Chairman of the Association of People from Wakayama Prefecture Living in Tokyo
Hiroaki Taniguchi was born in August 1948, and he lived in Wakayama City until he graduated from high school. After joining the Ministry of Construction (the present-day Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism) following his graduation from a university in Tokyo and serving in Ibaraki Prefecture, and in various departments of the Ministry headquarters, the Kinki and Chubu Regional Construction Bureaus and Regional Development Bureaus, and the National Land Agency, he served as the director of the Kinki Regional Development Bureau, the director of the Road Bureau, the Vice-Minister for Engineering Affairs, and as an administrative vice-minister. He retired from civil service in 2010. After serving as a professor at the Shibaura Institute of Technology’s Professional Graduate School and as the director of the Japan Institute of Country-ology and Engineering, he assumed his current position as the director of the Construction Industry Engineers Center. Since 2013, he has participated in various volunteer activities while serving as chairman of the Association of People from Wakayama Prefecture Living in Tokyo.
We live in a time of diverse values, but my hope is to discover and share a system of values that suits the Reiwa era. Nobody can live in isolation. It is desirable to value a compassionate heart that takes into account the needs of others and to help and support one another as we live together. The era name Reiwa, which comes from the Man’yoshu anthology of poetry, admonishes us to value the beauty of nature. The “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range” World Heritage has won high praise for sacred sites and pilgrimage routes set against the backdrop of the natural beauty of the Kii Mountains; for the mountains, rivers, ocean, waterfalls, and onsen that they encompass; and for the cultural landscape that includes the area’s human residents and their lifestyles. The Kumano Kodo, along with the Way of St. James in Spain, is one of just two roads that have been designated World Heritages. Roads do more than simply join regions; they also connect people in a way that transcends time and space. I hope that many people from Japan and around the world will visit Koyasan and Kumano in Wakayama Prefecture, a place of rich natural beauty and historical culture, and that they will experience physical and spiritual rebirth in the profound time and space of the Kumano Kodo so that they enjoy healthy, happy lives.