Kamakura to cancel bid for World Heritage status


Kamakura Mayor Takashi Matsuo said Monday he will ask the Cultural Affairs Agency to drop its recommendation to list the ancient city in Kanagawa Prefecture on the World Heritage list.

Kamakura was the seat of a samurai government from the late 12th to 14th centuries that nurtured cultural legacies that include the tea ceremony and Zen rituals.

The remarks by the mayor came after the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization advisory panel rejected Japan’s request to list the city, citing scarce assets linked to the influence of the samurai class.

“It is highly likely Kamakura will not be registered,” Matsuo told a municipal assembly meeting. “We’d like to try again after canceling the request for now.”

If UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee decided in June not to register Kamakura, it would be impossible for the city to try again. The city has therefore decided to cancel the request for the time being.

  • Kyle

    Actually this statement is wrong, Japanese officials could still submit the bid, and if the likely failure occurred, they could develop a new nomination for Kamakura. The nomination would require some differences, perhaps: reworked justification for “Outstanding Universal Value”, nomination under different criteria, or choosing extra/alternate structures in Kamakura to include in the nomination.

    Nevertheless, it is an uphill battle for Kamakura. Here is the key reason ICOMOS rejected the Kamakura nomination.

    “All the elements forming the property today offer an incomplete
    material testimony which really only illustrates the spiritual
    dimension of the Home of the Samurai, partially the
    military dimension, and to a much lesser extent, or not at
    all, the other aspects (town planning, civil power, economy
    and lifestyles, etc.).”

    – ICOMOS 2013