Monuments (記念物)

Monuments

Monuments' in Japan's system for protecting cultural heritage. The above is described in detail in this article.

Monuments (Denkmal in German)' in Germany' system for protecting cultural heritage.
Monuments are categorized into 'Cultural Monuments (Kulturdenkmal)' and 'Natural Monuments (Naturdenkmal).'

"Monuments" belong to one type of cultural properties specified by Article 2, Paragraph 1, Item (4) of Act on Protection of Cultural Properties. Although the term 'monuments' collectively means 'historical sites,' 'places of scenic beauty' and 'natural monuments' in the Law, some local public bodies (such as Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture) include another category 'Ruins' in designating their cultural properties. All cultural properties of such monuments, except for natural monuments relating to individual animals, relate to lands.

Monument' in the Act on Protection of Cultural Properties.

Article 2, Paragraph 1, Item (4) of the Act on Protection of Cultural Properties stipulates as follows.

Monuments include: shell mounds, ancient tombs, sites of palaces, sites of forts or castles, monumental dwelling houses and other ruins of particular historical significance or academic value for our country and gardens, bridges, gorges, seacoasts, mountains and other places of scenic beauty which have outstanding artistic or scenic value in and for this country; animals (including their habitats, breeding places and summer and winter resorts); plants (including their natural growth areas); and geological features and minerals (including the grounds where extraordinary natural phenomena are seen), which possess a high scientific value in and for this country.

Thus, ruins, places of scenic beauty, animals, plants, geological features and minerals are included in 'monuments.'
The concept is rooted in the idea that each monument is a cultural property unique and memorial to a place and therefore, the subjects of designation, except for cases where animal species (taxonomy) are designated, are places of certain ranges.

Chapter VII (Articles 109-133) of the Law handles 'historic sites and places of scenic beauty as natural monuments.'
These correspond to 'monuments' defined in Article 2, Paragraph 1, Item (4) of the same Law.

"Designation Criteria for Natural Monuments of Special Historic Sites and Special Places of Scenic Beauty and Natural Monuments of Historic Sites and Places of Scenic Beauty" are used to designate historic sites and places of scenic beauty as natural monuments to be protected.

Details of the registered 'monuments' designated by the national government

Historic sites; shell mounds, ancient tombs, sites of palaces, sites of forts or castles, monumental dwelling houses and other ruins. There are 1,640 designated sites of this category.

Special Historic Sites: especiallyimportant ones as historic sites. There are 61 designated sites of this category.

Places of scenic beauty: gardens, bridges, gorges, seashores, mountains, and other places
There are 352 designations in this category.

Special Places of Scenic Beauty: especiallyimportant ones as places of scenic beauty
There are 35 designations in this category.

Natural Monuments: animals, plants, geographic features and minerals
There are 980 designations in this category.

Special Natural Monuments: especiallyimportant natural monuments
There are 75 designations in this category.

The above numbers of designated monuments are as of February 12, 2009, and the numbers include overlapping designations among the above categories of historic site, place of scenic beauty and natural monument, if any.

Registered Monuments: Monuments particularly requiring preservation and good use, among those (mainly modern ones) not designated by the national government or a local public body. The first registered in this category are 'Hakodate park' (Hakodate City, Hokkaido), 'Futatabi koen park and the permanent nature reserve area of Mt.Futatabi' (Kobe City) and 'Sorakuen park' (Kobe City), and the registration of the three monuments were announced in the official gazette published on January 26, 2006. There are 43 designations in this category as of February 12, 2009.

Designation of monuments by local public bodies under the Act on Protection of Cultural Properties is made according to the above categorization.

Summary

"Two-stage designation of monuments,"is a system in which, in respect of historic sites, places of scenic beauty and natural monuments defined as "monuments" by the Act on Protection of Cultural Properties, monuments selected as 'especially important' among those designated by the national government are classified into the categories prefixed with 'Special' to call them "Special Historic Site," "Special Place of Scenic Beauty" or "Special Natural Monument," respectively.

As mentioned above, according to Article 2, Paragraph 1, Item (4) of the Act on Protection of Cultural Properties, ruins, gardens, natural landscapes (places of scenic beauty), and valuable living organisms, geographical features and minerals are included in the scope of 'monuments' and Chapter VII (Articles 109-133) of the Law stipulates protection and management of 'historic sites and places of scenic beauty as natural monuments.'
In the Chapter, Article 109, Paragraph 2 provides as follows.

The Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology may designate among historic sites, places of scenic beauty and natural monuments designated pursuant to the provisions of the preceding paragraph, especially important ones as special historic sites or special places of scenic beauty or special natural monuments (hereinafter collectively referred to as 'Special Historical Sites, Special Places of Scenic Beauty and Special Natural Monuments'). The above is the two-stage designation system.

Background of adoption of two-stage designation system

According to the current Act on Protection of Cultural Properties, only in the categories of cultural properties of 'tangible cultural properties' (such as buildings, paintings, and sculptures) and 'Monuments,' especially important items among those designated as 'Important Cultural Properties,' 'Historic Sites,' 'Places of Scenic Beauty' and 'Natural Monuments' are designated as 'National Treasures,' 'Special Historic Sites,' 'Special Places of Scenic Beauty' or 'Special Natural Monuments.'

Since not all designated cultural properties could be protected by necessary and sufficient measures under the Japan's financial and political situations at the time when the Act on Protection of Cultural Properties was enacted in 1950, the government was forced to stringently select cultural properties to be protected among the two categories of 'Tangible Properties' and 'Monuments' to which categories many items designated in the prewar period under the Preservation of National Treasures or the Historical Spot, Scenic Beauty and Natural Monument Preservation Law had been carried over, aside from the then-established category of 'Intangible Cultural Properties.'
These days, the two stages are sometimes regarded as ranks to assess the material values.

Protection of monuments by Japan's former laws.

By the 'Historical Spot, Scenic Beauty and Natural Monument Preservation Law' enacted in 1919, the legal system for protecting monuments was established.

At that time, the leader of the campaign for preservation of ruins was Katsumi KUROITA who headed the department of Japanese history at the University of Tokyo. KUROITA, who was a scholar of ancient history, who had studied in England, a pioneer country in preservation of ruins, used the term 'historic spot' which was a term used mostly in studies on Japanese history, suggesting object to be preserved.

On the other hand, it was Manabu MIYOSHI, a professor of botany at Tokyo Imperial University who used the term 'natural monument.'
He studied in the German Empire, which had categories of 'de: Kulturdenkmal' (Cultural Monument) and 'de: Naturdenkmal' (Natural Monument), and he took in the concept of the latter category.

The above is the reason why the long name 'Historical Spot, Scenic Beauty and Natural Monument' was given to items defined as monuments, or the background to the process in which such items were later collectively categorized into 'Monument.'

Preservation of monuments in foreign countries

Pope Leo X appointed Raffaello SANTI, painter and architect, as the supervisor of inspection of antiquities in 1515. Some regard this as the beginning of history of cultural properties preservation in Europe.

In 1666, King Karl XII of Kingdom of Sweden proclaimed preservation of ruins.
It was to preserve 'monuments that can enhance honors of our ancestors and the entire Kingdom' and 'ancient monuments that are reminiscent of people who lived in this fatherland.'
This was the beginning of preservation of cultural properties conducted by a nation in Europe.

In 1721, Joao V of the Kingdom of Portugal, 'the Magnanimous,' promulgated rescripts providing preservation of historic monuments of the Age of Geographical Discovery from the 15th century to 16th century existing in Portugal.

In the Kingdom of Greece which became officially independent from the Ottoman Empire by the Treaty of Constantinople in 1832, the 'Monuments Law' was enacted under the reign of Otto von Wittelsbach in 1834. Since the drain of Greek cultural properties to foreign countries was significant under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, the law was aimed at stopping the drain.

In 1887, 'Historic Monuments Act' was enacted in French Republic (The French Third Republic). Most of the modern European countries established law systems for protection of cultural properties, monuments and ruins in the 19th century. Here in Japan, it was not until 1919 that the 'Historical Spot, Scenic Beauty and Natural Monument Preservation Law' was enacted.

Supplementary note

In case of monuments, there are many cases where one item is designated in two or more categories, such as designation both in 'Historic Site' and in 'Place of Scenic Beauty.'
For example, 'Lake Towada and the Oirase-gawa River' ranging from Akita Prefecture to Aomori Prefecture is designated in the two categories of 'Special Places of Scenic Beauty' and 'Natural Monuments' for its values.