About this Website
At the beginning of the Meiji era, Japan began to rapidly modernize in order to catch up with Western countries. We invited many public works engineers, such as Johannis de RIJKE (Dutch) and Henry Spencer PALMER (British), to Japan and received engineering guidance from them. This gave rise to a great number of young engineers who helped develop the social infrastructure in Japan and other Asian countries, thereby improving the lives of people throughout Asia.
Japan was reduced to ashes in the Second World War. By accepting huge financial assistance from the World Bank, however, we were able to develop new highways, high-speed railways, dams, and other social infrastructure. As part of post-war reparations, we also helped Asian countries to develop their social infrastructure from early on. Through these experiences, we realized how indispensable social infrastructure is to economic development. Thus we are now collecting and archiving valuable materials related to these social infrastructure projects. These archives will help us to understand the wisdom and experiences of that time and serve as guiding principles for the future efforts of the Japan Society of Civil Engineers.
To celebrate the approaching 100th anniversary of the founding of the Japan Society of Civil Engineers, we have created this booklet introducing some of the projects from the archives. We hope that you can learn from these pioneers in civil engineering and how they contributed to not only social infrastructure development but also personnel training. We also hope that you will become aware of the need to continue developing these international infrastructure archives.
102nd President, Japan Society of Civil Engineers
The 100th anniversary of the founding of the Japan Society of Civil Engineers is approaching. To commemorate the occasion, we are collecting and archiving personal testimonials, written reports, blueprints, photos, etc., from typical social infrastructure projects in developing countries that our country has supported in the post-war years. We asked the directors and former presidents of the Japan Society of Civil Engineers and many other prominent people in the field of public works to select five memorial social infrastructure development projects. We then interviewed each person fully involved in each project; and collected materials relating to each project; and archived them. Summaries of the projects were drafted by the Infrastructure International Cooperation and Contribution Archives Working Group (WG) and compiled in this booklet. To draft these summaries, the WG considered the following two points.
1) How was our country able to plan and implement infrastructure development projects in developing countries while facing extremely harsh conditions at home during the post-war reconstruction period?
2) How did social infrastructure development promote technology transfers and technical training as well as capacity building? What roles were played by the Japan Society of Civil Engineers?
Development of the international infrastructure archives has only just begun and will continue for some time. We hope that this booklet will give you an understanding of these efforts.
In closing, we would like to thank the people who permitted us to interview them, provided valuable materials, etc.
Infrastructure International Cooperation and Contribution Archives WG
100th year memorial project executive committee
Japan Society of Civil Engineers