The Inspection of Chiba Prefecture

This is the report about the inspection of the extent of the damage in Chiba Prefecture on 10th April by Hiroshi Okumura who is Professor of Graduate School of Humanities, Kobe University and the representative of the Network for Historical Materials.


 On April 10th, Prof. Okumura and other members of the Network for Historical Materials, Mr.Kawauchi and Mr.Yoshikawa, inspected the damaged along with the curators working in Chiba and some postgraduate students who are researching regional affairs in Chiba. Our main esearching area was Iioka area in Asahi City (it was former-Iioka Town before the merger of municipalities), which was seriously affected by the Tsunami. This is the report written under the authority of Professor Okumura.

 (1) In Iioka area in Asahi City, the water height was over 4 metres (photo[1] Despite being 4.3 metres above sea level damaged houses were found everywhere.). At present, almost all houses have already been knocked down and levelled. (photo[2]). Although it seemed that the Tsunami which came over the bulwarks flooded hundreds of metres inland from the coastline, the debris has been cleaned up already and it was unclear where exactly the Tsunami hit. In this area, the DVD(3,000yen) which showed the Tsunami flooding Asahi City right after the quake was on sale, so we bought it. These images are available on the internet, so it is accessible to the public. As for preserving historical materials, in this flooded area, it seems difficult to take action because the cleanup had already been done. 

(2) In Tamasaki Shrine prefecturally designated tangible cultural property, even though the stone-made garden lanterns had fallen down (photo[3]The stone-made garden lanterns which had fallen over), the main shrine recorded no damage. However, the Tsunami flooded the shrineyard, and it reached near to the main shrine.

 (3) In the inland of Sosa City, there were a lot of damaged houses whose roofs were covered by vinyl sheets. According to Shozaburo Sato who is a curator in Noda City’s Kyodo Museum(野田市郷土博物館), as for the roofs’ damage, the conditions in Noda City were more serious. After talking with Mr. Sato, we remembered that the most serious damage becomes the criterion when people judge the degree of the damage, therefore, people hesitate to judge their damage to be serious compared with the damage of more serious areas. This restrained attitude was frequently observed when the Hanshin Earthquake occurred. For this reason, we strongly feel the necessity to appreciate situation in which they may underestimate the extent of the damage as being slight although they can be judged as being of the same magnitude as the Western Tottori prefecture earthquake in 2000 or the North Miyagi earthquake in 2003, where we carried out the preservation of communities’ historical heritage.

 (4) As for the Iioka History and Folklore Museum, although the Tsunami reached right in front of the entrance, it was built 1 metre up from the foundations, so that there was no damage by the Tsunami inside the building (photo[4] The entrance of the museum). Although someday we should inspect this museum again because we couldn’t enter the building.

(5) With regard to Katagai Fishing Port in Kujukuri Town, we could find alot of damage by the Tsunami such as, the scrapped nets which were piled up, the shutters of the refrigerator storehouse were broken, the substructures of the piers were damaged. However, there was no structures in the port area, we could not confirm whether historical material existed in this area or not (photo[5] The situation of Katagai Fish Port).

 (6) In the northern area of Chiba prefecture, although we couldn’t inspect there yet, we anticipate that there may be a lot of damaged houses and their roofs are already covered with vinyl sheets such as in this photo (photo[6] taken from the car window). From now on they may be damaged by the aftershocks, therefore we expect that the main houses and whitewashed warehouses will be repaired or scrapped in the coming years. We have to grasp the situation in advance, and treat accordingly before being scrapped.

NB: The following photos are all from the homepage of  the Network for Historical Materials.












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

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