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
Mr. Kenji Amioka

Key people who became turning points in the promotion of the project

Amioka: Not only I, but also other staff, made efforts to organise and decipher the documents, but that is the spirit of loyalty to one’s company, especially since there is a limit to what you can ask from outsiders. For me, I think the fact that Renho-san, then Minister of State for Special Missions for Administrative Reform, visited the Yawata Steel Works and inspected the subject facilities. That was a turning point in that it spread the word to everyone that the government was serious about the project.

Kato: That's right. After that, Secretary General Izumi decided to visit the Nippon Steel Corporation headquarters and was accompanied by Mayor Kitahashi of Kitakyushu City and Mayor Takenori Noda of Kamaishi City.

Amioka: I also thought that it would be best if all three of them could come together, but their schedules matched perfectly. I don't think that was a coincidence.

Kato: Mayor Noda also played a significant role and is a crucial figure in why we were able to get on the rails of regulatory reform. At the time, the LDP government was moving to the DPJ government, and it was Mayor Noda who introduced me to Mr Tatsuo Hirano three days after he was appointed Deputy Minister of the Cabinet Office. Mr Hirano is from Iwate Prefecture, and on top of that, his life's work is iron. He was well-versed in the history of iron and had an extraordinary love for iron, so he worked extremely hard to make the Heritage of the Industrial Revolution a success. It was also Mr Hirano who spoke to Hiroto Izumi. After the Great East Japan Earthquake, and after Mr Hirano became Minister for Reconstruction and Minister of State for Special Missions, I was able to work together with Mr Izumi to promote the project.

Amioka: Ms Kato was able to move the project forward in a non-partisan manner, but I think everyone involved in the World Heritage Registration of Industrial Heritage project was motivated by a personal desire to do what they could for Japan. Whether it was Mr Izumi, Mayor Kitahashi or Mayor Noda, I feel that they gathered at the Tokyo Head Office that day simply with a genuine desire.

Kato: When Mr Amioka guided Minister Renho to visit Yawata, I felt the local people's enthusiastic anticipation building up as if to say, “Oh, history is about to move,” and I knew then that the dream of registering the area as a World Heritage Site would come true. It is very important that the local people are aware that they are carrying the history of more than a century on their shoulders.

Amioka: You are absolutely right. I have learnt that people's dignity becomes their passion and drives things forward.

Kato: Needless to say, I am grateful for the support of many people who helped me realise my aspirations. In particular, I would like to thank Mr Amioka for his support....... I would also like to thank Mr Takashi Imai, Chairman of the Nippon Kogyo Club, who serves as Honorary President of the National Congress of Industrial Heritage, and Mr Amioka for connecting us with JAPIC. He opened various doors for us. It may look as if I opened the doors, but in fact, it is not so. It is thanks to everyone who put the groundwork in place. I have learnt a lot as a human being from your broad-mindedness and kindness.

Amioka: I personally enjoyed it too. It is exciting to work towards a big goal, and it is not often that I get to go to the chairman or CEO and talk to them directly. In any case, I think it was an unforgettable experience.

The Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution Project changed the history of Japan.

Kato: I tend to only remember the many times I faced obstacles and felt discouraged and hopeless, but there were also times when I leaned forward and thought it was interesting. I remember when I started the registration campaign—before I started writing the nomination form—everyone was initially drawn to the theory of iron manufacture at the end of the Edo period. Many scholars said, "They must have been making iron in reverberatory furnaces", and that was also written in the school textbooks. People from the Ministry of Culture also learnt from textbooks, so they were caught up in the 'idealism' of the industrial heritage story itself. In the process, the Ministry of Education started saying that the Meiji period should be dropped. I found it quite delightful the moment when Mr Amioka and the Nippon Steel Alumni broke through that. After scientific analysis, they proved that the Japanese industrial history written in textbooks was actually wrong and successfully overturned the theory of steelmaking at the end of the Edo period. I felt the pride of a steelmaker from them.

Amioka: I didn't understand even half of it (laughs). I had my hands full as a coordinator.

Kato: Everyone was working in an aggressive manner.

Amioka They must have regretted it for a long time. Once something is written in a textbook, it often becomes an established fact, one after another.

Kato: The same is true of Ryotaro Shiba's books. However, he proved that it was scientifically different from the ground up. At the same time, the history of iron, which had been built up mainly by academics in the local authorities, was shattered, and the backlash came directly to me. I thought this was going to be quite a struggle, but when the time came to write the recommendation, it was settled already, so I did it with an "eiya!" (Japanese phrase for showing enthusiasm). No one thinks that what is written in textbooks is wrong, so it was natural that there would be friction.

Amioka: The same is true for the fact that everyone was convinced that Yawata was the birthplace of iron.

Kato: There were theories that the reverberatory furnaces in Saga might have led directly to Yawata, which is unthinkable nowadays. In the beginning, we did not know enough about it either, so we thought, “Really?” (laughs).

Amioka: Even though it was written in textbooks that there was an urgent need to make cannons in Japan at the end of the Edo period, there was a lack of perspective on the fact that iron manufacturing using iron sand was not necessarily suited to industrial manufacturing until then. But that is a very important point, isn't it? I heard that the Hashino Iron Mine in Iwate was the focus of attention when ironmaking technology was required to manufacture products for modernisation.

Kato That's right. Furthermore, in Kamaishi, the Tatara method, where iron was extracted by breaking the blast furnace, was successfully converted to the blast furnace method, where pig iron could be made continuously, enabling mass production of high-quality iron suitable for manufacturing, and Japan took the first step towards modernisation. Naturally, the story would not add up if something important is left out, which is why the story would be unnatural, such as the development of the Armstrong cannon in Saga. But that is merely a legend or wishful thinking. There was an ongoing beautification of craftsmanship in the Edo period, with the Ministry of Education and the Agency for Cultural Affairs under the delusion that everything had been completed in Edo.

Amioka: By including Kamaishi in the history of the city, a historical connection has been made, and the differences between iron and steel, reverberatory furnaces and blast furnaces have also become more apparent. In other words, the Heritage of Industrial Revolution project changed history.

Kato: The reason why Japan became an industrial country is because of its technological capability to mass-produce steel in a country where resources are scarce. More specifically, it was the result of the Japanese mentality of intelligence, diligence, ambition, and passion.

Amioka: Furthermore, I often say that the Industrial Revolution in Japan is an ongoing process. My theory is that it is not a 'world cultural heritage' but a 'world evolutionary heritage'. Even today, Yawata is the world's most advanced iron ore production site, where robots and other equipment are being built. The Higashida area has entered the Super City concept. It is beginning to move as a future creative city, where cutting-edge demonstration projects in areas such as energy and IT are being developed.

Kato: That is wonderful.

Amioka: Of course, we want to fulfil our role as a world heritage site, but what we place great importance on is attracting the younger generation. We want them to feel the makers' spirit that lives on in Yawata and pass on the genes of the revolution to the next generation. We want the World Heritage Site to be a valuable opportunity for everyone who bears the weight of the future. Today, I look back on the steps we have taken to actualise a World Heritage Site and think that a lot has happened, but what is important is what is to come. I look forward to your continued support.


Photo (All) : Nippon Steel Corporation Kyushu Works/ Yawata Area

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