“Miyagi Network News” vol.97

Already two weeks has passed since the Quake.

The Miyagi Network for Preserving Historical Materials’ activities are as follows:

・We are now considering how to establish a rescue system for historical materials and cultural heritage with Miyagi prefecture and the Government Agency for Cultural Affairs. In regards to this matter, the Government Agency has announced that “we will set up the Executive for rescuing heritage, and preserve all of them without distinction whether they are designated or not-designated properties as targets needing rescuing,” and the Government named it the “Project for rescuing cultural heritage damaged by the East Japan Earthquake”. According to them, they will make a request for cooperation from The Japan Society for the Conservation of Cultural Property, The Japanese Council of Art Museums, The Japan Society of Archives Institutions, and other institutions of history and arts. We expect that the Government Agency will appeal to more widespread institutions, so we ask for your cooperation.

・Now we have received many e-mails expressing the wish of many of you from throughout Japan to rush to the devastated area and help us. However, at present we cannot get the petrol that we need, so there is nothing for us to do but wait Our future plan is firstly to confirm the degree of damage of each historical material and cultural heritage, and to secure the particular materials for which there is the necessity to preserve. After that, we should manage how many members will be sent to each area, and make a schedule. When we reach this stage, we will ask you to participate in our activities.

・The targets for rescuing will not only be privately-owned property, but also from the public institutions for preserving materials. We got  information that the Rias Ark Museum of Art in Kesennuma City and the Training & Preserving Centre of Local Culture (郷土文化保存伝習会) in Minamisanriku were on higher ground so they were not flooded. However Ishinomaki Culture Centre on the coastline was swallowed by the great Tsunami. Gazing on the aerial photographs, it was destroyed and the remains scattered, with nothing left of the house around the centre except for the structures which were constructed from reinforced concrete.  Actually, the safety and whereabouts of some staff from this centre are still uncertain. We simply pray for their safe evacuation without incident.

This culture centre possessed archives which were collected in the Ishinomaki City area, in addition, it stored the Mouri Collection which consists of more than tens of thousands of artefacts and material that the deceased-Mr. Soshichiro Mouri who lived in the City collected over a 70 year period. Without going to the field, there is no way to confirm where they are and in what condition. If they have survived, we want to try to gather them and remove from the scene as much as possible. We will treat the other residences on the coastline which have historical materials in the same way

・Thus, we anticipate that innumerable historical material damaged by water from the Tsunami will be discovered in  the devastated area. Therefore, some time ago we requested the municipal section for protection of cultural properties to ask some fisheries and frozen food companies to lend their refrigeration plant as a temporary place of safekeeping for the damaged materials. We have already gotten the officer’s reply that they are trying to seek such companies although it is be uncertain whether we can find such a place and obtain its use or not. If we can secure the space there, the damaged documents will be able to be transferred there one by one, after receiving some treatment by a vacuum freezing dryer in our Historical Museum.

・We are updating the map of the Tsunami flooded area on the Miyagi Network Homepage. Based on the aerial photographs taken after the Tsunami by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan, Yuichiro Ebina, the member of  the Miyagi Network drew it up by using the map creation software ”Kashmir 3D”. Although the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan has also disclosed the conspectus map of the Tsunami flooded area, our map distinguishes every 1m contour line by using different colours, so you can make the connection between flooded areas and landforms on it. On the whole, we can see that areas 2 metres above sea level are flooded, and depending on the area, sometimes 3 to 4 metres above area also flooded. Please make use of it (http://www.hanadataz.jp/td/saigai2011/map_index/index.htm).

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

3 Responses to “Miyagi Network News” vol.97

  1. alegre danielle says:

    We had planned to visit the Andrew Wyeth Exhibition at the Miyagi Art Museum. Has the Museum suffered from the tsunami ?
    We feel very concerned about Japan and Sendai. Thank you for any information.
    Sincerely,
    Danielle Alegre from Paris, France

    • Thank you for your comment and concern.
      As for the Miyagi Museum of Art, the visitors, the exhibits, the collected properties, the deposited properties, and staff were all safe on the day of the quake, although the museum is now closed from the view of visitors’ safety. For this reason, probably as you have already known, the Andrew Wyeth Exhibition was called off. However, the museum is scheduled to open at the beginning of May.

      • alegre danielle says:

        Thank you so much for your quick and complete answer !
        That is such a relief …
        We wish you good luck with the challenge and difficult times that lay ahead.
        Most sincerely,
        Danielle Alegre

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