Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 30 (Front cover & p.3)

Front Cover

Photo: Young volunteers and their parents posing in front of former JNR's Class C12 tank locomotive preserved by Japan National Trust and working on Oigawa Railway
(Japan National Trust)


Modern heritage

Studying and preserving the heritage of modern industries, including old railway rolling stock and buildings, are becoming increasingly popular in Japan. Japan's modernization started just 135 years ago when a new government was formed under the young Meiji Emperor in 1868. One of the new government's first achievements was the 1872 opening of Japan's first railway, a 29-km line between Tokyo and Yokohama.
The railway led Japan's modernization and industrialization through the following 100 years, culminating in the 1964 opening of the world's first high-speed railway—the Tokaido Shinkansen between Tokyo and Osaka. Although Japanese people quickly learned modern technologies and succeeded in developing new industries, it took nearly a century to catch up and rank with European and American forerunners.
A mountain climber never looks over his shoulder when climbing a steep slope, but once he reaches a ridge near the peak, he can afford to look back and see how he has managed to forge a path through difficulties. Japan has arrived at the point from where she can look back on the past, explaining why industrial archaeology and preservation of modern heritage is getting popular. However, the question is how to find a way forward based on studies of the past.
T. Suga