(3) New “Discover Japan” ― Ten-year Plan for Establishing a Tourism-oriented Country
Next comes the full-scale revitalization of local communities. As I have already described, the local communities will play a leading role in the coming development of Japan. However, many local communities, already battered by depopulation or recession, have lost the strength to make a self-sustaining recovery.
Sightseeing ― the English equivalent of the Japanese word kankoh (*5) ― literally means “seeing sights.” It is said as if sightseeing consisted of luring people into historical sites, landmarks, recreational facilities, and other attractions so as to make them spend money there. However, that is actually not the case at all.
So-called “lasting tourist attractions” ― places that constantly attract tourists ― involve local residents who fully enjoy the local “food, clothing and shelter.” The grace of those residents and the brilliance given off from such grace constitute the very resources of tourism themselves.
As such, the definition of a sightseeing tour is not confined to visiting tourist sites; it may also include a tour of a company. When we visit a very energetic company with a positive attitude toward work, we sense the energy and brightness, which can be likened to light, from the people working there ― energy and brightness that become a great encouragement when we return to our own work, even though we might forget what we specifically saw there. That is why a tour of a company can perfectly constitute a sightseeing tour, in the sense that we see light although we may not see a tourist site.
To be specific, establishing a tourism-oriented country doesn’t mean building facilities so as to attract many tourists from the very beginning. Rather, it means establishing the most suitable trade and industry for a local community so that the local residents may continue to live there while they fully enjoy the local “food, clothing and shelter.” It means the promotion of “growing the right crop in the right place”; “consuming locally grown products”; and “living a self-sufficient life on natural products.” It means attracting new industries and companies as well as developing people in the local community. It literally means overhauling and improving the beauty of tourist sites; restoring the landscape; and in particular, restoring ― on a local, community-by-community basis ― the virtues of Japan that were lost in the process of modernization in the 20th century. And it means that the national government will give full support to these undertakings in terms of funding, human resources, and know-how. Such support will be provided according to the needs of each local community and will last for about a decade.
Thus, once the style of “food, clothing and shelter” of a local community is established in one way or another, people from other local communities will naturally come to see it; also, since the tourism industry provides a huge number of employment opportunities, it will contribute greatly to job growth in the local community.
[To summarize], to establish a tourism-oriented country, we start from revitalizing local communities. When we succeed in doing so, that will give rise to people who fully enjoy the local “food, clothing and shelter” and, at the same time, will make those local communities distinctive tourist sites and create a number of marvelous tourist sites all over Japan. This is what establishing a tourism-oriented country means.
Take a look at the people’s lives in the Edo period. A feudal lord’s sankin-kotai (*6) itself was a trip. Also, traveling ― for example, making a pilgrimage to Ise ― became a fad among ordinary people. All over the country, places of scenic and historical interest as well as local specialties became tourism resources. Economic exchanges expanded nationwide through traveling.
In Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability, I am sure that tourism is an area that will grow significantly.
Notes by the translator:
(*5) In Japanese, both “tourism” and “sightseeing” are expressed by a single term kankoh, which literally means “to see light.” The reader is advised to be aware of this connotation when reading this section.
(*6) Sankin-kotai was a system inaugurated in 1635 in Japan by the Tokugawa shogun (hereditary military dictator) Iemitsu by which the great feudal lords (daimyo) had to reside several months each year in the Tokugawa capital at Edo (modern Tokyo). When the lords returned to their fiefs, they were required to leave their wives and families in Edo. (Quoted from https://www.britannica.com/topic/sankin-kotai.)
(Date published / 公開日： 8/4/2021)
(Date last updated / 最終改訂日: 8/20/2021)