Nineteen cases encapsulating important cultural and historical themes on a regional basis have been added to the Japan Heritage story list this fiscal year.
One of these, “Date culture of Masamune,” centers around iconic samurai lord Date Masamune (1567-1636), a beloved historical figure who ruled the area around Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. He was famed for his fashion sense and his surname, Date, has become synonymous with “dandy” or “fop” in Japanese.
“Geiyo isle: the stronghold of Japan’s biggest pirate gang” is all about the notorious Murakami "kaizoku" (pirates) who formerly controlled the Seto Inland Sea between Hiroshima and Ehime prefectures. They dominated the important passage for logistics and transport over many centuries until the 16th century. Remains of pirate forts can be seen on islands such as Mukaishima and Innoshima, both off Hiroshima Prefecture.
The stories were officially designated as Japan Heritage narratives by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, it announced April 25.
Other stories include the “Pilgrimage of 33 Kannon Buddha in Aizu” from Fukushima Prefecture and the “Records of Izumo Tatara (foot bellow)--the Tale of 1,000 Years of Iron Making” from Shimane Prefecture.
The designation of stories, which started from the last fiscal year, focuses on narratives surrounding tangible and intangible cultural properties. The aim is to revitalize local economies by promoting the stories in Japanese and foreign tourist markets.
There have been 37 narratives designated as Japan Heritage so far, and the ministry aims to increase the number to around 100 by the end of fiscal 2020.
In this round, a total of 67 applications were submitted from 41 prefectures and Tokyo. The successful 19 covered, coincidentally, 19 prefectures.