Okinoshima, Related Sites Added to World Heritage List (News)
Krakow, Poland, July 9 (Jiji Press)—Okinoshima, a sacred island, and related religious sites in Fukuoka Prefecture were inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List on Sunday.
In May, the International Council on Monuments and Sites, or ICOMOS, recommended additions to the cultural heritage list of only Okinoshima and three rocks belonging to the island, rejecting the Japanese government's request for simultaneous inscription of a set of eight sites including religious places in the prefecture's Munakata region.
In its screening session Sunday, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee overturned the advisory body's decision and fully accepted Japan's claim that all the sites are integral parts of the ancient religious culture in the region originating from Okinoshima, or the Munakata Taisha grand shrine's Okitsumiya shrine.
Okinoshima and the cluster of related sites became the seventeenth property listed in the cultural heritage category and the twenty-first overall including natural heritage sites in the country.
Located between Kyūshū and the Korean Peninsula, the entire island of Okinoshima has been worshipped for centuries. From the fourth to ninth centuries CE, large-scale rituals took place on the island to pray for successful interactions with people on the peninsula and in China, as well as for navigation safety. Ancient ruins chronicling the island's history remain left intact on Okinoshima.[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]