Shoin Shrine has a mission to convey the history leading up to the Meiji Restoration properly
Honorary Chief Priest Toshinari Ueda
Born on 20 June, 1941
1964: Graduated from Kokugakuin University, Department of History
1967-2007: Priest of Iiyama Hachiman Shrine
2001-2007: Director of Yamaguchi Pref. Shinto Shrine Office
2004-2007: Director of the Shinto Shrine Head Office
2003-2016: Priest of Shoin Shrine
2010-2016: Chairman, Yamaguchi Pref. Cultural Federation
2016~Present: Honorary Chief Priest of Shoin Shrine
Looking back on the events leading up to the registration as a World Heritage Site
Kato: I am honoured to have this opportunity to talk with you today, despite your busy schedule.
Ueda: It has been since last September; the last time I saw you was when you held a lecture in Hagi. Thank you very much for your valuable talk then.
Kato: I am also grateful for your hospitality. Every time I visit Shokason-juku Academy, I feel as if my heart is being cleansed. I am deeply moved when I think this is where Japan's modern history began. The aspirations of Teacher Yoshida Shoin led to the development of excellent human resources at Shokason-juku, and the Japanese people achieved the Meiji Restoration. The desire to convey this fact to future generations was the starting point for 'Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution'. However, looking back, tracing various events....... When we first started running for World Heritage registration, Hagi City was aiming to be on the provisional list of World Heritage Sites with its castle town.
Ueda: That was right. Yamaguchi Prefecture, Hagi City and local residents were working together to prepare a proposal to the Agency for Cultural Affairs for the 'Hagi Castle, Castle Town and Sites Related to the Meiji Restoration'.
Kato: In the midst of all this, what did you think when you received the proposal to register the site as part of the Industrial Revolution?
Ueda: To be honest, I was puzzled because I could not clearly grasp the perspective of the Industrial Revolution. However, when I re-read Teacher Shoin's thesis from the perspective of Japan's modernisation, I was deeply convinced that this was indeed the case. It is clear that the aspirants who learned the necessity of sea defence and the importance of acquiring industrial technology from the West at Shokason-juku later established the Meiji Government and made a significant contribution to the modernisation of Japan.
Kato: Is that right? Returning to the process leading up to the World Heritage registration, Mayor Nomura made the decision that Hagi would be included in both the 'Hagi Castle, Castle Town and Sites Related to the Meiji Restoration' and the' Group of Sites of Kyushu-Yamaguchi Modernisation' (later renamed the 'Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution'). After making various adjustments, the Council for Cultural Affairs made its announcement on 23 January 2007. However, the 'Group of Sites of Kyushu-Yamaguchi Modernisation Heritage' was not included in the provisional list, and the matter was left over till the next session.
Ueda: I seem to remember that the issues left to be addressed were its differentiation from 'Hagi Castle, Castle Town and Sites Related to the Meiji Restoration' and the fact that it is a large-scale project that spans multiple prefectures.
Kato: I feel sorry for Mayor Nomura; it was a very tough situation. That is why the World Heritage Symposium held in Hagi on 3 February was so memorable. On that day, it was snowing deeply from the morning, and I looked up at the grey sky and wondered if people would turn up. But when I went to the venue, I was surprised to see so many people were there. I felt that if so many people were interested, I could take a new step forward. I sensed the dawn of a new beginning.
Ueda: I was one of the people in the audience, but that day was a turning point, wasn't it?
Kato: If the symposium on 3 February had been a dud, I do not think we would have been able to move forward in the direction of clearing the issues defined by the Agency for Cultural Affairs and continue our progress by being reborn as the 'Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution'. I went through a turning point and learnt that it is crucial to be able to stand back up even if you fall
Ueda: Life is also like that. However, not everyone can do it. I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you have achieved.
Former Director of the Sano Tsunetami Memorial Museum (currently known as Sano Tsunetami and the Mietsu Naval Dock History Museum)
Director of NPO Association for Thinking about Satoyama
Director of National Congress of the Industrial Heritage
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)