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
Born in Hashinochō, Kamaishi. Opened Tōge Chaya in April 2012 after becoming active with the Aonoki Women’s Association
Information on Tōge Chaya
2-Chiwari 38, Hashinochō, Kamaishi City, Iwate Prefecture
Opening hours 11:00 to 15:00
Directions: 50 mins by car from Kamaishi Station
Japanese curry, a house specialty bringing people together at Tōge Chaya
Ms. Ogasawara: I run Tōge Chaya, the “teahouse at the pass,” along the route from the Hashino Information Center to the Hashino Iron Mining and Smelting Site. When I first opened it in April 2012, I was seventy years old. It surprised everybody, but I started out with the feeling that “I’m still only seventy after all!” I’m glad I did, too. I enjoy being able to get to know all sorts of people. All kinds come here from all over the world. People of all ages, young and old, students and working people alike, and some come together with their families. But they’ve all got something in common. The thing is, they’re all hungry!
Tōge Curry– a local specialty at the Hashino Iron Minining and Smelting Site
At Tōge Chaya, I’ve been serving visitors tōge karē (“curry at the pass”), which is presented to look like the Hashino blast furnace, since even before the mine site was listed as UNESCO's World Heritage. I came up with the idea myself. I thought it was a shame to serve food that you could find just anywhere to people who had taken the trouble to come from so far away – I wanted to serve something impressive, something that would leave them with a lasting memory they could take away as a souvenir. I used a cup I bought at a 100-yen shop as a rice mold and modeled the blast furnace by topping it with some Chinese artichoke dyed red with plum vinegar, then added some vegetables grown in the field behind the shop on the side. Naturally, the curry is also homemade. I add some little acacia honey that I source locally and some dried persimmons… Actually, there’s also a secret to how it thickens. Although it didn’t work very well at first, I had a flash of insight when I saw the mochi rice cakes we use as New Year’s decorations. I experimented a little and got a good result, so I’ve been using mochi ever since. I’m not fussed about effort or profit. I’ll try my hand at whatever appeals to me. Some people tell me, “Only 500 yen? You’d pay three times as much in the city!” But I’m happy as long as they find it delicious. “Delicious” is a magic word that brings people together, you know? When people say to me, “It’s delicious!” I find it often serves as the start of a conversation. You start by asking “where are you from?” or “what do you do for a living?” and sometimes people even open up and unburden themselves of their troubles. Not long ago, a young one was in here talking about his indecision about the possibility of being transferred for work. So I said to him, “why not try anything?” he burst into tears. I’d bet he hadn’t been able to talk to anyone else about that. Here’s what I said to him. I said, “There might be some tough times and sadness on the road ahead of you, but when you feel down, just remember that one time you had a curry cooked by an old woman up at the Hashino blast furnace.” It might be a bit presumptuous of me, but I want to support the people I’ve had the good fortune to encounter. I’m only where I am now thanks to the support I’ve received myself from so many others.
(Photo)Pesticide-free vegetables grown in the backyard. They might be misshapen, but their taste is second to none
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)