The Present Condition about Ibaraki Prefecture

(an e-mail from a member of Miyagi Network for Preserving Historical Materials, living in Tokyo, 21st March)

This is a report that went around Mito City in Ibaraki prefecture and looked at the present condition on Saturday 19th.
On the way to Mito City by highway bus, I saw subsidence and debris still remaining throughout the highway. Although I had often visited Mito City by bus, it was the first experience that the bus rolled up and down many times. It made me realize that we face a very extraordinary situation.
Arriving at the South gate of Mito Station, there was a blockade because of the destroyed building (now it is clear to go through though). As same as broadcast on TV, it seemed that the station yard was terribly damaged, the signboards were hanging down and platforms were broken here and there. In Mito City, walking around the Simoichi area, I saw innumerable houses where concrete-block walls had collapsed, roofs where tiles had fallen down and were covered by vinyl sheets, and windowpanes which were smashed. Looking indoors, almost all lockers had fallen forward, piano on casters had moved to the side more than 50cm, so I could see the quake was tremendous. The roads were also cracked and bumped, but later according to the local people, they had been repaired better than before. Fortunately, all lifelines have already been recovered in the Shimoichi area, so they can eat a hot meal and take a bath. Their lives are gradually going back to normal, although aftershocks are still occurring frequently.

In relation to the damage caused to warehouses, shrines and temples, I will report it with the following photos. It is about the situation in the Simoichi area. (Following photos are all from the homepage of Network for Historical Materials)

(1)The grave stones for those who left no relatives behind, which are often seen at the corner of Japanese temples, have fallen down one after another, and seven out of ten.

(2)The garden lantern located at the gate of Yoshida Shrine is completely broken.

(3)The warehouse’s wall has cracked in two .

In spite of being relatively lucky it is expected that cultural heritage may be considerably damaged in this area.

[Other information]
1.Ibakraki Prefectural Museum of History
No damage to the possessed documents. However as the exhibition space and other facilities were damaged, the special exhibition “Yorishige(*1) and Mitsukuni(*2)” are suspended. The exhibits are all safe. The Museum is closed until the end of April.
2.A tangible cultural property “Rokkakudo(六角堂)” that is famous in connection with Tenshin Okakura(*3), which used to be in Itsuura, located on the Pacific coastline of Ibaraki prefecture, was destroyed and vanished by the Tsunami.

(*1) Yorishige: Yorishige Tokugawa(徳川 頼重). 1622-1695. One of the grandsons of Ieyasu Tokugawa who founded the Tokugawa shogunate, and Mitsukuni’s elder brother. The first feudal lord of Takamatsu domain in Shikoku Island.
(*2) Mitsukuni: Mitsukuni Tokugawa(徳川 光圀). 1628-1701. Had a large influence on the Tokugawa shogunate, and started to compile a huge Japanese history “Dai Nihon Shi (大日本史 Great History of Japan)”, and it was completed after 250 years. Well-known as a character of “Mito Komon”, the famous TV costume drama (English title is “The elder Lord of Mito”).
(*3 )Tenshin Okakura(岡倉 天心): 1862-1913. A Japanese scholar of arts, who contributed to preserving Japanese arts and culture, and well-known as the author of “The Book of Tea”.

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

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