The Breaking News of the present condition of Ibaraki Prefecture (2)

~Extracts from an e-mail from a member living in Ibaraki prefecture~

–The present condition in the disaster-stricken area

 Just after the quake, because media such as television and newspapers mainly covered the Tohoku area which was suffered severe destruction, information on the situation in Ibaraki prefecture was extremely limited. Afterwards, broadcasts on the circumstances in Ibaraki gradually increased. It was obvious that the damage in the northern area of the prefecture by the Tsunami and the flooding in the Rokko area were most serious. According to the personal inspection, the conspectus situation is as follows;

 (1) The northern area of the prefecture

In Kitaibaraki City, the Hirakata Port which has been open since early modern times was gravely damaged by the great Tsunami. It has already been confirmed that well-known archives were washed away. From the Port to the Higashimachi area located by the coastline, we could see that a lot of houses were partially or completely destroyed. However, the damage in old post towns and the other communities along the Hama Highway was relatively slight such as cracked walls, collapsed stone-fences, or fallen roof tiles, because those towns were located on high and stable land.

Ootsu Fishing Port which is the biggest port in the city was completely destroyed. All of the buildings connected with the fishing port such as a fishermen’s cooperative association were also damaged. Almost all fishing boats were capsized or washed away. A large amount of fixed shore nets were washed up and scattered around. The area along the Hanawa-Ootsu route which runs from east to west was left in a very severe condition. However, it seemed that the Tsunami didn’t reach the shrines, temples and main villages which lay inland from the route. The historical museum ‘Yoosoro’ also suffered. The market place is now only debris and we could see some crushed Japanese traditional Fusuma(*1) there.

In Kawarago Port in Hitachi City, it could be seen that the guesthouses along the beach were destroyed by the Tsunami. From Kuji Port to Hitachi Port, houses and shops by the coastline were affected because the Tsunami flowed over Route 245.

Around the sand dune area in Tokai village, the roads were covered with sand due to the flooding so a lot of subsidence and bumps were evident. The great Torii gate of Daijingu shrine and the Chozuya(*2) structure of Kokuzoson also collapsed. The banks of Shinkawa River were heavily damaged.

In Isozaki Fishing Port of Hitachinaka City, guesthouses and hotels located from the dune area to the port were slightly harmed. The old village at the back of the port was probably safe. Hiraiso seaside is safe because the Tsunami didn’t flow over the road by the coastline. On the reclaimed ground in Nakaminato port, the reconstruction of the market place has clearly advanced, although it was grave damage had been reported. It seemed that the Tsunami flooded the back roads of the market place, but it didn’t reach to more interior places or so-called old Nakaminato town which developed since medieval period. Ooarai Town was severely hit by the Tsunami because this town has developed on the lowland by the coastline, and some parts of the town were on reclaimed land. However, the old village which developed on the perch was completely safe as the Tsunami couldn’t reach there.

Anyway, as for the damaged museum and archive structures, we have not received any information except about 2 museums.

 (2) Rokko area

Entering Kashima City from the north and going south along Route 51 which runs beside the coastline, we could see a lot of telegraph poles located in seaside villages were no longer upright. In the Nagasu area in Kamisu City along Route 124, all of the signboards of supermarkets and restaurants had fallen down. Many houses and shops were subsided, and driveways and pavements were also cracked and bumped because of the liquefaction that occurred on the reclaimed ground. The House Yamamoto in Okunoya, Kamisu City is a nationally designated structure being an old fisherman’s residence whose wattle and daub was partially damaged by the Tsunami. The drifted items were scattered all around the residence. The Tsunami which entered from Kashima Port flooded out the place, and poured into this area which lies between there and Gounoike pond.

The Hinode area which is on the reclaimed ground in Itako City has telegraph poles which were seen to be awfully slanted even from a distance. The area along Route 51 and prefectural Road 5 in the city did not suffer so much. On the other hand, in the riverside district along Hitachi-Tonegawa River, the telegram poles were uneven and roads cracked heavily.

The pavements in front of the Ebisawa in Ibaraki town were loosened by the liquefaction, and the manholes had been lifted approximately 50-60cm up from the roads. Such a situation were also seen in many communities.

We didn’t receive any information about the damaged museums and archives. (to be continued)

*1 Fusuma(襖): sliding door made from paper and wood, used to partition off rooms in a Japanese house. Sometimes they have beautiful traditional pictures, or old historical documents on the underside to strengthen against being torn part.

*2 Chozuya(手水舎): The Chozuya is an area in Shrines and Temples where the visitors wash their hands and rinse their mouth before praying for purifying themselves.


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

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