah Jane Brazil
Vol.27
Where There Is a Will, There Is a Way: Connecting with People Takes Courage and Initiative

Director and Dean, The Kyushu-Asia Institute of Leadership
Representative Director, SUMIDA, Inc.

Mr. Koichi Hashida
Vol.26
Taking Pride in Japan's Latest World Heritage Sites~A Journalist's Perspective~

Journalist, founder of the Shimomura Mitsuko Ikikata Juku School

Ms. Mitsuko Shimomura
Vol.25
Classic Cars and the Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution~Rally Nippon 2019 in Kyushu~

Representative, Rally Nippon

Mr.Yusuke Kobayashi
Vol.24
Preparations Proceed for the Development of Exciting Touring Routes to See the World Heritage Sites - The Promotion Council Conveys their Attractions to the World through Various Promotions!

Chairman, Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution World Heritage Route Promotion Council Director, National Congress of Industrial Heritage

Mr. Susumu Ishihara
Vol.23
Giving Greater Force to the Preparation of Routes toward Promoting "Heritage Tourism" - Recollections of the Unforgettable Bombing of Hometown Kure City and the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb

Representative Director, General Incorporated Foundation National Congress of Industrial Heritage (Advisor, Public Interest Incorporated Foundation Capital Markets Research Institute)

Mr. Hiroshi Yasuda
Vol.22
The City Connected to the World: Making the "Treasure of Nagasaki" the "Treasure of the World"

Mayor of Nagasaki City

Mr.Tomihisa Taue
Vol.21
"The World's Experimental Facility" that Questions of the True Value of the "ICOMOS-TICCIH Cooperative Principles" New Conservation Challenges Promoted by the Japanese Government

Policy Director at Heritage Montreal

Mr. Dinu Bumbaru
Vol.20
Days of Heated Argument with the Unforgettable Stuart Smith~A Cross-Cultural Encounter with Familiar 19th-Century Industrial Heritage~

World Heritage Consultant

Mr. Barry Gamble
Vol.19
The next generation of technological innovation is born from carrying forward history and culture. - Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution open the way to "conserving while using"

Executive Director of Kogakuin University

Dr.Osamu Goto
Vol.18
Blazing a New Trail for Serial Inscription-Format Conservation and Management with the Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution: Training Personnel to Pass on Memory and Understanding as a Major Challenge in the Future

Heritage Architect and International Consultant

Mr. Duncan Marshall
Vol.17
3D Digital Documentation of the Giant Cantilever Crane and Kosuge Dock

Head of Data Acquisition at The Glasgow School of Art’s School of Simulation and Visualisation

Mr. Alastair Rawlinson
Vol.16
Japan's Uplifting Industrial Heritage

Head of Industrial Heritage, Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh

Dr. Miles Oglethorpe
Vol.15
The Scottish Ten Project

Scottish Ten Project Manager, Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh

Dr. Lyn Wilson
Vol.14
The Tea Plantation Hill Where You Can See Two World Heritage Sites at Once, Mt. Fuji and the Nirayama Reverberatory Furnaces--The Next Dream Is a "Mini Reverberatory Furnace for Children" to Provide Experiential Learning

Mayor of Izunokuni City, Shizuoka Prefecture

Ms.Toshiko Ono
Vol.13
Path to becoming a World Heritage Site

Pro-Provost and Chairman of Council of the Royal College of Art. Heritage advisor of Canal & River Trust for England and Wales.

Sir Neil Cossons
Vol.12
In the midst of accurate information dissemination, it created a chance to truly look at history

Dean of Tokyo Rissho Junior College

Professor emeritus of Keio University

Dr. Kudo Norikazu
No.11
World Heritage Inscription Spurs Renewed Civic Pride in Kitakyushu's Industrial Heritage

Mayor of Kitakyushu City

Mr. Kenji Kitahashi
Vol.10
World Heritage Inscription: Report on the 2015 Celebratory Party Held in Bonn, Germany

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.

Background of World Heritage Inscription
Vol.9
Conserve and Use: Pioneering New Approaches for Operational Heritage Assets

Director and Managing Executive Officer, Hanshin Expressway Company Limited

Member, Board of Directors, National Congress of Industrial Heritage

Mr. Hiroshi Okamoto
Vol.8
Applying Port and Harbor Act Provisions to Conserve Operating World Heritage Sites

Vice-Governor of Shizuoka Prefecture

Mr. Takashi Namba
Vol.7
The Choshu Five: Pioneers of Modernization and Hagi's Heritage of Trial and Error

Mayor of Hagi City

Mr. Koji Nomura
Vol.6
The Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution: The Roots of Japanese Craftsmanship and Industry

Chairman, Tokyo Metro Co., Ltd.

Mr.Masafumi Yasutomi
Vol.5
The Miike Area: How Coal Contributed to Japan's Modern Industrialization

Mayor of Omuta City

Mr.Michio Koga
Vol.4
The Meiji Industrial Revolution: A Story of Broad Vision and a Strong Sense of Mission to Undertake New Challenges for the Good of the Nation and its People

Deputy Director-General, Lifelong Learning Policy Bureau, MEXT

Former Counsellor, Cabinet Secretariat

Mr. Kengo Iwamoto
Vol.3
From Kamaishi to Yawata: The Proud Heritage of Japan's Modern Iron Industry

Mayor of Kamaishi City

Mr.Takenori Noda
Vol.2
Lord Nariakira Shimadzu's Shuseikan and the Efforts to Build a Strong and Affluent Nation

Member, Board of Directors, National Congress of Industrial Heritage Counselor, Shimadzu Limited

Mr.Kimiyasu Shimadzu
Vol.1
The Genesis of Japan's Rise as an Industrial Nation: Preserving the Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution for Future Generations

Chairman of the Consortium for the World Heritage Inscription of Modern Industrial Heritage (Kyushu-Yamaguchi) and governor of Kagoshima Prefecture (as of 2015)

Mr.Yuichiro Ito