Captive breeding programs will eventually allow the release of rare and endangered creatures into their natural habitat. The Itaipú project has demonstrated that, with careful management, even large-scale socioeconomic development is compatible with environmental conservation.

Further reading

Itaipú Binacional. 1981. The Itaipú Hydroelectric Project 12,600 MW: Design and Construction Features. Brasília: Itaipú Binacional.

Kohlhepp, Gerd. 1987. Itaipú: Basic Geopolitical, and Energy Situation. Braunschweig, Germany: F. Vieweg.

Itsukushima Shinto shrine

Miyajima, Japan

Miyajima is a mountainous island in Hiroshima Bay on Japan’s Seto Inland Sea, separated from the mainland by the 550-yard-wide (500-meter) Onoseto Strait. It has long been a sacred site of Shintoism, and renowned for the Itsukushima shrine, built on piles over the water and dedicated to three sea goddesses, Ichikishima-Hime-no-Mikoto, Tagori -Hime, and Tagitsu-Hime. The entire precinct comprises an inner shrine of thirty-seven axially disposed buildings and an outer shrine of nineteen more. The inner sanctuary, the intermediate sanctuary, the hall of worship, the spectacular O-Torii (Grand Gate), several secondary temples, and drama and dance stages are linked by wide covered corridors and galleries known as Kairo. All the timber is finished with vermilion lacquer. The Japanese government has named six of the buildings as National Treasures; the rest have been recognized as Important Cultural Assets. The shrine was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1996, and it has been described as one of the great accomplishments of the Shinden-zukuri architectural style of the Heian period (a.d. 794–1184). With a backdrop of mountains and built on tidal land that at high tide gives it the appearance of serenely floating on the sea, the Itsukushima shrine is a magnificent achievement of harmonizing architecture and nature.


Itsukushima Shinto shrine, Miyajima, Japan; architect(s) unknown, 593–1875. The O-Torii gate (1874–1875) at low tide.

Itsukushima is thought to have been first constructed by Saeki Kuramoto in a.d. 593, but the earliest historical record dates from 881. It was enlarged in 1168, when Taira-no-Kiyomori was governor of Aki Province, and the Taira clan began to worship there. Fire caused damage early in the thirteenth century, and it is likely that the consecutive restorations included changes to the organization of the buildings. The shrine for the Guest Deity (Sessha Marodo-jinja) was constructed in 1241. The buildings were again restored after being damaged by a typhoon in 1325, since which time the layout has been little changed. By the late twelfth century, the influence of Itsukushima was waning, and by the mid-fourteenth century the buildings had fallen into disrepair. After the warlord Mori Motonari gained control of Hiroshima in 1555, the shrine was restored to its former glory. He commissioned many of the present buildings, including the main sanctuary, in 1571, remaining faithful to the Heian style. Although there are slight stylistic variations in the details—inevitable