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Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

Located in a mountainous region that was cut off from the rest of the world for a long period of time, these villages with their Gassho-style houses subsisted on the cultivation of mulberry trees and the rearing of silkworms. The large houses with their steeply pitched thatched roofs are the only examples of their kind in Japan. Despite economic upheavals, the villages of Ogimachi, Ainokura and Suganuma are outstanding examples of a traditional way of life perfectly adapted to the environment and people's social and economic circumstances.

Villages historiques de Shirakawa-go et Gokayama

Situés dans une région montagneuse longtemps isolée, ces villages aux maisons de style gassho tiraient leur subsistance de la culture du mûrier et de l'élevage du ver à soie. Leurs grandes maisons au toit de chaume à double pente très accentuée sont uniques au Japon. Malgré les bouleversements économiques, les villages d'Ogimachi, d'Ainokura et de Suganuma demeurent des témoins exceptionnels de la parfaite adaptation de la vie traditionnelle à son environnement et à sa fonction sociale.

قريتا شيراكاوا-غو وغوكاياما التاريخيّتَان

تقع هاتان القريتان التي بُنيت منازلهما على أسلوب الغاسشو  في منطقة جبليّة كانت مُنعزلةً لفترةٍ طويلةٍ. وكان الأهالي فيهما يعتاشون من زراعة شجر التوت وتربية دود القزّ. فمنازل القريتَيْن الكبيرة التي تتميّز بالسّقف المصنوع من القصب والمُنحني انحناءةً مزدوجةً بارزةً، فريدةً في اليابان كلّها. وبالرغم من الاضطرابات الاقتصاديّة، بقيت قرى أوغيماشي وآينوكورا وسوغانوما شاهدةً بامتياز على التكيّف الاستثنائي للحياة التقليديّة مع بيئتها ووظيفتها الاجتماعيّة.

source: UNESCO/ERI

白川乡和五屹山历史村座

白川乡和五屹山村落,地处山区,长期以来与外界隔绝。这些村落的居民以种桑养蚕为生,当地的农舍很有特色,在日本是独一无二的,它们比一般农舍略大,为两层结构,屋顶坡面很陡,用茅草覆盖。尽管经历了严重的经济动荡,荻町、相仓和菅沼这些村落依旧体现了当地人那种与自然生活环境和社会经济环境完美适应的传统生活方式。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Исторические села Сиракава-го и Гокаяма

Села с домами в стиле “гассо”, расположенные в горном районе, который бывал надолго отрезан от остального мира в зимнее время, существовали за счет культивирования тутовых деревьев и выращивания шелкопряда. Большие дома с крутыми соломенными крышами являются уникальными для Японии. Несмотря на экономические перемены, деревни Огимати, Айнокура и Суганума - выдающиеся примеры традиционного образа жизни, прекрасно приспособленного к окружающей среде и местным социальным и экономическим условиям.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Aldeas históricas de Shirakawa-go y Gokayama

Situadas en una región montañosa aislada durante mucho tiempo, las aldeas de Ogimachi, Ainokura y Suganuma han vivido ancestralmente del cultivo de las moreras y la cría del gusano de seda. Sus casas de estilo gassho con techos de paja de doble pendiente muy inclinada son únicas en Japón. A pesar de los cambios radicales experimentados por la economía, estas aldeas constituyen un notable ejemplo de la perfecta adaptación de un estilo de vida tradicional al medio ambiente y las condiciones socioeconómicas de la población.

source: UNESCO/ERI

白川郷・五箇山の合掌造り集落

source: NFUAJ

Historische dorpen Shirakawa-go en Gokayama

De historische dorpen Shirakawa-go en Gokayama liggen in een bergachtig gebied dat lange tijd was afgesneden van de rest van de wereld. De dorpen – met huizen gebouwd in Gassho-stijl – hielden zichzelf in stand door de teelt van moerbeibomen en het houden van zijderupsen. De grote huizen met hun steil hellende rieten daken zijn de enige voorbeelden van hun soort in Japan. In de 8e eeuw werd dit gebied opengesteld als een plek voor ascetische religieuze bergaanbidding, gericht op de berg Hakusan. De dorpen Ogimachi, Ainokura en Suganuma vormen goede voorbeelden van een traditionele levenswijze, perfect aangepast aan de omgeving en de sociaaleconomische omstandigheden.

Source: unesco.nl

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Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama
Long Description

The historic villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama are outstanding examples of traditional human settlements that are perfectly adapted to their environment and their social and economic raison d'être and have adjusted successfully to the profound economic changes in Japan in the past half-century.

In the 8th century AD this area was opened up as a place for ascetic religious mountain worship, centred on Mount Hakusan, for an order that combined ancient pre-Buddhist beliefs with esoteric Buddhism. In the 13th century it came under the influence of the Tendai Esoteric sect, and then by the Jodo Shinshu sect, which is still influential in the area. Its teachings played an important role in the development of the social structure of the region, based on the kumi system of mutual cooperation between neighbouring households.

Shirakawa-go was part of the territory of the Takayama Clan at the beginning of the Edo period, but from the late 17th century until the Meiji Restoration of 1868 it was under the direct control of the Edo Bakufu (military government). Gokayama was under direct rule by the Kanazawa Clan throughout the Edo period.

Because of the mountainous terrain, traditional rice-field production was not wholly successful in the area, and so the farmers turned to alternative grains such as buckwheat and millet, cultivated in small fields, but even with these the farming was at little higher than subsistence level. The few marketable products from the area were Japanese paper, made from the fibres of the paper mulberry, which occurs naturally in the area, nitre (calcium nitrate) for gunpowder production, and the basic products of sericulture (silkworms and raw silk thread). Paper production declined in the 19th century, and nitre production was brought to an end with the importation of cheap saltpetre from Europe at the same time. The silk industry survived longer, from the late 17th century until the 1970s; its requirement of large enclosed spaces for silkworm beds and storage of mulberry leaves was an important factor in the development of the gassho -style house.

The central part of Ogimachi is located on a terraced plateau east of the Sho River. Most of the houses are on individual lots separated by cultivated plots of land, reflecting traditional land use. On the sloping land near the base of the mountain the houses are on terraces supported by stone retaining walls. Their boundaries are defined by roads, irrigation channels or cultivated plots rather than walls or hedges, and so the landscape is an open one. Most have ancillary structures such as wooden-walled storehouses and grain-drying shelters, which are usually well away from the dwelling houses to minimize fire risk. The house lots are surrounded by irrigated rice fields and city-crop fields, also small and irregular in shape.

The designated group of historic buildings is composed of 117 houses and seven other structures. Of these, six are in the gassho style, most built during the 19th century; they are all aligned parallel to the Sho River, giving a very harmonious and impressive landscape. Seven houses are post-and-beam structures with rafter-framed roofs, built in the 20th century and with an overall resemblance to the gassho style. The village has two Buddhist temples, Myozen-ji and Honkaku-ji. The guardian deity of the village is housed in the Shinto shrine, Hachiman Jinja, situated at the base of the mountain and surrounded by a cedar grove.

Ainokura village is similarly located on a terraced plateau above the Sho River. Its layout is focused on the old main road. The houses and plots are broadly identical in form and size with those at Ogimachi. The group of historic buildings includes twenty gassho -style houses, most with a four-room square layout. The guardian deity of the village is housed in the Jinushi Jinja Shinto shrine, and the Buddhist centre is the Shonen-ji temple of the Jodo Shinshu sect.

The site of Suganuma is similar to those of Ogimachi and Ainokura, on a terrace overlooking the Sho River, but it is much smaller, with only eight households and a population of 40 people. Nine gassho houses survive, the most recent built as late as 1929. They resemble those of Ainokura rather than Ogimachi.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

ln the 8th centurv AD the Shirakawa-go/Gokayama area was opened up as a place for ascetic religious mountain worship, centred on Mount Hakusan, for a religious order that combined ancient pre-Buddhist beliefs with Esoteric Buddhism. In the later 13th centurv it came under the influence of the powerful Tendai Esoteric sect. which was in turn replaced by the Jo do Shinshu sect, which still very influential in the area. lts teachings played an important role in the development of the social structure of the region, based on the kumi system of mutual cooperation between neighbouring households.

The earliest written documents confirming Shirakawa-go as the name of the area date back to the mid-12th centurv; Gokayama does not appear until the beginning of the 16th centurv. The village name of Ogimachi is found in late 15th centurv documents, Ainokura in the mid-16th centurv, and suganuma in the early 17th century. Shirakawa-go was part of the territory of the Takayama Clan at the beginning of the Edo Period, but from the late 17th centurv until the Meiji Resto ration of 1868 it was under the direct control of the Edo Bakufu (military government). Gokavama was under direct rule by the Kanazawa Clan throughout the Edo Period.

Because of the mountainous terrain traditional Japanese rice-field production was not wholly successful in the a rea, and so the farmers turned to alternative grains such as buckwheat and millet, cultivated in small fields, but even with these the farming was at little higher than subsistence 1eve1. The few marketable products from the area were Japanese paper (washi), made from the fibres of the paper mulberrv, which occurs naturally in the area, nitre (calcium nitrate) for gunpowder production, and the basic products of sericulture (silkworms and raw silk thread). Paper production continued throughout the Edo Period, but declined when western paper-making processes were introduced in the 19th century. Nitre production, which had begun in the mid 17th centurv, was also brought to an end with the importation of cheap saltpetre from Europe at the same time. The silk industrv survived longer, from the late 17th century until the 19705; its requirement of large enclosed spaces for silkworm beds and storage of mulberrv leaves, was an important factor in the development of the gassho-style house.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation