Shoin Shrine has a mission to convey the history leading up to the Meiji Restoration properly

Honorary Chief Priest Toshinari Ueda

Mr. Toshinari Ueda
Mr. Toshinari Ueda

The registration of Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution Heritage as a World Heritage Site plays a role in correcting distorted history.

Ueda: I find it puzzling that so much of the history of the Meiji Industrial Revolution has been omitted from the minds of many Japanese people, despite the fact that it is an event of such interest that many overseas people wonder, "What kind of magic could have achieved such growth in such a short period of time?

Kato: One possible cause is the post-war education system, as GHQ's policy was to black out the facts of Japanese achievements in modernisation in textbooks. I think the registration of Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution as a World Heritage Site also plays a vital role in correcting this distortion of the facts and changing the mindset from 'Japanese people are no good' to 'Japanese people are great'.

Ueda: Showing that the Japanese people have great underlying strength will lead to confidence and motivation among the Japanese people, which in turn will support Japan in the future. This is a big thing. We can learn many things from how Japan was at the end of the Edo period.

Kato: For example, Japan has a population of 125 million people, and although people bemoan the low birthrate and ageing population, the population at the end of the Meiji period, when the country achieved the feat of industrialisation, was 33 million. In other words, there is nothing to fear, and the population has nothing to do with it. What is essential is ambition. I firmly believe that even if there is only one highly ambitious person like Teacher Shoin, he will surely be able to transform Japan into a prosperous country.

Ueda: I also feel that the influence of a highly ambitious person is great. When I feel Teacher Shoin's resourcefulness, I am amazed at what leadership means. It is said that 92 students attended Shokason-juku, of which 78 have personal reviews written by Teacher Shoin.

We have painstakingly extracted and compiled Teacher Shoin's writings and published them from the shrine. From this background, I believe that Teacher Shoin was a teacher of personal guidance and guidance of individuality. I am convinced that Teacher Shoin faced each of his students and guided them "sharply, strictly and gently".

Kato: I see. It is interesting that he provided guidance in a balanced manner.

Ueda: The students who spent the longest time with Teacher Shoin from the timtrane of his incarceration spent two years and ten months with him, and those who moved to Shokason-juku spent just over a year with him. What was essential for raising the morale of the students in such a short period of time was not only wisdom and knowledge but also popularity, wasn't it?

Kato: At that time, Japan was in a period of upheaval, and I think the thoughts of many people were intermingling. Teacher Shoin was imprisoned in Nonoyama Jail for the Shimoda Stowaway Incident, in which he and Kaneko Shigenosuke infiltrated Perry's fleet and attempted but failed to smuggle themselves overseas. I suspect that, amidst a growing sense of frustration at not being able to finish halfway through his ambition, he may have vowed to abandon himself and devote his life to nurturing the next generation of leaders.

Ueda: In order to fulfil the goal of building a new country, we needed each other. There is a phrase that Teacher Shoin left behind when he opened Shokason-juku: "The school is located in a dreary village like Shoka-rouson, but I swear that it will become a thick trunk that will support the land of the gods". This means that even though the school is located in the countryside of Shoka Village, it will indeed become the trunk that supports Japan.

Kato: And the dream has become a reality, as he declared.

Ueda: I believe that Shoin Shrine has a mission to disseminate the achievements of Teacher Shoin and other aspirants. That is why we held a symposium last year on 5 November, when we moved from the confinement room, the size of three-and-a-half tatami-mats, to Shokason-juku, on the theme of 'Shokason-juku's Present, Past and Future'.

I have also been giving lectures at the village school since around 2010 when I took up my post. Before that, it was 100 per cent impossible to go up to Shokason-juku, but I decided to open it up for training purposes only, in the hope that people would actually go up to the room and experience the atmosphere, which would lead to the ability to send out messages.

Kato: I am deeply impressed by the hard work of the chief priest. I have also always felt respect for the Hagi people's attitude of facing up to history, being strict about it and valuing it. In my candid opinion, I have apprehensions that the achievements of Teacher Shoin and his fellow aspirants have not yet penetrated the whole of Japan. I think the state of Japanese history education is also to blame for this.

Ueda: Yes. The issue of the name 'Yoshida Shoin' being removed from high school textbooks along with 'Sakamoto Ryoma', 'Takeda Shingen' and 'Uesugi Kenshin' because they are too many words has recently surfaced, and we are currently working on a framework for how we will deal with the Ministry of Education.

Kato: Some people believe that Yoshida Shoin was a thought criminal who fostered terrorists from the perspective of the Edo Shogunate, but this is a distortion of history. When distorted information is transmitted, lies are engraved as truth in people's subconscious. In Japan, we do not have proper historical education, so lies tend to be easily replaced as facts, and this is very frightening.

Ueda: What are your thoughts on South Korea's statement about Hashima Island, such as "Gunkanjima was a hell island," Ms. Kato?

Kato: I think the only way to dispel the distortion of history is to fight. As agricultural people, the Japanese have a tendency not to appreciate conflict or fighting. However, I think one ought to fight when it is necessary. In the war between Russia and Ukraine, propaganda is being carried out by Russia, but Ukraine is not just waiting for the misinformation to be swept away. They immediately take action and fight.

Ueda: Waiting for the day the distorted history will be forgotten is not going to happen. Leaving it alone is tantamount to admitting: 'I'm fine with that'.

Kato: But there is an element of relief regarding Hagi's history. After all, a samurai spirit flows among the people of Hagi.

Ueda: In any case, distorted history cannot be left as it is. It is important for human beings to live with a belief in the innate goodness of mankind, but when it comes to the nation-state, I think there are situations where it cannot be said that it is the correct way to base the decision-making process on just the faith of innate goodness of human nature.

Kato: The question is what constitutes a good character, and as long as it is an absolute fact that Teacher Shoin's aspirations and what he achieved turned the course of Japanese history around, it is a story that can be asserted with dignity. There is no need to be timid. I believe this is a matter in which we can clearly counter that it is simply outrageous that Teacher Shoin's achievements should be erased from textbooks.

It seems to me that a significant issue for the future is to tackle the problem of school education in history. I would very much like you to send tremors from Hagi. I will do my utmost to support you and ask for your continued support. ----- End.


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