The World Heritage Sites in Japan
Part 1: Tuesday, January 28th – Saturday, February 22nd
Part 2: Tuesday, February 25th – Saturday, March 22nd
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Irreplaceable monuments, structures, and nature in the world are creations and legacies of human history. In order to preserve and pass on our heritage to future generations, an international treaty called the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Culture and Natural Heritage was adopted by the general assembly of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1972.
Japan and 189 other countries have signed the treaty as of 2013. The countries which ratified the treaty are obligated to protect and preserve the World Heritage Sites in their homelands with international cooperation.
As of January 2014, 981 properties (759 cultural, 193 natural, and 29 mixed) are listed.
Currently, there are 17 properties registered as World Heritage Sites in Japan. Recently, UNESCO registered “Washoku” (Japanese cuisine) as Japan’s 22nd Intangible Cultural Heritage in order to preserve fragile intangible cultural heritage such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, and festival events.
The wooden architecture of Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, sacred and holy places for Japanese people, still grandly stands over centuries. The hilly and mountainous geography and Japan’s four distinct seasons create its sublime nature. The harsh environment and human habitation worked in harmony over a long period of time and formed the distinctive cultural landscape. Within these characteristics of the World Heritage in Japan, we are able to see the adaptability of the Japanese people.
From ancient times, Japanese have believed nature and all objects contain “神-kami” (spirits). We hope you will be able to feel the harmony and reverent faith inherent within these carefully preserved sites captured in over 60 beautiful photographs by Kazuyoshi Miyoshi.
Photo Credit: Kazuyoshi Miyoshi/PPS
Kazuyoshi Miyoshi was born in 1958 in Tokushima Prefecture, Japan.
Graduated from Tokai University in 1981 (School of Letters, Department of Mass Communications). In that year, Miyoshi founded Rakuen Co., Ltd.
In 1985, at the age of twenty seven, Miyoshi received the Kimura Ibei Award for his photography book Rakuen (Paradise). Miyoshi was the youngest photographer ever to receive the award at that time.
Beginning with a visit to Okinawa at the age of thirteen, Miyoshi traveled extensively to photograph regions all over the world, including the Maldives, Tahiti, Africa, India, and in recent years, the Himalayas and Antarctic Pole. He applies the theme "Rakuen," or paradise, to his collection of photographs from his travels. His works are included in the permanent collection of the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in the USA.
Miyoshi's book of photographs, The World Heritage in Japan, was published in 1998. Since 1999, The Japan Foundation has purchased 67 photos (as of August 2012) from World Heritage Sites in Japan in order to promote Japanese culture. New photographs are added to the collection each time a property is newly listened among the World Heritage Sites in Japan. The World Heritage Sites in Japan Photography Exhibition has been held in many locations throughout the world.
Since 2007, he has been photographing images of national treasure Buddha statues in Kyoto and Nara. Also from 2008, he has been photographing Kyoto-Gosho Imperial Palace and Katsura-rikyu Detached Palace.