Journey to the East by Le Corbusier, Edited by Iv...
BY KUNIHIRO HAYASHI STAFF WRITER
One of Sakubei Yamamoto's paintings depicting the lives of coal miners. (Provided by Tagawa City Coal-Mining Museum)"Hako Nagure," one of Sakubei Yamamoto's UNESCO-registered paintings depicting the lives of coal miners and their community. (Provided by Tagawa City Coal-Mining Museum)"Playing hopscotch," one of Sakubei Yamamoto's UNESCO-registered paintings. (Provided by Tagawa City Coal-Mining Museum)Sakubei Yamamoto
A collection of paintings and diaries recording the lives of coal miners by late artist Sakubei Yamamoto has been accepted by UNESCO's Memory of the World Program, the organization said May 25.
The UNESCO director general endorsed recommendations of an advisory panel to register the Yamamoto collection. Recommendations were made by an international advisory committee that met in Manchester, England, on May 22-25.
This is the first time works by a Japanese have been registered for the Memory of the World Program, also known as the UNESCO World Documentary Heritage.
About 700 works by Yamamoto (1892-1984), mainly maintained by the Tagawa City Coal-Mining Museum in Fukuoka Prefecture, were recommended for the Memory of the World Program by Tagawa in March last year.
Yamamoto was born in what is present-day Iizuka, Fukuoka Prefecture. He worked as a miner and blacksmith in coal mines in the Chikuho district since age 7, following in the footsteps of his father.
He started painting the lives of people who worked the mines when he was about 63, when he started working as a security guard. It is believed he created nearly 2,000 pictures by the time of his death at 92.
A total of 697 works by Yamamoto--585 paintings, six volumes of diaries and 36 memo books and manuscripts kept by the city of Tagawa, and four paintings, 59 diaries, and seven other items, including manuscripts, owned by the Yamamoto family and kept by the Fukuoka Prefectural University--have been applied for UNESCO registration.
UNESCO assessed Yamamoto's paintings from the viewpoint of the individual laborer and coal miner at the Chikuho Coal Field, which supported Japan's industrial revolution. They are particularly meaningful, considering the fact most of the Japanese documents from the late Meiji Era (1868-1912) to the Showa Era (1926-1989) were ones recorded by the government or by companies.
The Memory of the World Program endorsed 45 new documents and documentary collections, including Yamamoto's works, on May 25.
BY SOPHIE KNIGHT STAFF WRITER
Designer Nobuhide Hamada at his clothing shop 'Jingo' in Tokyo's Harajuku district. (Louis Templado)The cover of the English edition of 'Quakebook.' (Photo by James White)
In the weeks following the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake, Japan's national rising sun flag was ubiquitous--not only on the covers of magazines and newspapers, but also posters, buttons, T-shirts and other merchandise sold to raise money for the victims of the tsunami.
But although its simplicity was a boon for some foreign designers, some Japanese were offended by the treatment of their national symbol, variously depicted as an egg yolk, a shattered sphere, a jagged seismographic line and a smiling face.
Nobuhide Hamada, who designs and sells clothing decorated with the Hinomaru emblem at his store in Harajuku, Tokyo, was dismayed to see the flag so freely appropriated.
"I know that many people made these designs out of concern for Japan, and I appreciate that," he said. "But from our perspective, designs like this aren't very comforting."
One of the images Hamada found particularly insensitive was a rising sun split into two by a thick, jagged crack, which was featured on the March 21 cover of Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.
Saying that the image portrayed Japanese people as "divided" in the crisis, the Japanese Consulate in New York filed a formal complaint with the magazine, saying that the image had "discouraged a great number of people."
Bloomberg Businessweek said that as the crack was actually an outline of a crying face, the design was supposed to express sadness rather than cause offense.
Some designers took the Hinomaru's sacredness into account when designing products for the Japanese market.
While the English edition of "Quakebook," a book containing personal accounts of the quake being sold to raise money for the Japanese Red Cross, also features a cracked Hinomaru on its cover, the front of the Japanese language edition is graced by a flower sprouting through a crack in the ground.
Edward Harrison, the graphic designer responsible for selecting the images, defended his choice for the English edition.
"As a designer it's all about documenting, expressing, and communicating," he said, noting that the striking design may encourage more people to buy the book, thereby increasing the amount of money going to the Japanese Red Cross. "I think the design reinforces compassion and encourages the assistance of the viewer," he added.
At the same time, Harrison explained that a more "subtle and positive" image was chosen for the Japanese edition because, "Design is very culture and audience specific, and something might work in America but not in Japan."
Hamada, who also designed T-shirts with the Hinomaru on them after the earthquake, would likely agree.
"I don't think Japanese people like to see the flag changed too much," he said. "On the T-shirt I designed, I just left the flag as it was, because I think doing that cheers people up."
Although the flag has political connotations for some, Hamada emphasized that his designs "use the flag as it's always been, clean of any political associations."
Eiji Oguma, a sociologist who specializes in nationalism and Japanese self-perceptions, thinks that the Japanese flag is actually unique in having little ideological basis.
"Unlike the French flag, for example, where the blue, white and red stand for liberty, equality and fraternity respectively, or the American flag that expresses the union of the 50 states, the Japanese flag doesn't stand for anything," he said.
However, Oguma also noted that some groups use the flag to represent their views. "People have tried to align the flag with completely unrelated political movements in Japan, ranging from remilitarization to sexual equality."
For example, Mitsuhiro Kimura, leader of the Tokyo-based right-wing group Issuikai, said in an interview that the flag represents "the Japanese nation, based on imperial rule."
To some, the Hinomaru has military connotations. People who took pens and wrote supportive words on the flag after the earthquake were probably unaware that writing on the flag, known as "yosegaki," was particularly common during wartime where families and friends would write messages on flags to give to soldiers.
Although writing on the national flag is tantamount to desecration in some countries, Kimura said that the practice is not only acceptable in Japan, but something positive.
Context, it seems, is all important. One Japanese music producer, who asked not to be named, said people were only offended at the use of the Hinomaru because the disaster made them feel more patriotic.
"Any other time, they might not care so much--but because of the earthquake, emotions were running high," he said. "You also see torn Union Jacks or modified American flags on clothing all the time in Tokyo and people don't care too much about that."
But Hamada said that the Japanese flag's simplicity is deceptive, and that using it is more difficult than many foreign designers realize.
"By altering the sun motif, you can communicate a variety of messages," he said. "But if you don't pay sufficient care, you can easily hurt someone by playing around with the flag. For Japanese people, it's a sacred emblem."
(Louis Templado contributed to this article)
９割以上を中国からの輸入に頼る希少金属（レアメタル）の一種「アンチモン」の鉱床を、岡山大や東京大などのグループが鹿児島湾の海底で発見した。埋蔵 量は、国内の年間販売量の１８０年分と推定される。ただし、強い毒性によって採掘の際に海洋汚染が生じる恐れがあるため、実際に採掘するには新たな技術の 開発が必要という。
鉱床が見つかったのは、２００３年に気象庁が「活火山」に指定した若尊（わかみこ）カルデラの一部。桜島の北東約５キロの鹿児島湾内にあり、約２万５千 年前に大噴火した姶良（あいら）カルデラの主要火口という。０７年に約２００度の熱水噴出孔を発見した山中寿朗・岡山大准教授（地球化学）らが、付近の鉱 物を調べていた。
鉱床は、水深約２００メートルの海底に、厚さ５メートルで直径１．５キロの円状に広がっていた。エックス線の調査で平均約６％含まれていることがわか り、全量は約９０万トンになると推定した。昨年の国内販売量は約５千トンで、１８０年分がまかなえる計算になる。中国では含有量約０．５％の岩石から抽出 しているといい、鹿児島湾の鉱床の方が効率よく取り出せるという。
A shelter that houses Chusonji Konjikido in Hiraizumi, Iwate Prefecture, will likely be named a UNESCO World Heritage site. (Erina Ito)Chusonji Konjikido in Hiraizumi, Iwate Prefecture, will likely be named a UNESCO World Heritage site. (Takuya Isayama)Hahajima island in the Ogasawara chain will likely be named a World Heritage site. (Eiji Hori)
Iwate Prefecture's cultural Hiraizumi area and Tokyo's Ogasawara islands have won endorsements to be listed as World Heritage sites, sources from the Environment Ministry said May 6.
The final decision will be made at a session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Paris that gets under way June 19.
The Historic Monuments and Sites of Hiraizumi include buildings, gardens and remains that embody the Buddhist heaven. They include the Chusonji temple built by Fujiwara no Kiyohira, the first in the lineage of the Oshu Fujiwara family, and Motsuji, the remains of a temple built by Fujiwara no Motohira, the second in the lineage.
"Hiraizumi was a center of the Tohoku region's recovery from a period of wars. That historical context has made me think that it could symbolize our recovery from the disastrous earthquake and tsunami," said Iwate Governor Takuya Tasso upon hearing the news of Hiraizumi's endorsement. "The news has encouraged me to proceed with recovery efforts energetically as a matter of historical and international significance."
The Ogasawara group is a chain of about 30 islands that stretch for about 400 kilometers from north to south. The nominated area includes about 6,360 hectares of land, including part of the Chichijima group, part of the Hahajima group and the Mukojima group, as well as about 1,580 hectares of surrounding sea.
Dubbed the "Galapagos of the Orient," the Ogasawara group is home to an abundance of shellfish and plant species that underwent unique evolutionary processes. The World Heritage recommendation calls for measures to protect endemic species against alien species to be continued after the proposed inscription.
Currently, 911 properties are listed as World Heritage Sites: 704 cultural, 180 natural and 27 mixed properties. Fourteen of them are located in Japan, comprising 11 cultural sites, which include the Buddhist monuments in the Horyuji area and Himeji Castle, and three natural sites, which include Yakushima island and the Shiretoko region.
1971年至1993年建成的濱岡核電站五座原子爐不但都比福島第一核電站原子爐新，而且1號和2號爐 已作廢、3號爐正暫停運行作定期安檢。海江田周六在菅直人宣佈後也召開記者會說，內閣要求中部電力公司停止正在運行的4號和5號爐，3號爐完成檢查後也不 恢復運行。他強調目前建設防範事故的防波堤最重要。
Prime Minister Naoto Kan explains his decision on May 6 to ask Chubu Electric Power Co. to shut down all reactors at its Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Shizuoka Prefecture. (Jun Kaneko)Hamaoka nuclear power plant on April 28 (The Asahi Shimbun)
Prime Minister Naoto Kan said May 6 that the government has asked Chubu Electric Power Co. to halt all reactors at its Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Shizuoka Prefecture until the planned breakwater is built and medium- and long-term safety precautions are implemented.
The government's request means that the No. 4 and No. 5 reactors at Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Omaezaki should be shut down immediately. The No. 3 reactor has been offline due to regular inspections, and the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors are being decommissioned.
Kan cited in a news conference a study of the education ministry's panel that put the chances of a magnitude-8.0 or stronger earthquake striking the Tokai region within 30 years at 87 percent.
"I made the decision after considering the immense impact to the entire country if a serious accident occurred at the Hamaoka nuclear plant," Kan said.
Should a serious accident unfold at the Hamaoka nuclear plant, the implications would be far-reaching as the Tokaido Shinkansen Line and the Tomei Expressway--two key transportation arteries in Honshu run within 20 kilometers of the plant.
Asked about the government's response if the utility refuses to comply, Kan said, "We will talk to the company to have them understand our intent fully."
Speaking of the utility's reaction, Banri Kaieda, industry minister, said, "The president (of Chubu Electric) said that he wants to hold his final answer."
The utility's spokesperson said that the government's request would have major implications on the region it services because of the energy conservation measures that may have to be put in place. Chubu Electric services Shizuoka, Aichi, Gifu, Nagano and Mie prefectures.
The utility plans in two to three years to build a breakwater at least 15 meters high, behind the existing dune that is about 10 meters high to protect the reactor building.
The Hamaoka plant sits on an active fault in an area where the epicenter of the expected Tokai quake is located.
There are five reactors at the plant, which is Chubu Electric's only nuclear facility.
The No. 1 and No. 2 reactors, built in the late 1970s, are in the process of being decommissioned.
The No. 3 reactor has been shut down for regular inspections, while the No. 4 and No. 5 reactors are currently in service.
The government's announcement came after Chubu Electric said April 28 that it plans to restart the No. 3 reactor, which has been operated since 1987, in July to ensure a stable power supply in summer.
Kan said that the government will take the utmost measures to prevent disruptions in the power supply in the region.
He acknowledged, however, that a prime minister is not authorized to order the shutdown of nuclear reactors.
中部電と同じ６０ヘルツの周波数の電気を流す関電などからの電力融通も、どれだけ期待できるかは現段階では不透明だ。いまは電力不足の東京電力に中部電 からも融通しているが、中部電幹部は「自分のところの需給バランスが崩れそうなのに、なんで東電に送れるのか」と、東電への供給協力に支障が出るとの見方 を示している。