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FSM National Historic Preservation officer Mr. Augustine Kohler Invitation & Tour of Japan-Cambodia Bilateral World Heritage-related Facilities

Author: Professor Shu Kataoka, Sophia University
FSM National Historic Preservation officer Mr. Augustine Kohler Invitation & Tour of Japan-Cambodia Bilateral World Heritage-related Facilities

(At the site of Sophia University’s Angkor Wat Western Causeway Restoration with Mr. Kohnler (center) and Prof. Kataoka (left))

From April 26th to May 5th 2019, Mr. Augustine Kohler, who has been working on the front line of historical property administration of the Federated States of Micronesia National Archives and Cultural & Historical Preservation Office as a National Historic Preservation Officer, paid a visit to Japan and Cambodia under the guide of Professor Kataoka. The first half of the trip was spent in Japan and the second half spent visiting the major World Heritage sites, museums, and other related facilities in Cambodia. The program included 1. Preservation condition and conservation efforts of ruins 2. Educating tour guides and cultural heritage experts 3. The local community and its relationship with the ruins 4. Involvement in World Heritage sites by tourists 5. Current situation of cultural properties administration 6. Use of museums and business centers 7. Inspection of plaques, ways to use expressions on explanation boards and materials used for such boards 8. Construction of a support network between Japan-Cambodia, setting a goal of effectively using information gained on the trip at the Nan Madol Ruins UNESCO Heritage site.

The group visited the Kansai region of Japan, including Nara, Kyoto, and Osaka. In Nara they visited the ACCU Nara (Asia-Pacific Culture Center for UNESCO), meeting with Center Director Mr. Shin Morimoto and Mr. Isao Nakao, Department Director of Programme Operation, who talked about cultural properties-related training programs. At the Osaka National Museum of Ethnology, Mr. Rintaro Ono and Ms. Yoko Nojima gave a talk about their expositions, and Mr. Kohler visited Kofuku-ji Temple, Todai-ji Temple and Heijo Palace Remains in Nara, and visited Byodoin Temple, Shimizu-dera Temple and Kinkaku-ji Temple in Kyoto, while in Osaka they visited the Yayoi Cultural Museum, paying attention to the flow and direction of tourists and visitors to the ruins and museums, as well as the positioning and labelling of the plaques and explanation boards.

At Angkor Wat, due to the kindness of Sophia Asia Center for Research and Human Development Director Dr. Yoshiaki Ishizawa, Dr. Satoru Miwa, who has been the field director of the restoration of Angkor Wat for over 20 years and involved in research and construction; Dr. Masako Marui, who has vast experience in international cooperation and human resources development; and Dr. Lao Kim Leang, researcher of the ruins, joined Mr. Kohler and gave detailed talks not only about the ruins, but also regarding the Center’s role, renovation history, and conservation efforts. At APSARA (Authority for the Protection of the Site and Management of the Region of Angkor), Dr. Ly Vanna, the Director of Department of Conservation of Monuments, gave an informative lecture on preservation management etc. of the ruins.

Much helpful and important information that can be applied to the Nan Madol Ruins in the Federated States of Micronesia was gained during the trip due to the warm welcome from research institutes, museums, and researchers in both countries. There are plans underway to build a visitor’s center at the Nan Madol Ruins with the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ODA (Overseas Development Assistance). It is hopeful that the information and experiences gained out of this survey tour are used accordingly in the preservation of Nan Madol Ruins.

FSM National Historic Preservation officer Mr. Augustine Kohler Invitation & Tour of Japan-Cambodia Bilateral World Heritage-related Facilities

(In front of the Byodoin Temple Phoenix Hall in Kyoto)

FSM National Historic Preservation officer Mr. Augustine Kohler Invitation & Tour of Japan-Cambodia Bilateral World Heritage-related Facilities

(In front of the reconstructed Former Imperial Audience Hall of Heijo Palace in Nara)

FSM National Historic Preservation officer Mr. Augustine Kohler Invitation & Tour of Japan-Cambodia Bilateral World Heritage-related Facilities

(In front of the remains of the giant eroded tree at Ta Prohm Temple Ruins)

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