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Monday, 18th July 2016
In General Japan News,

Japan gains another UNESCO World Heritage Site

Authorities in Japan have had their application to add a site to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List approved.

The decision was made yesterday (July 17th) by the committee in Istanbul to add an art museum in Tokyo and 16 other associated buildings to receive the honour.

All of the structures were designed by Swiss-French architect Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known as Le Corbusier.

Despite being spread across seven countries, the buildings are considered as one UNESCO World Heritage Site and are seen as innovative and an important stepping stone on the road to modern architecture.

The National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo’s Ueno Park was opened to the public in 1959 and was designed to represent renewed diplomatic ties between Japan and France in the wake of World War II.

It is thought that the current political situation in Turkey may mean that the actual listing won’t take place until the autumn.

When it does, the museum will become the 20th World Heritage Site in Japan, yet only the first in central Tokyo.

Of its recognised sites, Japan has 16 cultural sites, with Mount Fuji among them, and four natural inclusions, with the Ogasawara Islands the most famous.

It is expected that the listing will lead to more interest in the building from visitors, who will be able to see elements of Le Corbusier’s signature style.

These include the pillars that hold the three-storey structure off the ground, separation between the structural frame and walls, free flat surfaces, free standing surfaces, and a roof-top garden.

Added to this, the museum also has a winding path staircase, which guides visitors through the galleries, and is unique to the structure.

Le Corbusier lived between 1887 and 1965 and became known as one of the 20th century’s pioneers of modern architecture.

Related news stories:
Japan hopes to add Fukuoka ancient monuments to UNESCO list (29th July 2015)
Mt Fuji World Heritage registration is mixed blessing (26th June 2014)
Hiroshima increasingly popular with tourists (11th June 2014)
Japanese cuisine poised for UNESCO list (2nd December 2013)
New magazine focuses on dark tourism sites in Japan (9th September 2015)