UNESCO to list Japan architectural techniques as intangible heritage


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There are literally only two groups of people in the world who are even aware that there is a list of UN World Heritage sites:

The people who work in the UN World Heritage office

26 ( +29 / -3 )

2023: Japan's unique obsession with UNESCO Heritage lists to be nominated for classification as "special".

26 ( +28 / -2 )

Just designate the whole country as a world heritage site and save time

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• unable to be touched; not having physical presence

• difficult or impossible to define or understand; vague and abstract

• (of an asset or benefit) not constituting or represented by a physical object and of a value not precisely measurable

I'm a bit vague on the benefit of the nebulous, abstract, ethereal, indefinable, indescribable, immateriality of the concept of: Intangible Cultural Heritage. anyone help me out?

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A UNESCO advisory panel has recommended that traditional Japanese civil engineering used in concreting coastlines and waterways be registered on the Intangible Cultural Heritage list, the Japanese government said Tuesday.

Javier Pastel-y-Comerlo, UNESCO's director of revenue, praised Japan's unique affinity with nature, with particular regard to its preservation of Byzantine sociopolitical structures through the juxtaposition of Western opus caementicium and revered Wairo practices.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Japan's traditional techniques were the problem in the face of typhoons and earthquakes throughout its history. For example, heavy tiled roofs quickly collapsed the old flimsy wooden houses on Awaji Island during the Kobe quake, and then easily caught fire, raising the death toll sharply.

Modern safer buildings in Japan today employ the Western approach - hard yet resilient composite materials, light roofs and sturdy foundations.

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@jiji Xx

I'll give it a shot.

Technique is the knowledge of how to do something a certain way, right? Knowledge is intangible (unable to be touched; not having a physical presence).

If techniques that are considered unique to a group of people are passed down over generations, are they not a part of that people's identity or heritage? Some people travel here just to see the beautiful old buildings, which are the result of those techniques.

I'm not sure as to what exactly the benefit is, but probably some kind of tourism scheme I would imagine. Also it might reinforce the idea that the Japanese are unique and special, and that gaikoku recognizes how unique and special Japanese people are.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Modern safer buildings in Japan today employ the Western approach - hard yet resilient composite materials, light roofs and sturdy foundations.

Many major modern concrete buildings like Sogo, in Sannomiya, also collapsed on the second floor. If the store had been open at the time, I hate to think about the outcome.

-13 ( +2 / -15 )

There are huge variations in the proximity of faults and the quality of the subsoil (here, "jiban") across Japan. Certain buildings, say Horyuji, surviving in certain locations doesn't really prove very much and is not a green light to build the same way in another site, where buildings may get far more severely tested far more often.

Some of these wood-joining techniques are amazing and may actually survive thanks to CNC type methods. The expert labour required to do them by hand is very expensive.

If registered, the skills will be Japan's 22nd listing

This is getting to be like the mountains, where there is a "100 famous" ones list, an "another 100 famous" ones list, a "100 famous for wildflowers" list, ....

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Japanese officials next hope to include "pachinko" on the Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

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In Kobe the Hanshin Expressway collapsed.

The modern building standards are improved after the Kobe quake and again after the Tohoku one. Modern apartment buildings require pile and earthquake adsorbing pillar with rubber. These all add to the costs of construction.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

I look at the architecture here in Tokyo and my heart is wounded. Everything is so ugly, and there is no greenery in sight (apart from the odd ornamental shrub as part of some greenwash).

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One of my favourite architects is Tadao Ando with his use of plain concrete.

-14 ( +1 / -15 )

Do the ones who voted down Tadao Ando even know his works and history?

-13 ( +1 / -14 )

Just put JAPAN on the list and spare everyone this annual "ohhhh, look what we achieved" nonsense.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

I stayed in Kyoto when I first came. It was an amazing place Old style Japanese Machiya style houses with potted flowers outside on the street.

recent visits I noticed only concrete, ugly tile apartments and rude obnoxious people. ¥900p/h car parking.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

This insecurity Japan displays by continually applying for UNESCO listings and international recognition of pretty much anything Japanese is ridiculous...never came across a country with bigger complex and in constant need of reassurance how " great and unique " it's culture is.

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I've never heard of this list.........until I moved to Japan.

They should really just call it the UNESCO in conjunction with Japan, list of Japanese Heritage Sites and others around the world.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

It's depressing to see the ignorance, cynicism and total absence of sympathy for or comprehension of Intangible World Heritage values (or apparently any other cultural values) so proudly displayed by so many posters on this issue. Of course it's worthwhile recognizing and preserving unique architectural techniques, artforms such as Noh and Kabuki, among the many other attributes of Japan, and to have that done at an international level. As it is for any other country.

When it comes to World Heritage sites, Japan is 12th on the list with 24, way behind China or Italy, which have more than double that number. In fact Japan is level with the USA on that score. I know which country I'd rather visit, and it isn't the one trying to get rid of an orange president.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

Do the ones who voted down Tadao Ando even know his works and history?

Yes, we do know his work. Just yesterday in the news, Manchester decided to finally tear down one of his works, which had been blighting the city centre there for years. The news to demolish it was greeted with relief across the city.

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Yes the Manchester wall isn't interesting but that does not mean his other architects don't have merit. The Hyogo Prefecture Art Museum is one with his great use of natural light to create light and shadows reducing the need for overhead electric lights. The connection with the sea.

Another fine example is in Awaji, Awaji Yumebutai with its botanical gardens and again a connection with the sea.

There are several od his buildings in Kobe including an art gallery. I held an exhibition there and again his use of natural light instead of electric light enhanced the show.

"“Anybody who knows anything about modern architecture knows Tadao Ando is a world-class architect. Any other city in the world would give their right arm for a piece of Ando architecture.”

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

Next, can we just nominate Japanese air to be on the Intangible Cultural Heritage list?

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I'm against UNESCO heritage or Michelin for restaurants. There are so many rules or kind of decrees the venue has to spend much more than necessary and to compensate it will take long time, by years or decades. UNESCO has the European grounded standard that it must changed to world standard which means Asian architectural craftsmanship is much remote than European ones. UNESCO to change the traditional or cultural structure I don't agree.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )


In Kobe the Hanshin Expressway collapsed.

It was later found out that some pillars on the hanshin express way were missing the right number if irin rods, if I am not mistaken it was 8 rods short per pillar.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Those people are dangerously full of themselves and narcissistic. Yeah, you might have some good points and certain things to offer, but if your going to be selfish, hate anything or anyone different from the group or having a different spin on things, and keep your people (especially your women) for yourselves (or for AV cutlure/kyabakura as opposed to letting them mix with a foreigner (and God forbid contribute to another country), especially when your population is on the decline, you just waste and stall time. As Obama said, revolving door policies and shuffling, but wont change a damn thing on what needs to be changed for the better. 70 yrs later and sveral bombs dropped, still the same.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

UNESCO just make all of Japan a world heritage site and be done with it. After all Japan is so unique.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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