The Present Situation in the ‘Hamadori Area’ in Fukushima Prefecture

The article from the blog of the Fukushima Network for Preserving for Historical Materials

 —The activities in Fukushima

While the rescuing activities of historical materials in each devastated area have started, we are gradually receiving a lot of opinions stating that they cannot see how we are to conduct the rescuing. One of the reasons why we cannot carry out anything is, of course, that we don’t have much experience of such a critical situation, so we can do nothing but appologise. However, our circumstances are different from the other damaged areas, because our ‘disaster’, that is the invisible radiation caused by the accident of the nuclear plant, it still continuing. We are now in fear and it is one of the biggest obstacles in the way of rescuing our treasure. Moreover, the people concerned with cultural properties also have to engage in the work measuring the radiation rays. Please understand our present situation.

Anyway, the industrial destruction in Fukushima is not only to agriculture and fishing. Our path to reconstruction is in an extremely serious situation.

—The situation in the Hamadori(*1) area

This is a report about that information we can grasp at the moment about the Hamadori area.

 [Iwaki City] A part of the northern area in this city is assigned as an evacuation perimeter. We got this information from Mr. ‘W’ living in Iwaki City.

 (1) The coastline area such as Onahama and Ena communities were seriously damaged by the Tsunami.

(2) Such damage is also seen in the communities not located by the coastline.

(3) Although both of the xxx family who owns the xxx house archives as designated property and as the xxx family who possess the modern archives are now taking shelter, their archives are all safe.

(4) The Archaeological Museum is safe, and the historical administrative archives are also safe. Some pottery was broken though.

Except for the influence of the quake and the Tsunami, Iwaki City has suffered from the excessive shortage of energy and supplies because the emergency relief teams don’t come to our town due to the negative rumour about the radiation rays. In the present condition, residents who live inside of 30km of the nuclear plant must evacuate or stay indoors, so that it is impossible to visit the affected houses who own historical materials and rescue them. Beyond that, this is the information about the institutions for cultural affairs.

(1) The electrical facilities of the prefectural sea museum “Aquamarine Fukushima” in Onahama, Iwaki City were damaged by the Tsunami. The energy from the emergency dynamos has already depleted, so the oxygen supply to the aquariums and temperature management cannot be carried out. Although almost all of the fish are getting weak, there is no solution.

(2) The following institutions are closed due to the damage; The Iwaki City Ammonite Centre, Iwaki City Archeological Museum, Sinpei Kusano(*2) Memorial Literature Museum in Iwaki City, The house in which Sinpei Kusano was born, Iwaki City ‘Kurashi no denshogo (いわき市暮らしの伝承郷 it can be translated as ‘a village for transmitting traditional living’)’, The Nakoso-no-Seki(*3) Literature Museum of Lifelong Learning Plaza in Iwaki City.

(3) Iwaki art culture community centre ‘Arios’ became an evacuation station, so the performances and facility-lending are suspended until the end of May.

[ Hirono Town ] Located inside of the 30km zone from the nuclear plant. The headquarters for disaster control moved to Oono Town in Tamura Country. The isolated inpatients have started to be transferred to other hospitals which are out of the prefecture.

 [ Naraha Town ] Located inside of the 20km zone from the nuclear plant. The residents have been evacuated between Iwaki City and Aizumisato Town.

 [ Tomioka Town and Kawauchi Town ] Located inside of the 20-30km zone from the nuclear plant. The residents have been evacuated to Kooriyama City. The joint headquarters for disaster control have been established in the “Big Palette Fukushima (it is a sort of event centre)”. The residents in Tomioka Town partially moved to Sugito Town in Saitama Prefecture, which is the twin town of Tomioka Town.

 [ Ookuma Town ] Located inside of the 10km zone from the nuclear plant. The headquarters for disaster control moved to Funabiki Town in Tamura City. The residents were evacuated to Tamura City, Miharu Town, and other places.

[Futaba Town ] Located inside of the 10km zone from the nuclear plant. The headquarters for disaster control evacuated to Saitama City in Saitama Prefecture. The residents were also moved to Saitama Prefecture or other areas.

 [ Katsurao Town ] Located inside of the 30km zone from the nuclear plant. The town office functions and some of the residents were moved to Aizusakashita Town.

[ Namie Town ] Located inside of the10-20km zone from the nuclear plant. The town office functions were moved to Towa branch in Nihonmatsu City.

[ Minami-Soma City ] Located inside of the 20-30km zone from the nuclear plant. We got information from the municipal officer. The damage from the Tsunami was serious. The residents are genuinely distressed by the rumoured damage of the nuclear plant, so the municipal office has started to transfer the people who hope to evacuate. Although the curators and municipal officers who have a duty for cultural affairs are all safe, they have to be present at the evacuation station to take care of the remaining citizens. They are so busy that they cannot investigate the isolated living residents, and to confirm the condition of historical materials. In addition, the structure of the cultural centre was damaged.

 [ Soma City ] This information was from the Compilation Room for the town history.

(1) The structure of the room, personal computers, data and staff are all safe.

(2) With regard to the Soma Museum for history and folklore, the ceiling has fallen, the glass of display case were broken, and some of the exhibits were destroyed. There is no telling when the reconstruction will start. In the repository, all lighting has failed, the books were scattered and bookshelves had fallen down. It is expected that it will be take a lot of time to grasp the present condition in the repository.

 (3) The archives of the Soma house are safe.

[ Shinchi Town ] The damage by the Tsunami was very serious.

(1) Kankaido(*4) was washed away by the Tsunami.

(2) The library was affected by the Tsunami.

For the present, that’s all. Due to the accident at the nuclear plant, there is no opportunity to rescue the historical materials and to reconstruct our town. The situation is really serious.

*1 Hamadori(浜通り): Hamadori is an area’s name which indicates that the east part of Fukushima divided its land in three zones, because the shape of this prefecture is long from side to side.

*2 Sinpei Kusano(草野心平): 1903-1988. Japanese famous poet. Born in Iwaki City.

*3 Nakoso-no-seki(勿来関): One of the barrier stations in the Tohoku area since ancient times. Although the accurate address is still not clear, a lot of Japanese poets loved to depict it since antiquity. Fukushima Prefecture pointed out that this barrier station must have been in Sekida, Nakoso Town, in this prefecture, and created a sightseeing spot.

 *4 Kankaido(観海堂): The old Japanese traditional house constructed as a village school in May in 1872. It was established by the villagers themselves before the enactment of the public educational system by the Meiji Government in September 1872.

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

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