How to Conserve Japanese Cultural Landscapes: The Registration System for Cultural Landscapes
Cultural landscapes in Japan have drastically deteriorated since the 1960s owing to the fertilizer/energy revolution, active expansion of conifer plantation areas, and the abandonment of agricultural lands. To counteract this emergent problem, the Agency of Cultural Affairs (ACA) launched a project to collect information and data of representative cultural landscapes throughout Japan. In 2000, the ACA urgently established a provisional “Committee on Cultural Landscapes,” and invited specialists from all walks of life. This committee held five meetings from 2000 to 2003, and worked out the definition and classification categories, in tandem with ranking them on three levels. As a result, they selected the representative cultural landscape sites which were worth protecting. In 2004, the Landscape Act was enacted for the first time in Japan. Under the umbrella of the Landscape Act, the ACA revised the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties, and incorporated a new section on “Cultural Landscape.” At the same time, the number of cultural landscape classifications was reduced. The ACA made a decision to conserve the “important” cultural landscapes by stipulating them in the Landscape Act. As of July 2009, 11 important cultural landscape sites have been designated, all of which were nominated by the local governments. In this chapter, the process of official/national registration of a cultural landscape is detailed, and all the designated important cultural landscape sites are introduced.
KeywordsLocal Government Cultural Property World Heritage Cultural Landscape Traditional Industry
I would like to express my gratitude to the staff and related committee members in the Agency for Cultural Affairs for allowing me to refer to their official reports. I am also grateful to the members of the Nationwide Cultural Landscape Liaison Association for their permission to use the photographs. Further, I must thank the officials of the Kochi Prefecture Government for their assistance in the research of the Shimanto River watershed. The Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties organized a new training session for the parties concerned, and I delivered a lecture and participated in the discussion. This was a great opportunity for me to summarize and speak about Japanese cultural landscapes. This chapter was financed by Kensetsukankyo-kenkyujo Co. Ltd., Tokyo, and the GELs Programme of IDEC, Hiroshima University.
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