OSAKA, Feb 13 (News On Japan) - Stones once destined for the walls of Osaka Castle, but never used and hence nicknamed the "unfortunate stones," are set to be repurposed for restroom facilities at next year's Osaka-Kansai Expo, sparking a backlash from concerned citizens.
These stones, extracted some 400 years ago during the early Edo period from mountains around the Kizugawa area in Kyoto for the castle's reconstruction, ended up unused. Local Kizugawa City has been considering how to utilize these historical stones, leading to the innovative yet contentious idea of using them as pillars for a restroom building at the Expo site.
Kizugawa City's Cultural Property Protection Division sees this as an opportunity to raise awareness about the stones and the city. The plan, initiated without altering or damaging the stones to ensure their return, aims to breathe life into architecture using the legacy of these stones. However, this unique utilization has drawn criticism from both experts and the public, with concerns about the appropriateness of using culturally significant stones in such a context.
Despite the project's intentions to highlight the stones' historical significance, including plans for explanatory displays at the Expo, voices from the local community express mixed feelings. Some see the potential for greater public engagement with the stones' history as positive, while others feel that a more dignified use, such as in a museum setting, would better honor their legacy.
Experts in archaeology and castle studies voice significant concerns over the repurposing, pointing out the potential loss of historical information embedded in the stones' original use and markings. These stones, meticulously marked for their intended placement within Osaka Castle's walls, represent a critical piece of history that risks being obscured if used as vertical pillars.
As Kizugawa City moves forward with the plan, it commits to carefully explaining its rationale, hoping to secure understanding and support for a project that walks the line between innovative reuse and preservation of historical integrity.