Japan’s men-only island gets UNESCO heritage tag
What is in news?
- A men-only island in Japan where women are banned and male visitors must bathe naked in the sea before visiting its shrine, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- The tiny landmass of Okinoshima is permanently manned by a Shinto priest who prays to the island’s goddess, in a tradition that has been kept up for centuries.
- Limited numbers are permitted to land on the island in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) — this year it was 200 — for a yearly festival that lasts just two hours, but they must adhere to strict rules.
- Most importantly, they must be men, but they must also strip off and take a purifying dip in the ocean before they are allowed to set foot on the sacred ground of the shrine.
- Taputapuatea, a portion of the “Polynesian Triangle” in the South Pacific thought to be the last part of the globe settled by humans, to the list.
- It also added Britain’s Lake District — muse for artists from William Wordsworth to Beatrix Potter — and the Valongo wharf in Rio de Janeiro where slaves from Africa first arrived in Brazil.
- UNESCO’s World Heritage list includes over 1,000 sites, monuments and natural phenomena that are of “outstanding universal value” to humankind.
- It includes treasures such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the Taj Mahal in India, and the rock-carved city of Petra in modern-day Jordan.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris.
Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter
It is the successor of the League of Nations’ International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.
UNESCO has 195 member states and ten associate members.[
Most of its field offices are “cluster” offices covering three or more countries; national and regional offices also exist.