June 23rd marked the one-year anniversary of Mount Fuji becoming a UNESCO World Heritage site. Interestingly enough, this volcano was named a cultural landmark as opposed to a natural landmark, encouraging us to look more closely at our definitions of nature and culture. Mount Fuji is one of the most-climbed mountains in the world, complete with a post office at the top. This mixture of nature and culture is interesting to compare to other “natural” spots around the world such as the National Parks in the United States. The National Parks are kept as “wild” as they can be, with minimal maintenance or intervention. However Fuji, with 10 rest stations equipped with food and toilets, is far from wild. Mount Fuji IS Japanese culture, and it would be impossible to separate the mountain from its rich culture.
Based off of the Japan News article, “Mt. Fuji World Heritage listing has mixed results 1 year on,” Mt. Fuji has, well, been having mixed results since it’s World Heritage designation last year. As more people hear about Fuji’s inspiring beauty and historical significance, they flock to the mountain, with over 300,000 climbers visiting between July and September. With this comes an increased number of injuries and environmental damage. This clash of stasis and change has caused local authorities to change their laws and seasonal preparation regarding Fuji’s use after its World Heritage designation. Perhaps in order to preserve the mountain for future guests to enjoy, there needs to be a change in how it is treated currently. If something is to remain the same, there needs to be some kind of change to take into account our ever-changing world. This isn’t just the case with Fuji; with an increasing global population, we need to adjust the way we live if we want the quality of our lives to remain the same.
According to the article, “local people uniformly agree that the economic benefits brought by the designation have spread among industries related to Mt. Fuji tourism.” In other words, this local landmark is affecting more global markets. The name itself, a “World Heritage” landmark inherently implies the mixing of local and global. After more people heard about this site, the trails became so full that people had “difficulty passing each other”; a very real effect that global attention has had on this local landmark.
Source: Yokoyama, Kotaro, and Yuko Shiojima. “Mt. Fuji World Heritage Listing Has Mixed Results 1 Year on.” The Japan News. N.p., 24 June 2014. Web. 01 July 2014.