Owner at Tōge Chaya
It is deeds, not words, that move people’s hearts
Ms. Ogasawara: I also came to know Ms. Koko Kato through curry. When Koko came up to visit the Hashino Iron Mine for a site inspection, she came for a meal at the information center. I was really moved when she approached me to tell me how delicious the curry was, adding, “And the way the presentation is designed to look like he Hashino Iron Mine is wonderful, too. I was impressed.” But what will stay with me is what she said next, “It’s important for there to be people who appreciate the Hashino Iron Mine like this. It’s the people who play the central role in industrial heritage.” Until then, although I’d known that the Hashino Iron Mine had been selected as a component the Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution, I’d been thinking it terms of “Well, it would be nice if it came to something, but I wonder if they can pull it off?” as though it had nothing to do with me. Part of me had also felt that “if it’s such a valuable site, why has the country just left it abandoned until now?” But when I heard Kōko say that “people are central,” something suddenly clicked. That is, I realized that being listed as World Heritage would actually be a tribute to the local people who lived in Hashino and taken care of the iron mines.
And there is something else. It dawned on me that Koko, too, was motivated by a powerful sense that “whether I can or cannot, I won’t know unless I try.” It’s easy to say, “Anyway, I’ll give it a shot,” but it really takes courage to actually take action. When I had just been trying to qualify as a licensed cook, I had held back because I was thinking about what I would do if I failed. Deliberating on the kind of resolution that Koko must have felt, with so many people’s hopes invested in her, then as someone living here in my own home town, how could I not also throw myself completely into the dream of World Heritage inscription? Koko still visits the Tōge Chaya when she comes to Kamaishi. Even though we’ve achieved our goals, I’m very happy that we’re still connected, which makes me feel that we have to work harder even still. It’s been my personal experience that it is deeds, not words, the move people’s hearts.
I have to enrich the place where I am
Ms. Ogasawara: After the inscription of the Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution as World Heritage, there were suddenly a lot more people coming to see the Hashino Iron Mine. At one point, the road in front of Tōge Chaya was so full of people it was like one of those pedestrian-only streets in Ginza. I had never seen this place so busy with so many people. Tōge Chaya was also now booked up for days on end, and my husband I were run off our feet. We gave a lot of interviews to magazines, and have also been featured on television. Now, nearly five years later, there are some quiet days, and the bustling excitement has calmed down quite a bit. Even so, I feel that it was a big thing to have been inscribed as World Heritage. It has reminded us that the Hashino Iron Mine is a source of hometown pride. It’s also strengthened my sense of gratitude toward our ancestors. Even so, all I can do is prepare my meals while feeling that I have to do my best to enrich the place where I am. But if everyone in the community joins together in the feeling that we have to enrich the hometown where we’ve each been born and raised, I think that would be a source of great strength. I’m going to keep running Tōge Chaya until I’m eighty, and after that I’ll start looking for something I can do at age eighty. I’d like to start doing something new to get more people to visit Hashino Iron Mine. When I was young, I yearned for the city, but ultimately I’ve been given the strength to live in my own hometown. Clean air, fresh vegetables that are good for the body and pesticide-free, and human warmth… But the most important local specialty is human compassion. If we can provide visitors with memories of how their visit to Hashino Iron Mine was full of heartwarming encounters, that reputation will spread to people around the world. And I believe that people who visit once will be likely to return again and again.
(Interview and summary: Akane Maruyama)
(Photos) Ms. Ogasawara and American high school students from NY who visited for an on-site learning
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)