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執筆 上野陽子
2011/9 Up

第1回 日本の世界遺産(その1)
Vol.1 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan

What are the newly listed World Heritage
sites in Japan?


第1回目は、日本にある世界遺産です。まずは、今年登録された文化遺産の「( 1 )」と、自然遺産「( 2 )」をのぞいてみることとしましょう……。

* 赤い色の語句の上にマウスカーソルを移動させる(スマホの場合はタップする)と語注が表示されます

Benkei's Standing Death at ( 1 )

During the Heian period, the Fujiwara family built a prosperous capital (of Oshu) at ( 1 ) in what is now Iwate prefecture, the northern part of Japan. The city steadily grew and prospered, adopting elements of Kyoto culture.
( 1 ) was the place, however, where Yoshitsune (known as Ushiwaka in his childhood) was given refuge by Fujiwara, a lord who was Minamoto Yoritomo's only rival. So, Yoritomo rose to hit his brother and rival Yoshitsune. After the lord passed away, Fujiwara’s son killed Yoshitsune to save ( 1 ) from Yoritomo. However, the city never recovered its former prominence.
Benkei died fighting to protect Yoshitsune, and his death, while standing still with an arrow-riddled and wound-covered body, became known as the "Standing Death of Benkei.”

平安時代に藤原氏が栄華を極めた都を置き、京都の文化的な影響も受けながら着実に成長・繁栄を遂げていったのが、日本の北部、現在の岩手県にある、この奥州の( 1 )でした。
ところが、( 1 )は藤原氏が源義経(幼少期の牛若丸)をかくまった地。藤原氏は当地の頭領で、源頼朝の唯一のライバルでした。そのため頼朝は、弟で敵手でもあった義経の討伐に打って出ます。頭領亡き後、藤原氏は義経を討ち、頼朝から( 1 )を守ろうとしますが、結局、北の都は滅びゆくことに……。

( 1 ): a place where a dynasty rose and fell

In the Edo period, a famous haiku poet, Basho Matsuo, wrote a haiku here.
“The summer grass - It is all that's left of ancient warriors dreams.”
This poem shows Basho’s sympathy for Yoshitsune’s and the warriors’ ambition that crumbled in the war. Writing in a time of peace, the poet thought of the chaos in a far distant past .
Luckily several symbols of the prosperous era remain and were added to the list of world cultural heritage sites this year.These include the spectacular temple “Chusonji”, which contains the “Konjikido,” (“Hall of Gold”) dedicated to Amida, the concept of Buddhist paradise, “Motsuji garden” and its surrounding area.


Galapagos Islands in Japan

The other listed site is the ( 2 ), also known as the Galapagos Islands of the East, which consists of 30 islands. They are located about 1000 kilometers south of Tokyo and are administratively part of it. Because the islands were never connected to mainland Japan or any continent, they feature many unique plants and animals that are only found there, while the beautiful blue sea and nature there remain unspoiled.
Visitors to ( 2 ) can enjoy watching sea turtles’ laying eggs, listen to unique birdsong and relax on the beautiful seashore.
In order to maintain the unique environment, visitors must be careful not to import any alien seeds or species to the islands. For this reason they must thoroughly clean their shoes and clothes before setting foot on the islands.

そして、もうひとつ、東洋のガラパゴスと呼ばれる( 2 )諸島は、東京都の約1,000キロメートルの太平洋上にありながら東京都特別区の30余の島々です。東京とは思えないような青い海と美しい自然が残るこの島は、日本本土ほか大陸と一度も陸続きになったことがないために、固有の動植物の種が生息する地。


(1)Hiraizumi (World Cultural Heritage Site)
(2)Ogasawara Islands(World Natural Heritage Site)
(2)小笠原諸島: 独特の生態系を持つ約30の亜熱帯の島々(世界自然遺産)


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