Everything is for the Economic Development of Nagasaki--Expanding Beyond the Shipping Business to Pass on Nagasaki's Culture and Industrial Heritage

Yamasa Kaiun Co., Ltd.

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

Yamasa Kaiun Co., Ltd.

Mr. Hidenori Date
1946: Starts working at his ancestral family business in the coastal shipping industry
1966: Incorporates family business and becomes representative director of Yamasa Shipping Co., Ltd.
2015: Steps down as director, and works nearly every day as the company’s chairman, his current position
1998: Becomes President of the Nagasaki Shipping Association, Vice Chairman of the Kyushu Federation of Shipping Associations, and board member of the National Federation of Shipping Associations, and works for the advancement of the coastal shipping industry
2000: Earns Minister of Transport’s Award (for maritime accomplishments)
2017: Awarded Medal of Honor, Yellow Ribbon

Mr. Masahiro Date
1985: Graduates from Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology and joins major coastal shipping company
1988: Joins Yamasa Shipping Co., Ltd.
1998: Becomes representative director of the company, his current position

Everything is for the Economic Development of Nagasaki—We are Thankful for Our Connection to the Component Properties of the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution and Want to Pass on its Culture

Even before Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution was inscribed on the World Heritage List, Yamasa Shipping has worked to promote tourism through offering cruise tours such as Nagasaki Port Sail, Gunkanjima Landing and Cruise, and Gunkanjima Cruise. The company has earned high acclaim for its contributions to promoting the World Heritage route, and has received a letter of appreciation from the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution Route Promotion Council (established in 2016) two years in a row. We asked Hidenori Date and Masahiro Date, chairman and president of this company that is driving the tourism industry, about their thoughts on the next challenge: how to expand the value of Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution and ensure that it continues into the future.

ーーFirst, could you tell us about Yamasa Shipping’s roots?

Mr. Hidenori Date: Ships have been our family business since the time of the Tokugawa shogunate. I am the 11th generation head of the business. I think my strong sense of responsibility—that if you decide to do something you make sure to see it through—is something that has been passed down continuously from generation to generation.
 I was born in the town of Arie, in Minamishimabara City, and started working in our family coastal shipping business around the time WWII ended. Based in Arie, we transported coal by sea that was mined from the islands of Takashima and Hashima (also known as Gunkanjima or “Battleship Island” due to its resemblance to a battleship) in Nagasaki City. After the war, local business flourished including ours. We started transporting agricultural products and other goods from Kyushu to the Tokyo‐Yokohama area, and later built the foundation to build cargo ships for transporting steel stock—which became our core business.

Mr. Masahiro Date: Our company was incorporated in Nagasaki in 1966. When we were thinking of expanding our business further we created two mottoes: “Make something out of nothing” and “Pass on the real history.” Keeping true to these principles, in 1966 we began developing two passenger services—Gunkanjima Sightseeing Cruise and Nagasaki Port Sightseeing Cruise—which we launched the following year.

Mr. Hidenori Date: We developed our sightseeing boat business with the advancement of Nagasaki’s local economy in mind. At the end of July 1982 torrential downpours caused a great flood in Nagasaki, and the effects of the flood led to a downturn in the Nagasaki economy. Everyone, even the government, was at a loss of what to do. So in around 1998, the Nagasaki Nambu Tourism Promotion Council was established to boost tourism in the southern region of the Nagasaki Peninsula. It was made up of the cities and towns of Nagasaki, Nomozaki, Sanwa, Koyagi, Takashima, and Iojima, the Nagasaki Subtropical Botanical Garden, Nagasaki International Tourism and Convention Association, and our company. We actively participated in the council’s projects, but they never seemed to lead to promoting local business and tourism. As we were pulling our hair out trying to figure out what we were doing wrong, in January 2003 I attended the New Year’s party of the Japan Federation of Coastal Shipping Associations at the Sabo Kaikan conference center in Tokyo. I was president of the Nagasaki Shipping Association at the time, and at the party then-prime minister Junichiro Koizumi suggested turning Nagasaki’s coal mining history into a tourism resource. And that was our first step into the sightseeing cruise business—which we have been operating ever since.

Coal was discovered on the island of Hashima in 1810. Coal mining started in 1870 and Mitsubishi became the owner of the mine in 1890. For 104 days until its closure on January 15, 1974, the coal mine island played a crucial role in the modernization of Japan. Hashima coal was of outstanding quality with a high degree of purity. The extremely hard, black coal contained little ash or sulfur. This made it ideal for making coke, a material needed in steelmaking. So, following Takashima, groundbreaking mining technology was adopted at Hashima, and the mine contributing greatly to Japan’s coal industry and later to its industrial revolution. I was very proud of this fact, so I took Prime Minister Koizumi’s idea to heart and translated it into action by developing the Gunkanjima Sightseeing Cruise.

Mr. Masahiro Date: I learned that Nagasaki’s top three industries were coal mining, shipbuilding, and fishing in social studies class at elementary school. But after the Gunkanjima mine was closed it deteriorated to ruin and was forgotten, so attracting attention to the island posed a difficult task. We started the Gunkanjima Sightseeing Cruise in 1997 but really struggled at first. No customers came, maybe three on a good day.

(Photo) Coal mined at Gunkanjima that Yamasa Shipping Chairman Hidenori Date kept safe. It was given to him by people who worked at the Hashima Coal Mine

⑥IMG_5247 - コピー.JPG

Living now for the future of Japan: The mission of the Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution is to raise awareness and courage that "Japan can be saved if we make use of the spirit of our predecessors."

Former General Manager, Nagasaki Shipyard and Machinery Works, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.

Dr. Kunifumi Hashimoto
Japan's Meiji Industrial Heritage is the Pride of Japan - Knowing the Steps of Our Predecessors is the Key to Reconsidering Japanese Education

Chairman, Fujisankei Group

Executive Managing Advisor, Fuji Television Network, Inc.

Executive Managing Advisor, Fuji Media Holdings, Inc.

Mr, Hisashi Hieda
The Road to World Heritage Registration was Full of its Ups and Downs ~Blessed, Saved and Paved by the Luck of Human Fate~

Advisor, Federation of Japan Port and Airport Construction Association

(Ex. Chairman of Specialists Center of Port and Airport Engineering)

Mr. Hiroshi Hayashida
The historical flow of change from "Samurai to the Company" is the pride of Japan - Nagasaki, the center of Japan's Meiji Industrial Heritage Sites, will lead the way to connect to the next generation.

Mayor of Nagasaki City

Mr. Shiro Suzuki
The Saga Clan Built Japan's First Reverberatory Furnace, and the "Mietsu Naval Station" was the Base of the Western-style Navy: Passing on the Passion That Went Into Registering the Site as a World Heritage Site to the Next Generation

Former Director of the Sano Tsunetami Memorial Museum (currently known as Sano Tsunetami and the Mietsu Naval Dock History Museum)

Mr. Yoshimi Eguchi
The Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution is a "World Cultural Heritage" and a "World Evolutionary Heritage

Director of NPO Association for Thinking about Satoyama

Director of National Congress of the Industrial Heritage

Mr. Kenji Amioka
Shoin Shrine has a mission to convey the history leading up to the Meiji Restoration properly

Honorary Chief Priest Toshinari Ueda

Mr. Toshinari Ueda
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Kamaishi's "Miracles" and Overcoming Disaster: The Huge Opportunity Provided by World Heritage Site Inscription

Proprietor, Houraikan Inn

Ms. Akiko Iwasaki
"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
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
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
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
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
Turning Our Industrial Heritage into Hope for Those 100 Years From Now

Member of the House of Councillors

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

Kagoshima Prefecture

Mr. Satoshi Mitazono
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
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
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
Classic Cars and the Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution~Rally Nippon 2019 in Kyushu~

Representative, Rally Nippon

Mr.Yusuke Kobayashi
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
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
The City Connected to the World: Making the "Treasure of Nagasaki" the "Treasure of the World"

Mayor of Nagasaki City

Mr.Tomihisa Taue
"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
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
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
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
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
Japan's Uplifting Industrial Heritage

Head of Industrial Heritage, Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh

Dr. Miles Oglethorpe
The Scottish Ten Project

Scottish Ten Project Manager, Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh

Dr. Lyn Wilson
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
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
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
World Heritage Inscription Spurs Renewed Civic Pride in Kitakyushu's Industrial Heritage

Mayor of Kitakyushu City

Mr. Kenji Kitahashi
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
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
Applying Port and Harbor Act Provisions to Conserve Operating World Heritage Sites

Vice-Governor of Shizuoka Prefecture

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

Mayor of Hagi City

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

Chairman, Tokyo Metro Co., Ltd.

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

Mayor of Omuta City

Mr.Michio Koga
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
From Kamaishi to Yawata: The Proud Heritage of Japan's Modern Iron Industry

Mayor of Kamaishi City

Mr.Takenori Noda
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
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