JAPANESE  ENGLISH

PEOPLE

2019.05.21
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
Ms. Misa Watanabe

ーーYou were awarded the Medal of Honor with Blue Ribbon in 2012 to honor your achievements in nurturing the music industry and culture in postwar Japan, but the power of music is vast, isn’t it. I feel that music is something that gave the people of postwar Japan a richness of spirit, encouraging it and supporting it, and teaching them that it was okay to dream freely. Watanabe Productions could well be described as having been a key player during Japan’s high-growth period. People flocked to the Nichigeki Western Carnival held in 1958. Also, you created a honeymoon period for music and television in the early days of television – the nation’s living rooms were flooded with music through programs that you produced, such as The Hit Parade and Soap Bubble Holiday, which heightened the motivation of the Japanese people.

Thank you! My husband Shin Watanabe and I wanted to bring a smile to the faces of everyone in Japan. We were always thinking “What was the best way of making everyone happy? What could we do in order to instill a spirit of wanting to do our best day after day?” Thinking seriously, various ideas came to mind. Don’t fathers and mothers work as hard as they can to see their children’s happy faces? There may be a limit to how much people are willing to persevere for their own sake, but there is no end to how dogged they can be for someone else. Saying perseverance sounds like a trial, but when you are giving your all for someone else, it can be a source of pleasure. To my mind, happiness is being able to find joy in that pleasure.
Music is craftsmanship – what we call monozukuri in Japanese. The great happiness that I have found through my work rests on a spirit of monozukuri that has been nurtured through the trials and errors by which the industrial state of Japan has sought to enrich the country. So I would like to pay tribute to everyone involved in Meiji Japan’s industrial revolution. Since Koko was giving that idea physical form, I knew that I had to give her my support, and felt not even the slightest hesitation in doing so.

ーーHow did you support Ms. Kato, specifically?
I didn’t do much, really. But since I have dealings with a lot of different people due to the nature of my work, I introduced her to several whom I could trust to show an understanding of Koko’s activities and to be able to support her from a funding perspective.
I’ve always liked connecting people. Whenever I make an introduction, there’s always a part of me that is already envisioning the scenario of something wonderful happening. For example, I sometimes feel that a person might have talent, but that this talent is coming to naught because he or she hasn’t found the right fit – and when I think that, I immediately leap into action. In fact, I’ve seen countless cases where matchmaking among artists like singers, lyricists, and composers results in the creation of a hit song. It’s a joy that is beyond comparison – because it’s your own inspiration having a powerful effect on so many others. In other words, that’s the real thrill of my job.
Koko and everyone else involved in getting the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution inscribed onto UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List also had their eyes fixed on a bright future for Japan. The sincerity of their ideas is precisely why their dream came true.

ーーThis October, “Rally Nippon” will be held as an event involving classic cars touring the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution in Kyushu, and I’ve heard that you were inspired by the idea of linking classic cars with these World Heritage Sites.

I encountered Mr. Yusuke Kobayashi, the representative director of Rally Nippon at a meeting, and when I learned about what he was doing I said to him, “Have you tried telling Koko what you’re up to? I’m sure she should be able to help you.”
After all, she’d gone to all the trouble of getting the sites listed as World Cultural Heritage, right? I worry that this will be overlooked if we don’t spread the word a bit more, and I feel that there’s a need to generate some excitement in order to secure buy-in for conservation activities. Of course, I was thinking that it would be great if we could host some major event. When you want to spread the word about something, you have to launch it in grand style – my feeling is that however much you dress up something half-baked, you will only ever get half-baked results.
This is a fusion of classic cars with industrial revolutionary heritage.
The desire to see so many stylish classic cars racing at once will be sure to bring not only classic car enthusiasts, but many other people from all over the country. When everyone takes photos and uploads them to social media, people will see the industrial heritage of Meiji Japan playing another leading role in the background. From there, some will learn that the sites have been inscribed onto UNESCO World Heritage List, and some will take an interest. Those who are impressed will spread the word.
My inspiration came to fruition unexpectedly quickly, and I felt right away that this would work. What you need when you are going to move something is momentum. The old saying is that “there’s no time like the present” right? No good result ever came of dilly-dallying. Proceeding carefully is important, of course, but every path is littered with things that you have to try doing to understand. You could say this is a philosophy I learned through my work.
In the entertainment world, if you do things hesitantly, your ideas might be poached by someone else, and the enthusiasm of those involved may cool. You need to read the zeitgeist and be half a step ahead. That’s why I feel that you need the courage to act based on your instincts.
Speaking of which, Koko, who got the ball rolling for the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution into World Cultural Heritage, is also a courageous person.
Also, while the Agency for Cultural Affairs was caught up on the fixed notion that only cultural heritage and natural heritage were worthy of being World Heritage, those who strongly argued in favor of including industrial heritage showed themselves to be adept at foresight. An instinct for judging what’s going to work and what is not works through the accumulation knowledge. Astute judgements by people with a wealth of experience led to great hope.

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