Our Efforts

Since the Hanshin-Earthquake occurred in 1995, we the Network for Historical Materials organised a total of around 800 members working as volunteers, and travelled around each effected area under the cooperation of Hyogo Prefecture. Through these activities, we could rescue 1500 boxes of historical documents and artefacts damaged by the earthquake. After 2000, we have undertaken to synthetically research the areas of Komagabayashi and Nishidai with the cooperation of Kobe City Monjokan.

We also emphasised the importance that the whole historical culture should be equally reconstructed in each afflicted area. For this reason, we twice held a symposium called “For community development by making use of historical culture” cooperating with various societies and communities. We made the appeal that it would be important to preserve not only documents but also artefacts and stone-made materials such as guide stones or Jizo statues.

Running from 1995 to 1998, under the sponsorship of Hyogo Prefecture and each community, we held the “Citizen’s open class” titled “Think of our History and Cultures” over 8 times. These lectures were held for encouraging and offering support to those affected people, and also conveying to them that local history along with their own culture would surely bring comfort to their hearts when they started to reconstruct their community. Furthermore, in the Higashinada area which was one of the most seriously damaged places, we supported their activities for developing the community’s sense of historical culture, by holding a series of lectures about Hyogo-tsu which was located in this area and used to be a prosperous port in medieval times.

In tandem with this, we have been trying to record the disaster of the Hanshin Earthquake itself, so we have been actively working with various associations about how to preserve our cultural heritage. Simultaneously, we have been working in several devastated areas whenever natural disasters have occurred.

At the event of the Taiwan Earthquake in October 1999, we visited the hit area, and told them of our own experiences. At both the West Tottori Earthquake in 2000 and the Hiroshima-Ehime Earthquake of 2001, we delegated our voluntary members to the disaster-stricken zones and supported the rescue and retrieval of those historical materials at risk or damaged. When the Miyagi Earthquake occurred in September 2003, we cooperated with local people and historical researchers who were working in the area, managing the arrangements of volunteers and accepting the financial support from the whole country on behalf of the region, acting as a support centre.

Now, we have started to be engaged in the new project which will rescue the historical materials due to this recent earthquake in Northern Japan.


About Nerwork for Historical Materials
A volunteer group for preserving Cultural Heritage suffered from natural disasters

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