Okinoshima Photo: Wikipedia
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8 Japanese sites added to UNESCO heritage list

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Okinoshima upholds ancient rules restricting entry, including a total ban on women visitors.

Is this even legal? Did UNESCO agree?

12 ( +18 / -6 )

Just register the whole country and be done with it.

24 ( +29 / -5 )

decided at a meeting in Krakow, southern Poland, to list the island of Okinoshima and the nearby reefs plus four other sites in Fukuoka Prefecture that a UNESCO preliminary review panel had recommended Japan should drop.

Membership fee money talks I guess .

Think we might nominate our local rice field next, been around for a few hundred years so it will have as good a chance of being listed as the rest of them.

I reckon.

At this rate there will be a UNESCO site in each municipality before long. Better make it a goal by the 2020 Olympics, those gaijin tourists will be mightily impressed..... kaching.....

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Disgusting that this was allowed to be added to the UNESCO list.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

How about getting the Senkaku Islands on the list?

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Disgusting that this was allowed to be added to the UNESCO list.

why?

2 ( +9 / -7 )

"... but Tokyo persisted with its plan."

This isn't the first time. The Japanese seem obsessed with getting its sites - some quite mundane - registered as world heritage, making energetic pitches to unimpressed UNESCO officials.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

How about getting the Senkaku Islands on the list?

Good idea, it will save China having to do it in a decade's time

3 ( +7 / -4 )

I guess some balance was needed after the women only showings for Wonderwoman. You don't want to go upsetting the Amazons ;-)

5 ( +5 / -0 )

There are so many of these "Heritage Sites" all over the world it has lost all meaning. Much like the rest of the UN.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

How does this UNESCO heritage system even works? How come they keep adding new places every year. Where were all these places a year ago? Really confused by the whole process.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

There's a fine line between perseverance and obsession and I think Japan's now officially Unesco's n1 stalker.

They remind me of ppl who always do their utmost to win (at all costs) meaningless contests/comps at school, work, the 'employee of the month' bs etc then boast about it.

I love Japan and think it's an amazingly beautiful country WITH or WITHOUT thousands of WH listed sites.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

There are so many of these "Heritage Sites" all over the world it has lost all meaning.

And some are destroyed, whilst others are only now being appreciated by the wider world. Isn't it wonderful that there are "new" places of beauty and heritage for people to find out about?

Much like the rest of the UN.

Sorry; gone right over my head, that.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Disgusting that this was allowed to be added to the UNESCO list.

why?

> Okinoshima, midway between Japan's southwestern main island of Kyushu and the Korean Peninsula, upholds ancient rules restricting entry, including a total ban on women visitors.

There's your answer

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Disgusting that this was allowed to be added to the UNESCO list.

I respect your opinion but it's a good choice to recognize it as a WH site. It looks like an amazing place regardless of old antiquated customs.

How about getting the Senkaku Islands on the list?

Good idea, it will save China having to do it in a decade's time

Why would China want to get Japanese Territory on a UNESCO WH list?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

UNESCO another giant UN scam that costs a fortune and delivers not much.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

UNESCO another giant UN scam that costs a fortune and delivers not much.

It's apparently funded by Japanese tax-payer money. It delivers plenty for Japanese politicians, bureaucrats, businesspeople and the tourist industry.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

In May, the UNESCO preliminary review panel recommended against adding the four sites, saying they do not have sufficient value for the world, but Tokyo persisted with its plan.

In other words, UNESCO was bought out again...

It's interesting that the Japanese do not honor their sites from the Jomon period with such fervor. There are sites where stone tool older than 100,000 years have been found.

I think the reason they do not do so, is because Japanese would have to admit: a) that they are not from the sun, and b) that they were not the original people of Japan, they migrated via the Korean Peninsula (Japanese are in fact foreign invaders).

But this is usually conveniently ignored when Japanese ancient history is talked about ...

10 ( +12 / -2 )

This UNESCO obsession is a bit of an embarrassment. The way things are going our local conbini will be getting nominated soon. The saddest thing is the way it's front page of the papers and the leading story on the news, when there is so much important stuff going on elsewhere.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

It's interesting that the Japanese do not honor their sites from the Jomon period with such fervor. There are sites where stone tool older than 100,000 years have been found.

I think the reason they do not do so, is because Japanese would have to admit: a) that they are not from the sun, and b) that they were not the original people of Japan, they migrated via the Korean Peninsula (Japanese are in fact foreign invaders).

I doubt that's the reason when most history books throughout the world don't agree with what you wrote.

They don't say they're from the Sun. The tradition is that the imperial family line is related to Amaterasu-ōmikami who is the goddess of the sun and universe.

Currently, most archeologist and historians consider them the first people of Kyushu and most of Honshu. They did not migrate from the Korean peninsula, the migration was prior to the Jomon period and that they were a group of people who continued migrating from Taiwan and the Ryukyu Island chain.

Evidence used:

-Similar linguistics with Ryukyuan languages

-Similar DNA with Ryukyuan and aboriginal Taiwanese.

-Dating of bones found throughout Kyushu and the Ryukyus.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

When are they going to suggest the whole country be listed? It would save a lot of time to just do so, since that's what they're doing piecemeal. As for Okinoshima being registered, it's a shame that UNESCO backed down. No place that will bar women from entering should be promoted globally as a site of rich heritage and a place to visit (if you have male genitalia).

6 ( +8 / -2 )

UNESCO sites should be only be those where all world visitors can go unlike Okinoshima which totally bans women and men too for 11 months of the year. When men arrive, I think in the month of May, they must remove their clothes and wash themselves. No info on transgender, bisexual.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

CrucialSToday 12:34 pm JST

They don't say they're from the Sun. The tradition is that the imperial family line is related to Amaterasu-ōmikami who is the goddess of the sun and universe.

Sorry, you are right. It is claimed that the Emperor's lineage descended from the 'sun goddess'. I don't much care for the mythology and thus have not looked into it.

However, I have very much done my research when it comes to the anthropology, and I'm sorry but you misrepresent the truth of it here in that - you miss out the whole period of Yayoi entering Japan, and subsequently out-breeding/inter-breeding of the native Jomon ('hairy barbarians'):

CrucialSToday

Currently, most archeologist and historians consider them the first people of Kyushu and most of Honshu. They did not migrate from the Korean peninsula, the migration was prior to the Jomon period and that they were a group of people who continued migrating from Taiwan and the Ryukyu Island chain.

Japan was till connected to the mainland up until some 14-30k years before present. It was during this time (or even before as stone tool over 100,000 years old have been found) that the Jomon people populated Japan. At about 2 - 2.5k before present, the Yayoi came across via (not from) the Korean Peninsula and elsewhere.

*The upper Paleolithic populations, i.e. Jomon, reached Japan 30,000 years ago from somewhere in Asia when the present Japanese Islands were connected to the continent8. The separation of Japanese archipelago from the continent led to a long period (∼13,000 – 2,300 years B.P) of isolation and independent evolution of Jomon9. The patterns of intraregional craniofacial diversity in Japan suggest little effect on the genetic structure of the Jomon from long-term gene flow stemming from an outside source during the isolation10. The isolation was ended by large-scale influxes of immigrants, known as Yayoi, carrying rice farming technology and metal tools via the Korean Peninsula. The immigration began around 2,300 years B.P. and continued for the subsequent 1,000 years5. Based on linguistic studies, it is suggested that the immigrants were likely from Northern China, but not a branch of proto-Korean11.*

https://www.nature.com/articles/srep00355

7 ( +7 / -0 )

In May, the UNESCO preliminary review panel recommended against adding the four sites, saying they do not have sufficient value for the world, but Tokyo persisted with its plan.

More like Tokyo kept giving money until UNESCO acquiesced to Tokyo's wishes.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

How many WH sites does Japan need? Might as well just declare Japan as one itself. Lol.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

More self congratulatory BS

9 ( +9 / -0 )

the world heritage thing has now become a farce.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

How many WH sites does Japan need?

I don't know, but there are ten or so countries with more WH sites than Japan. China and Italy top the list.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Nobel prizes dont have much credibility anymore. Ditto the UNESCO world heritage sites.

The funny thing is these once mighty organizations are their own undoing.

Its going back a while now, but being labelled "world heritage site" used to have significant meaning and prestige. Now its a bordello of "heritage". All about the money. Who cares?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I'm very happy to learn that the Lake District in the UK has been recognised as a World Heritage Site by Unesco. The home of Peter the Rabbit and a place I spent much of my youth and teenage years since it was only a one hour drive from our family home. Days, weeks spent Fell walking, rock climbing and sailing on Lake Windermere. An outstanding location and deserving he recognition. Worth a visit and very popular with Japanese tourists looking for Peter.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

UNESCO process has no meaning and basically a money collecting scheme .

For Japan, the location of the island is important and that is why they need a public confirmation of it, in addition the bribe money probably is used to pay for additional favors.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Many tourists choose their next travel destination based on UNESCO heritage list, especially Japanese tourists, there are many books and magazines in the bookshops with the photos and descriptions of these locations. So it is quite a big deal and immediate business profit for any country to include as many of its historical places as possible. I wish my country (Ukraine) had more cultural and natural places included into this list, currently we have only 6+1, but there are much more.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Zichi. Never met so many Japanese in my life as when I was around Windermere. I guess the point is that the world heritage site stuff is about tourists and rabbits.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Skellig Michael. Now there's a site worth a look. Women allowed, too. Just be careful on the steps to the ancient monastery remains.

The shrine was used to conduct prayer rituals for Japan's exchanges with other Asian regions during the fourth to ninth centuries.

There you go; a gathering of (some) nations for peaceful purposes, all those years ago...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I never been to Skellig Michael, but I do think County Kerry is my favorite location in Ireland which I've visited numerous times.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@zichi; Kerry and West Cork would do it for me. Stunning landscapes, great people, great food and craic.

If you ever get a chance; do try Skellig Michael. Was lucky that day and saw several dolphins on the way over. The actual island (one of two Skelligs) is so otherworldly. It's getting much more popular because of the Star Wars exposure; which is a good thing for local people and business but maybe not so much for the islands ecology?

That's the downside to the attention that Okinoshima (and other similar places) will garner. Increased tourism could have a negative effect on the environment. Tough balancing act!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm very happy to learn that the Lake District in the UK has been recognised as a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

I'm not sure about this one, Zichi. It's a beautiful place. (My parents came from that area, and I was brought up on Kendal Mint Cake, The Westmoreland Gazette, and trips to Windermere.) But, on a global scale, what unique or rare natural feature does it have? I think such sites should have something on that order. The Grand Canyon and the Giant's Causeway make sense. I'm not so sure that lakes and mountains are enough.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I'm not so sure that lakes and mountains are enough.

The Lake District has that and more; prehistoric stone circles, ancient mines, volcanic outcrops, plus of course stunning natural scenery. I believe no place is more worthy of recognition (not that it didn't already have it). Oh, and women are more than welcome there.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Why don't they save time and applications, and just nominate the whole country as a UNESCO site? After all, they are the ones paying for the organisation!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So now we have a "World" heritage site that less than half the world population can visit. Great use of UN money.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I love the idea of the "what happens on the Island, stays on the Island" rule, the fisherman have.

No women, no telling any women what happens on the island. A few fishermen found a place to have a few blissful beers without being nagged by their wives or explain what they've been up to and next thing you know, bingo, it's a UNESCO monument.

How can we get our local bar listed too?

"Sorry, love, can't tell you where I've been ... It'll upset the kami-sama."

What a great, all purpose excuse.

I suppose it's all a Chess game to stop the islands being claimed by the Chinese.

AgentX

I think the reason they do not do so, is because Japanese would have to admit: a) that they are not from the sun

Wow. Thank you for wonderful evidence of the level of insight inspiring debate on this website.

Please fund me to do a research study finding out how many Japanese really believe they are from the Sun. $100,000 should do.

Beware the 'Out of Sundaland' theory, currently gaining strength. It says the Chinese came from out of Taiwan, not the other way around.

"A 2009 genetic study published by the 2009 Human Genome Organization Pan-Asian SNP Consortium found that Asia was originally settled by humans via a single southern route. The migration came from Africa via India, into Southeast Asia and what are now islands in the Pacific, and then later up to the eastern and northern Asian mainland."

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

And, folks, there's nothing to see on the island. It's just the same as 1,000s of other small islands in the archipelago with nothing to do.

Expect some LGBTQI activist to flood the island demanding equal rights to see and do nothing.

Apart from a potential Chinese threat, and the fact that limiting human spread as much as possible anywhere is a good thing, I don't really get this listing. I can think of loads of other more deserving places within Japan.

They say no one is allowed to take anything away from the island. Not even a twig.

What are they doing with all the plastic waste and polystyrene that is bound to wasting up on their shores? Are the kami-sama attached that too?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Iwami Ginzan is probably the most overrated site in Japan. Even my friend from Shimane thinks it is no big deal. Most of the other sites in Japan are fairly good, but there are 4 that I haven't been to.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Expect some LGBTQI activist to flood the island demanding equal rights to see and do nothing.

Yeah; imagine. Equal rights.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Toasted Heretic

Yeah; imagine. Equal rights.

Do you have "equal rights" to stomp about and do what you like in a Carmelite Nunnery or innumerable convents all around the world?

Or are the nuns just unfairly discriminating against you?

Is Mount Athos also not a UNESCO World Heritage Centre?

You are exhibiting nothing more than irrational prejudices in this matter.

Japan has never had the same degree of discriminatory prejudices against homosexuality and transgender issue as Christian nations, as the very same habitual critics of Japan will always pounce upon when they deride, for example, the tolerance of homosexuality with samurai or Buddhist cultures.

If that's what you are looking for, you'll find clubs, bars, bathhouses and even highly specific prostitutes in most cities.

Does it need to be rubbed in the face of a holy island?

That does not appear to be necessary for the sake of "equality".

To be honest, I don't know if there is a Japanese Fire Island, as in the USA. I don't swing that way even if you do. But I know there are specific beaches and cruising locations so on.

Where are you and I'll try and find you the nearest location?

There are numerous website catering for such interests.

But I'd the two interests are incompatible, and so should remain separated.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Crusing and Carmelites? Looks like the idea of equal rights upsets you.

Where are you and I'll try and find you the nearest location?

I'm on Okinoshima, hunting for bears.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Toasted Heretic

I'm on Okinoshima, hunting for bears.

Well, I hope you're not expecting to find any female ones?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Okinoshima sounds like an interesting place.

Over 8.000 historical artifacts dating back over a millennia.

Only 200 visitors max for festivals per year, only Shinto Priests allowed.

All who have to wash themselved in the ocean(naked) before they can enter the Island.

Good luck with those bears barehanded, prayer might work.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Toasted Heretic

I'm on Okinoshima, hunting for bears.

Bare bears?

"Bears" being the current nickname for big, fat, hairy gay guys.

I'd doubt they make the 200 long guest list.

This "anti-tourist ... anti-archeology" position is not unique in Japan. Have a look for some of the Kofun keyhole shaped lakes and burial mounds in, for example, Sakai, Osaka.

They too are left untouched out of respect for whoever and whatever is buried underneath them.

A bit of a shame from an archeological point of view, but typical of the respect for others that underpins Japanese society.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It here;

Nintoku-tenno-ryo Kofun

http://www.city.sakai.lg.jp/english/visitors/topics/world_heritage_site/notable_tombs/nintoku-ryo.html

The tomb of Emperor Nintoku. One of the three largest tombs in the world, originally surrounded by minor tombs, built in the mid-5th century and basically unknown outside of Japan.

Of course, the Koreans claim they invented Kofun.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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