Abe criticized for calling elevator installation at Osaka Castle 'mistake'


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Was the 16th century barrier free? Are we going to try and rewrite history to make it so?

I never ask people to accommodate my special needs at the expense of others, and yes I have some even as an able bodied person. If I were in a wheel chair and wanted to get to the top of some old or faithfully rebuilt castle, I would hire someone to carry me up.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am a castle otaku. Been to around 60+. I have hit 30 of the official "Japan top 100". Osaka castle ranks as one of the worst. The outside looks great. Take a picture and leave. I agree the inside is terrible and the crowds make it worse.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Of course it would suck for those 5 people with wheelchairs that visit every year but actually he is not wrong ... if you want an elevator build something new but don't put it into an "old" Castle where it doesn't belong.

People want to see the Old building and not some hightech building with every possible extra you could think of :/

2 ( +4 / -2 )

A typical attack piece. PM Abe had a great G-20 and they know it. They can only complain about speech. I saw speech, clearly PM Abe was talking about the location of the lift and not the lift itself. In America, they call this kind of story fake news and so shall I.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Hold on! If you're talking about the location of the lift, the external one on the side of the castle: it's ugly! It literally ruins the look of the castle. Build one in the centre, or cover it up with some kind of old architectural wall. Abe is correct if he means the aesthetics of the lift.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

People sure like to nitpick every word Abe say. His political enemies are sure having fun twisting his words and make it into something more than it originally intended. Like most people, Abe probably doesn’t even remember what he had say as a joke back then. These days no one can say a joke to lighten the mood without having offending someone from somewhere.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This is a public building and by law it has to be accessible to the public. All of the public.

Furthermore, it’s man-made. Offering elevators to the top of Mt Fuji is a different matter, but in this case an elevator is not a mistake.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

But, elevators do not only serve the handicapped. The elderly and young families with proms also need them.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

These days you can create historic looking structures and still add modern technology like elevators. Many tasteful Japanese onsen hotels have elevators, so it isn't impossible to merge modern and old. The mistake with the Osaka Castle was making the interior look like a 1950's office building. The outside is impressive to say the least.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The lifts aren't a mistake, but the design and position of them is awful, an absolute eye sore.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Poor choice of words probably but as a historical building it doesn't follow that it need comply with today's needy building requirements beyond earthquake support. Having been to another castle the wood ladders and extremely steep steps were all a part of it. You can't make everything for everyone and call it historical.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Today, barrier-free is very important concept for people all over the world. So the remark of Mr. Abe is obviously inappropriate. If it was a joke, it's a quite senseless one.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Most of today's posters seem to be on the button re the plasticky nature of the 'castle' and his expat community 'joke' at the expense of Osaka City, and how with the benefit of hindsight he could have been more sensitive to the known elevator issue in rebuilding 'authentic' castles.

Still, maybe a golden opportunity for barrier-free advancement.

My only contribution to the discussion is that although I was hugely disappointed by that central building there, and the strange muddy square in front of it, a second visit years later with a group of history buffs taught me the crucial power struggles and the battles centered there, showed me how much hidden treasure there is to discover in the layout, in the very stones of the complex walls etc.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Just as Abe does not speak for Japan, no disabled person speaks for all disabled people. It is possible to have different opinions on this. I'd imagine a poor disabled person struggling to buy their basic needs, say a wheelchair that insurance does not cover, would care more about that than how castles are reconstructed. Or the Paralympics even.

I'm 50 and when I came to Japan nearly thirty years ago, Osaka Castle was a running joke with the foreign community. Abe's remark strikes me as an attempt at gaijin-oriented humour.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I don't like Abe but he is right. He repeats what I have heard a million times in Osaka. They did a good job to restore the walls around, OK. But the building, the towers of Osaka-jo is in textbooks for architects the world over, in the chapter about what not to do. Well, that was done in other times, and the only concern was to make it look good from far.

"Elderly people cannot climb up the staircase,"

They do the visit by taxi. There is a road all the way till the top of the hill. Going inside the tower has not the least interest, it looks like an empty fire station. And the poor exhibit... yawn. I wonder why they let people in.

A local group representing disabled people submitted around 13,600 signatures to the city earlier this year in an attempt to change the plan and allow elevators.

They mean all the stations, public buildings, schools, shops, hotels, eateries, theaters, stadiums... are accessible now ? If there is only one tower of the castle out of reach, the life of disabled in Japan has really improved.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Nagoya will achieve a barrier-free environment by using new technologies.

I believe they will install a transporter like the ones in Star Trek.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

"Although Osaka Castle was mostly destroyed by fire due to chaos caused by the Meiji Restoration 150 years ago, the tenshukaku (the tallest tower) was faithfully restored about 90 years ago to how it was in the 16th century,"

The big lies they tell !!! Osaka castle is NOT old. It's the way it's because it was meant to impress foreigners. The " 16th" century line is just "a line ".

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Oh, wait! A Japanese leader only concerned with his own ideals? How unusual, NOT! I guess that it’s true that handicapped people in Japan are second class people and do not deserve to be accommodated. The Paralympics are the same. Many athletes are still struggling to find suitable accommodation and transport.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

For once I agree with him, perhaps not for the same reasoning, I was so disapoited when I visited it, office lighting, bizarre use of materials and a "lift" complete with an actual person who pushed the button! (I was feeling so sorry for her what a crap job)

It certainly was not what I had imagined a Samurai Castle to be. But it's Japan so get used to it, a walk on the beach means scrambling climbing concrete tetrapods it's just the way it is.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Lets be clear about this, Osaka Castle is a 20th century reproduction in ferro-concrete of the original structure. The site has historical merit, but the actual building isn't particularly old. Building elevators in it was a logical thing to so as there was nothing left to preserve. The outline on Tenshu on the skyline remains the same which is the important thing.

If, however, someone was preserving/restoring an original structure, or trying to make an exact re-creation of one to preserve traditional skills, I don't see why you would be compelled to retrofit and elevator and mobility devices if it significantly altered the building that people were coming to see.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I sort of agree. Its not just the fact that it has an elevator, its that the elevator is so conspicuous, they have a huge modern elevator shaft that you can see on the outside. It really destroys the appearance of the castle.

I get the need to be accessible to all, but the design should avoid having obviously modern structures slapped on the exterior like that.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

I'm no Abe fan, but I think he was just trying to make a joke. It was a stupid joke and disabled people might be offended, but it was just a joke. Don't get distracted from what's really going on by a joke.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

I somewhat agree with him on this. Osaka Castle is a bit of a joke/perfect example of Japan's over engineering of things. It's MEANT to be an OLD castle, but it's believed that it's made mainly from concrete and features an elevator.

If the castle had an extension that technically wasn't part of the castle, that might work, but then again, we'd have a castle with an obvious extension attached to it.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Well there goes the election. He really blew it this time.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

“[Nagoya] remains reluctant, saying it will achieve a barrier-free environment by using new technologies”

I’m very curious as to what they mean by this. Lifting disabled people up with a drone? Keeping them at the ground level and showing them a video of the view they would have had if there was an elevator? Or???? I’m all for keeping things as authentic as possible and realize in some smaller facilities it would be difficult or impossible to achieve full accessibility. But surely a large project can find a way to tuck an inconspicuous elevator in somewhere. I’m pretty sure they make other concessions to modern times and safety such as by using electric lighting, signs, etc.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

A mistaken mistake remark it seems.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

If Abe didn't have use of his legs, maybe he wouldn't have said that.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

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