Japan’s men-only Ancient Religious Site Okinoshima (Fukuoka) up for World Heritage status

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Japan's men-only Ancient Religious Site Okinoshima (Fukuoka) up for World Heritage status, Wikimedia

Tokyo May 6, 2017: A Unesco advisory body has recommended adding Japan’s island of Okinoshima, a men-only ancient religious site in Fukuoka prefecture, to its World Heritage list, cultural authorities announced on Saturday.

The advisory body, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), notified Japan of its decision late Friday night, The Japan Times quoted the authorities as saying.

It is likely to be endorsed at a meeting of the Unesco World Heritage Committee in Krakow, Poland, in July.

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If approved as recommended, the island, which is part of the prefecture’s Munakata region, will be the 17th set of Japanese cultural assets to be granted World Heritage status.

Including natural heritage items and sites, the addition will see the total number of Japanese assets on the list rise to 21.

Okinoshima still follow strict taboos from ancient times, including the controversial ban on women from entering the island, reports The Japan Times.

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Men setting foot on the island are first required to strip all clothes and perform a cleansing ritual.

It was also the site of numerous rituals involving prayers for the safety of ships and successful exchanges with the people of the Korean Peninsula and China between the fourth and ninth centuries.

Some 80,000 artefact brought as gifts from overseas have been uncovered on the island, including gold rings from the Korean Peninsula and glass cup fragments believed to have come from Persia.

These items have all been designated as national treasures. (IANS)