Remains of oldest astronomical observatory recommended for heritage list(日本天文遺産候補に「日新館天文台跡」推薦 国内現存最古)

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A former site of Aizu Clan School Nisshankan’s astronomical observatory is seen in Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture.(会津若松市に残る日新館天文台跡)

 A former site of an astronomical observatory of Aizu Clan School Nisshinkan in Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, has been officially recommended for astronomical heritage listing in Japan (see below), a list that was created this fiscal year by the Astronomical Society of Japan.
 The site is the oldest remains of an astronomical observatory among existing ones in the nation.
 If designated, the site will become the first on the astronomical heritage list. Representative members of the astronomical society are scheduled to decide which sites will be given designations at a general meeting to be held in late January.
 Though the astronomical society does not disclose details about recommendations of astronomical heritage sites, the former site is believed to be the only one recommended that is located in Fukushima Prefecture.

 国内で現存する最古の天文台跡「日新館天文台跡」(会津若松市)が、日本天文学会が本年度創設した日本天文遺産の候補に正式に推薦された。認定されれば、初めての事例となる。1月下旬に開かれる日本天文学会代議員総会で認定対象が決定する。
 日本天文学会は、日本天文遺産の推薦状況を明らかにしていないが、県内の推薦は日新館天文台跡の1件だけという。

 Junichi Watanabe, 58, vice director general of the National Astronomical Observatory, recommended the site for the heritage list. The Aizuwakamatsu native emphasized the significance of the nomination, saying: "It is the only place where a former site of an astronomical observatory dating back to the Edo period (1603-1867) remains. It is an extremely precious historical site that indicates how high the cultural level was in those years."
 Watanabe said that astronomical observatories in the period were also built in such major feudal domains as Hirosaki, Mito and Satsuma, but the number of them in those years was "around 10 at the most." Except for that of Nisshinkan, remains of those astronomical observatories no longer exist.

 推薦した国立天文台副台長の渡部潤一さん(57)=同市出身=は「江戸時代の天文台が残っているのはここだけ。当時の文化レベルの高さを示す非常に貴重な史跡」と意義を強調。渡部さんによると、弘前、水戸、薩摩などの雄藩でも天文台が築かれたが、「多くても10カ所程度」といい、日新館天文台跡を除き、どれも遺構は残されていないという。

 Nisshinkan's astronomical observatory was built by the Aizu domain in 1803 almost simultaneously with the construction of the domain's school. It was 6.5 meters high, and about half of the structures from the period still remain.
 In the Aizu domain, astronomy advanced after Hoshina Masayuki, the first lord of the domain, ordered astronomer Shibukawa Harumi to make a calendar system. The domain school held classes, including astronomy.
 "The former site proves that the Aizu domain placed importance on not only martial arts, but also academic studies," Watanabe said.

 日新館天文台は会津藩が1803(享和3)年、藩校日新館の完成とほぼ同時に建設した。高さ6.5メートルの天体観測場で、現在は江戸時代の半分程度の規模が残されている。
 同藩では、初代藩主の保科正之が暦学者渋川春海に暦作りを命じたことがきっかけで天文学が盛んなり、日新館では天文学を取り入れた授業も行われた。渡部さんは「天文台跡は、会津藩が武術だけでなく、勉学も重んじたことの証拠でもある」と語る。

 Concerning the former site, there is a move that is aiming for registration as UNESCO's world heritage site of astronomy.
 Kenichi Usuki, 51, former head of Aizu Tenmon Dokokai, a local association of astronomy fans, represents a project for promoting preservation of the former site. "If designated, it will give a boost to the activities to preserve the former site. I want it to become a place that attracts attention from both inside and outside the nation," Usuki said.

 日新館天文台跡を巡っては、ユネスコ世界天文遺産への登録を目指す動きもある。元会津天文同好会長で、日新館天文台跡保護推進プロジェクト代表の薄謙一さん(51)は「認定により、天文台跡の保護活動にも弾みが付く。日本だけでなく、世界から注目される場所になってほしい」と話した。

 Astronomical heritage of Japan
The heritage list was created by the Astronomical Society of Japan in an effort to preserve historical heritage in astronomy and astronomy specializing in calendar and pass them down to future generations. Members of the society recommend nominations for heritage listing, its selection committee examines the recommendations, and finally the society's representative members approve designations at their general meetings. Themes of the designations fall into three categories -- "historical sites and buildings," such as architectural structures and observation facilities; "items," including observation equipment and measurement devices; and "reference," which are, for example, documents.

( Translated by The Japan News )

 日本天文遺産
 日本天文学会が天文学、暦学関連の歴史遺産の保存や、次世代継承を目的に創設。同会の会員により推薦された候補を、研究者などでつくる選考委員会が審査し、最終的に同会代議員総会で認定が決定する。対象は、建築や観測施設など「史跡・建造物」、観測機器や測定装置など「物品」、文書類など「文献」の3分野。

 【 2018年12月12日付・福島民友新聞掲載 】