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
Mr. Manpo Saito

■Do Not Let the Corona Win! Started “Regular Guide” on Weekdays and Holidays

--I heard that your main business is as a farmer who produces mandarin oranges and decopon (tangerine), but is it true that you do not even take a break from guiding business even when you are busy with your farm work, such as during the harvest season?

Saito: Yes, I take time off from my work while I am busy with activities related to the West Port (laughs out loud). To tell you the truth, I am taking about half a year off for a break. The reason I have been able to do this is all thanks to my wife named Eriko. We have been married for 46 years, and the other day I gave my repentance on a TV program, and she told me that she would “let 46 years of dissatisfaction and pent-up feelings go away,” but since the next day she has been furious with me again (laughs out loud).   

--Mr. Saito is like a “living dictionary of Misumi West Port,” but as a guide, how many people do you really guide each year?

Saito: We have a tally of the total number of guides. It is said that in fiscal 2014, before it became a World Heritage Site, there were 162 guides and 4,784 visitors. In fiscal 2015, when it became a World Heritage Site, the number jumped sharply to 598 cases and 17,797 people. In fiscal 2016, it saw a decrease due to the impact of the Kumamoto earthquake, but in fiscal 2017, the number reached a record high of 746 cases and 25,101 people. I think I guided roughly one-seventh of the number of cases. But then it started to decline since then, and in fiscal 2019 there were 210 cases and 4,608 cases. And this fiscal year has been devastating because of the COVID-19 calamity. As a result, within the three months between April and June, we only had two cases, where we had a local broadcaster who came to cover the story accompanied by officials of the prefectural office.

--Not only it is a very tough situation, it is also hard to come up with a solution to this problem…

Saito: Nonetheless, we cannot just sit on our hands and do nothing, so we started the “regular-hour guides” in July. Actually, we started it in October last year, and it had been suspended during May and June this year. Nevertheless, we introduced a new system in which a guide, who would be waiting on standby, would guide walk-in tourists who come in on a first-come, first-served basis at 11:00 a.m. and then at 2:00 p.m. on weekdays and holidays. Until now, we only guided tourists who had reservations, but we can no longer just wait for them, we need to work on attracting them and calling out to them. We prepare in advance and make sure that we are ready to take on any challenges at hand. We are starting to work on that. (Furthermore, tours using regular-hour guides have been temporarily suspended since August 6, 2020, as a countermeasure for corona infection).

--So it is basically all about sacrificing your own time and waiting for tourists who might come at any moment is it not? You can feel how determined or more like how prepared Mr. Saito is. It is tough to deal with the COVID-19 in the current situation, but in the medium to long term, it is necessary to take measures to stimulate people so that we do not lose our wealth.

Saito: There seems to be a jinx that all industrial heritage sites lose their ability to attract visitors after about three or four years. The number of tourists to Iwami Ginzan (silver mine) and the Tomioka Silk Mill is said to be decreasing as well. Overseas, especially in Europe, industrial heritage is recognized by people to some extent, while Japanese people do not seem to pay much attention to the past in general and do not seem to have much interest in old things. Moreover, it could be due to the fact that in Japan, new World Heritage Sites are being registered one after another these days, so I suppose that could be the reason behind people being attracted to different things.

There are not many scholars and researchers specializing in industrial heritage. That is why I think the government needs to be a little more aggressive in raising awareness of industrial heritage. Otherwise, I think it will be difficult to maintain and preserve our precious industrial heritage. The important thing is to value and take care of the old and innovative ingenuity that allows it to transform into something new.

--From what I have heard so far, I could keenly feel the strength and depth of “Love for Misumi West Port” of Mr. Saito. What is it that drives Mr. Saito to do such a thing?

Saito: It is not easy to be the best in Japan or the world, is it not? Misumi West Port, which is located in my hometown, has been designated an important cultural property and registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This is truly our pride and spirit. At the end of the West Port, the sea is open and leads us to the world. Misumi West Port is said to be “a sacred place of East Asia (that opened itself up to the world).” We have come this far thanks to the efforts of many people involved. I think it is the duty of the local people to take it to the next level.  Becoming a World Heritage Site is not the ultimate goal; it is merely a starting point. I would like people, including children, to face this issue with that kind of attitude. I think the true significance of World Heritage is to pass it on to the next generation.

--That is a wonderful statement. What do you think we have to exactly do to pass it on to the next generation?

Saito: There are many things that need to be done. For example, for the records of loading and unloading coal, we have data up to 1892 and 1893, but we have not found any records following that. This matter also has to be looked into. Furthermore, we are also are unaware of what kind of cargo ship comes after the first ship named Hideyoshi-maru and Yoritomo-maru. For the coal storage in the vicinity of Misumi, I have even gone around to the District Legal Affairs Bureau and looked over about 100 documents, but I have not yet completed my research. There are also researches that have to be completed in regard to great minds who have made prominent differences. That is how we need to compile and disseminate the material. If we do not do that, we would not be able to pass them down to the next generation. That is what I think.

--It seems to me that both the local government and the national government still have a lot more to work on.

Saito: Investigation activities ought to be conducted by the prefectural and municipal governments. It is no use just complaining about them, so I am doing it myself (laughs out loud). I have a piece of my mind to offer to the national government as well. The Cabinet Office has an organization called the World Heritage Office, but in my opinion, it is not functioning very well. There are not enough full-time employees dedicated to the department, and many staff members are busy with other jobs, and the government is especially busy right now with countermeasures against coronavirus. This year is the fifth anniversary of the registration as a World Heritage Site, but it seems like they are too tied up right now in other things they do not have time for it. One example that shows that we need to work more is the fact that the logo of the “Industrial Revolutionary Heritage of Meiji Japan,” which we took the trouble to create, has not yet become very popular. I think we need to make a more sustained effort to have the logo permeate the society more, and not just being satisfied with an attitude like “Once it is registered, we are all good to go.” It must not end with a one-time event.


What I would like to see the local government do most is to build a proper museum and collect and preserve original materials. I would like a place where children can be educated about the history of the region and the technology of the time. I would really like to see such a facility built.

--We have heard valuable stories that will help us to preserve and utilize all the component assets of the “Industrial Revolutionary Heritage of Meiji Japan.” Thank you very much for today’s talk.

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