Japan’s Shift From Nuclear Energy
May 23, 2013
By Nassrine Azimi | The New York Times:
ITSUKUSHIMA Shrine on Miyajima Island, built by the warlord Taira no Kiyomori around 1168, stands at the edge of an inlet of the Inland Sea, not far from Hiroshima. Long regarded as one of Japan’s three most beautiful places, it was registered in 1996 by Unesco as a World Heritage Site.
The shrine’s architecture is a masterpiece of the shinden style: Poised on vermilion pillars and facing the mainland across the Onoseto Strait, it appears at high tide to float on the sea.
Over almost 900 years Itsukushima has survived many disasters — typhoons, fires, earthquakes, landslides, not to mention pollution, blind development, political squabbles and wars.
In 2004 a typhoon blew off segments of the roof and tore away floorboards. Visiting the shrine with a group of World Heritage experts some months later, I asked one of the priests accompanying us whether such severe damage could ever be repaired.
He answered that longevity and close proximity to nature had also bred a keen ability to cope with disaster — the shrine had managed to survive precisely because it had learned to adapt — but that the scales were tipping. No part of Japan, he said, would be ready if that delicate balance with nature shifted too drastically or too suddenly.