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2024/02/28Comment by Dr Hsiao-Wei Lin, Associate Professor, Chung Yuan Christrian University

Comment by Dr Hsiao-Wei Lin, Associate Professor, Chung Yuan Christrian University

People’s Story is the Essence of Cultural Heritage- Visit to the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution in Hagi, Nagasaki and Tokyo (IHIC) by Dr Hsiao-Wei Lin 


     It was a wonderful experience to return to Hagi, Nagasaki and Tokyo in August 2023 to visit the sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining after my first visit in 2014. First of all, I would like to thank the Industrial Heritage Information Centre for the invitation and the excellent arrangements. I was able to see the progress of these sites, both in terms of materials and contents. I see that IHIC plays an important role in cooperation and networking with local governments, communities and professionals.

     In Hagi, the most impressive experiences were not only the Hagi Reverberatory Furnace, but also the important story on young Torajiro Yoshida (later Shoin Yoshida) who tried to stow away for the Western knowledge and was arrested by the Edo Shogunate and later taught Western military technology and politics in the Shokasonjuku Academy. The evidence is displayed vividly in the Hagi Museum. Then I had a chance to walking through the Castle Town with a guide and it helped me to illustrate the role of Hagi and get the reason why Hagi is the birth place of Meiji Industrial Revolution.    

   In Nagasaki, I first visited Hashima Island and then to Gunkanjima Digital Museum. It offers a guided tour with a former miner and a young trained professional guide. I see their guide contents which are based on solid research projects and miners’ life. Visiting Hashima Island was always fascinating too.

   As for the Industrial Heritage Information Centre, it is a comprehensive information hub. It works closely with other associated visitor centres in 11 cities in 8 prefectures. The centre supports the interpretation strategy (submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre in November 2017). It plays an important role in connecting different disciplinary professionals in industrial heritage conservation, and is a gateway to discover the Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution.  

   In conclusion, this visit shows that people's history is the essence of cultural heritage. This people's perspective is crucial to the understanding of heritage interpretation with the support of museums and multimedia information technology could strengthen the link between the 23 sites and people's memory in modern days.

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