Year 2013:100 Landscapes of 100 Kagoshima People


Edited by
Nature Conservation Division, Environment and Forestry Affairs Department, Kagoshima Prefecture
Kagoshima Environmental Studies Program Working Group

Minaminippon Shimbun Co., Ltd.

Yuichiro Ito
Governor of Kagoshima Prefecture
Diversity?the most salient feature of Kagoshima
Kagoshima Prefecture is known for its abundance of nature. What is meant by the remark, I think, is the ecological diversity of Kagoshima.

I have visited every corner of the prefecture since I took office. I am probably more peripatetic than any governor that came before me. I visited every single small island in the prefecture. Through those visits, I have noticed the diversity of Kagoshima Prefecture. Kagoshima Prefecture is amazingly diverse in ecosystem, culture, people and communities. Different areas have different dialects, different food preferences and different ways of interacting with each other. There is a wide variety of shochu brands. Very diverse nature, cultures and ways of life coexist in this 600km-long Prefecture.

I think the greatest attention will be paid to the so-called Ryukyu Arc which covers Osumi Peninsula, Tanegashima, Yakushima, Tokara Islands, Amami Islands and Ryukyu Islands. From a biodiversity point of view, biomes with different origins coexist in the north and south of the international biogeographic boundary known as the Watase Line, which runs between Akuseki Island and Kodakara Island of the Tokara Islands. These islands were at one time part of the Chinese Continent or Japanese mainland and at other times apart from them as sea levels rose and fell. As a result, the region has become one of the most important habitats in the world for its endemic or rare species. This is why Yakushima became in 1993 the first site in Japan to be listed as a World Natural Heritage and the Amami Islands are now being recommended for inscription.

The region is so diverse in language, custom, food and history that it is almost unbelievable that all this is confined to a single prefecture. The influence from different cultures of the Continent, mainland Japan and Polynesian islands is apparent, and since ancient times, it has enjoyed overseas trade links with these areas. Although the northern islands near Yakushima and the southern ones around Okinawa have been researched greatly, the Amami Islands in the middle have been a blind spot. If studied thoroughly, this area may rewrite the entire history of Japan. From the civilizational and cultural history viewpoint, I think the Amami Islands are nothing short of a treasure trove.

Satsuma samurais were the driving force behind the Meiji Restoration, which is a historic achievement of which all people of Kagoshima Prefecture are proud. It is a pity, however, that since that epoch-making event, our attention has tended to focus on what is happening in the Tokyo capital. In order for Kagoshima Prefecture to find a place in the world, I think we have to look beyond our national borders instead of relying on Tokyo and thereby to make the most of our location as part of the so-called ‘Yellow Sea Rim Economic Zone.’ The concept may sound like something special, but it is not. From ancient to modern times, Kagoshima prospered on trade with the Continent across the sea.

In the near future, this part of the world will attract much more attention. I believe that the values that have been embraced in the region for millennia but have not been explained systematically, will become valuable assets for Kagoshima Prefecture in the future.
Protect the memorable landscapes
I often ask children of Kagoshima Prefecture to close their eyes and recall the most beautiful scenery they have seen in their life.

I spent my fifth and sixth grade years at Akune Elementary School. I still remember the beautiful sunset in the East China Sea that I would often see when I was at Akune Elementary School. I can visualize with my mind’s eye the sea of sparkling gold dust on the rippling waves of gold. The scene was breathtaking. The image comes back instantly when I close my eyes. I hope children will acquire impressive memories like that, because I believe such memories and experiences are what keeps us going through life’s journey.

What are the sounds you hear and the landscape you see in your mind when you close your eyes? I hope you will engrave them in your mind and treasure them as something you can return to again and again. That is what you recall when you are in trouble. I used to do the same. I replayed in my mind the sunset of Akune every time I had to overcome difficulty in Tokyo, and that helped. Kagoshima has many places like that. I wish to protect those beautiful Kagoshima landscapes and help children acquire as many beautiful memories as possible.
The book marks a beginning
This book is a collection of interviews with people from Kagoshima Prefecture and people who have connections with Kagoshima Prefecture about their most memorable landscape or experience of nature. It is a collaborative project made up of the Nature Conservation Division of the Kagoshima Prefectural Government, the Kagoshima Environmental Studies Program Working Group, and Kagoshima University. I express my deepest gratitude to the interviewees for taking time out of their busy schedule to be interviewed.

In this book, you will notice that the most memorable landscapes and experiences differ widely from person to person. But you will also find that many have had close contact with nature in their everyday life and encountered their most memorable landscape through such experience. They also have made plenty of recommendations to make Kagoshima and Japan a better place to live.

Human beings built industrial nations and generated material wealth. One example is Japan’s post-war economic miracle on which our life style depends. Before the advent of industrial society, ‘symbiosis with nature’ was nothing special. Humans had no way but to live with nature and to live as part of the natural cycle. However, the human race broke the links of the symbiosis and natural cycle in order to build industries and create wealth. I am not sure how much more development we can expect in the future. But in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the subsequent nuclear meltdown, it seems to me that industrial society and the modern civilization it represents are at a major turning point. We must gather wisdom to build and pass on to future generations a new industrial society and new economic scheme that embrace symbiosis with nature.

In this book, the interviewees gave an account of their most memorable experience and image of nature. Therein lie, I believe, the clues to the problems Japan is facing. Simply going back to olden times would not work. I think it is time for us all to accept reality and think deeply about the kind of society we want to create.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Yakushima’s inscription on 11 December 1993 as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site. Yakushima was the first to have declared the principle of ‘symbiosis with nature.’ The principle was adopted as a global goal at the 2010 Nagoya Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity. This book includes in-depth interviews with the three experts who joined the discussions for the Heritage inscription at the Yakushima Environmental Culture Advisory Council of Kagoshima Prefecture in the run-up to the recommendation. I am delighted the book was published this year in order to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Yakushima’s World Heritage inscription.
November 2013

Yuichiro Ito
Born in 1947, Yuichiro Ito graduated from the Faculty of Law, Tokyo University, and joined the Ministry of Home Affairs in 1972. In 2004, he left the ministry and his post as Director-General for Policy Coordination, Minister’s Secretariat, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications to assume the office of the governor of Kagoshima Prefecture. He is in his third term as the governor.

■Table of contents


・Live with an eye toward the natural environment Jeffrey S. Irish  2

・Life in harmony with nature  Yukiyasu Aoyama  4

・With confidence in the value of Amami  Tsuyoshi Asayama 6

・The Homeland landscape is linked to my sensibility  Kosuke Atari   8

・An awe-inspiring mountain remains in my memory  Koji Araki  10

・I can refresh myself on Yoron island  Kazuaki Arimura 12

・Our human capacity comes from nature  Yoshiko Arimura  14

・Learn about life in nature  Takuya Ikeda  16

・My original experience at Sogi Waterfall   Kenichi Ikehata

・Make Kagoshima city more attractive with roadside trees   Tadahiko Ishida  20

・Stay in the midst of nature and develop your sensibility   Yukie Ichikawa  22

・Protect nature by investing money  Yoshitaro Iwasaki 24

・Come in touch with other people through tourism    Emiko Iwatsubo  26

・Be interested in wonderful nature  Shinsaku Ueno  28

・Learn from nature just as Mr. Saigo did   Oyuki Uchikado  30

・Improve the landscape with due consideration to the colors in the mountains   Minoru Uchimura 32

・Life in the countryside gives more benefit than urban areas do Satoshi Otera  34

・Let’s create more chances to get in touch with exciting agriculture  Yoshito Owada  36

・“Hoof cultivation” is introduced to hog grazing  Hayao Okita  38

・Amami’s landscape will draw attention next     Hiroshi Onodera  40

・Shiroyama and Sakurajima are landscapes of my heart    Junzaburo Kaieda 42

・Effective use of woody biomass  Yoshito Kajiya  44

・Rivers and oceans are the landscapes of my heart    Kunio Kato  46

・Experiencing tasty food will lead to nature conservation  Akiko Kadota  48

・Facing nature has fostered my sensibility  Masuo Kaneko  50

・My memory of swimming at Kamoike waterfront   Motohiro Kamimura 52

・Make stories behind nature conservation  Tatsushi Kawai  54

・Toward self-evolving the diverse universe of life   Yoichiro Kawaguchi 56

・The potential power of energy recycling supported by the idea of local production for local consumption    Koji Kawabata  58

・Kagoshima is a treasure house for fresh foodstuff   Nobutoshi Kiura  60

・I want to circulate good natural things   Hiroyuki Kitei  62

・I want to go wherever there is limitation
(Limitation temps me to go there)   Keisuke Kogi  64

・I started with the foodstuff of Izumi   Hiroyuki Sakai  66

・Economic principles alone will deprive the vital things to life  Naofumi Sakasegawa 68

・Educate people by making use of the natural environment of Kagoshima Hiroshi Sakamoto 70

・The water from rivers is not drinkable any more   Miho Sato  72

・Vision to create a region with the richness of people  Kozo Shigehisa  74

・Sakurajima is the landscape of the heart of Kagoshima citizens  Tetsuhiko Shibatate 76

・It is important to feel bodily in the midst of nature  Kimiyasu Shimadzu 78

・A mountain pass that commands an ocean   Nobuhisa Shimadzu 80

・The more I take pictures, the more vital energy I feel in Kagoshima’s nature
Eiko Shimozono  82

・Build a community in harmony with greenery   Tadataka Shimotakehara 84

・Use “environment” as a key word   Daiichiro Shinpuku 86

・I want to be involved with nature through food    Mika Shinpo  88

・Protecting nature from the standpoints of history and food  Ichiro Zusho  90

・Clearly determine what should remain   Shuji Suwa  92

・It is important to grasp some points from nature   Kohei Takahashi  94

・The experience and landscape of oneself is important  Yoshiteru Tateyama 96

・Learn “responsibility” from nature    Koichiro Tamagawa 98

・From Yakushima to the world
An island of “environmental culture” where people live in harmony with nature

Nature Conservation Division, Environment and Forestry Affairs Department, Kagoshima Prefecture    100

・A community in which people live with nature   Akihiro Igata  102

・I learned my life-style from Yakusugi cedars   Takeshi Umehara 106

・The beautiful landscape of Satsuma Fuji
Umashi Hidaka  110

・An environment where people can try to go on adventures   Fumio Tamagawa 114

・Create an oasis through tree-planting downtown
Megumi Tamagawa 116

・The potential of Kagoshima’s agriculture and food culture  Shinobu Chiba  118

・Coexistence with nature is only found in Kagoshima   Kiyofuku Chuma  120

・The west was fused with the east in Kagoshima  Jukan Chin  122

・I feel nature’s dynamism in Kagoshima   Sadatoshi Tsumagari 124

・Develop global human resources through “environmental culture”     Eiichiro Deguchi  126

・Diverse seas spread out from Kagoshima   Shinichi Dewa  128

・Women are the key to environmental preservation   Haruhiko Dozono 130

・Do whatever we can   Tetsuro Toyoshige 132

・I choreographed the dance for Hannya-bushi  Akiko Nagata  134

・Affluent nature found elsewhere   Kunio Nakahara  136

・Communities and nature are two sides of the same coin  Koji Nakamura  138

・The fishing ground environment I want to pass on to our children Nobuo Nagamoto  140

・The need to protect the surrounding areas of the heritage site  Kiyomi Nakayama 142

・There was abundant nature in Taniyama   Masatoshi Numata 144

・The forests have been recovered but the number of insects have decreased  Shosaku Hattori  146

・I want to contribute to the agriculture and community of Yakushima through local sweets Jinshiro Baba  148

・Greenery is needed in downtown  Kenichiro Hamada 150

・Imaginative power remains the same in the past and present
Yumiko Hamakawa 152

・A nostalgic scene of hustle and bustle
Reiko Hayashi  154

・Biodiversity means foodstuff diversity
Izumi Haraguchi  156

・Eco-tourism as seen from walking around town  Ryutaro Higashikawa 158

・The community’s view of the universe makes a treasure of Amami
Hiromi Hisadome 160

・Learn good social manners at public bathhouses  Yoko Hirase  162

・Make Kagoshima a place filled with the largest number of beautiful ladies in the world
Marina Hirano  164

・Childhood experience paves a way to affluent times Rintaro Hiramine 166

・Kagoshima’s memories are just like a mosaic   Kyoko Fukaminato 168

・Sakurajima allows us to feel the actual life of the earth  Daisuke Fukushima 170

・Kagoshima’s natural scenes seen through dialogues with butteflies
Haruo Fukuda  172

・Islanders’ living environment has supported the flying fox   Kimitake Funakoshi 174

・Movement to change environment
Kengo Fumoto  176

・Emotional attachment to changeless landscapes   Koji Furukawa  178

・Maintain the current environment without excessive effort   Kazuaki Hoshino  180

・A tea field is a part of a forest   Yasuhisa Horiguchi 182

・The precious biodiversity of Kagoshima    Yoshizane Maeda  184

・The landscape of Kagsohima   Takehiro Maseda  186

・No more destruction of nature   Seizo Matsuda  188

・Help those people in need   Hajime Matsubara 190

・The remaining “past” should be utilized as energy for development Hideaki Matsumoto 192

・Research on bio-energy utilizing timber from forest-thinning     Kozaburo Misumi 194

・The attractiveness of Amami lies in its true diversity  Midori Miyazaki  196

・My view of life changed in Chiran   Akiko Miyanohara 198

・Ordinary nature is also precious   Junko Miyamoto 200

・How to express the feeling of beauty   Shiho Murota  202

・Bullfighting is a treasure of our island  Hatsuo Motoyama  204

・Microorganisms in the soil help produce good shochu  Kakushi Mori  206

・We want more greenery  Hiroyuki Mori  208

・The different features of each region is the treasure
Hiroshi Moriyama 210

・Experience fosters the skill to live   Shohei Yanaidani  212

・Develop the capability for proper judgement   Michiko Yamasaki 214

・No nature exists for further destruction  Yoshiya Yamashita 216

・Amami has all the wonderful things  Hiroki Yoshida  218

・Secure shelters for endangered species of flora and fauna
Tsuyoshi Yoneda  220

・Use the five senses to feel nature  Shoichi Rokutan  222

・Pay attention to the honey bees of Amami  Izumi Washitani  224
・After having interviewed 100 people (dialogue)

Names of interviewers