The Present Condition of Ibaraki Prefecture (Updated Edition) ~Part4

4.The Conclusion

With regard to the present condition of historical materials, there is no doubt that they are facing a serious crisis. Due to the lack of information, the lack of power, and the many influences of the accident at the nuclear plant in Fukushima, the combination of these factors brought us to a standstill just after the East Japan Earthquake. The regret that we could have possibly done something more to help still remains.

Although the Tsunami brought tremendous damage to the coastline in the northern area of Ibaraki prefecture, we can see the similarity that many old villages and towns did not suffer. For instance, in Ooarai and Nakaminato, the market places in the port and the developments which were newly constructed on reclaimed ground were hit by the Tsunami. On the other hand, the old villages which included the shrines and temples were all safe from the Tsunami and the damage only resulted from the quake. In the Hirakata area, shrines and temples located on the high land which surrounds the port town are all safe. The Tsunami also didn’t reachthe old main street which has had traditional houses and shops since early modern times, by contrast, the new towns were seriously damaged by the tsunami, although the altitude didn’t seem so different from that of the old town. Ootsu Fishing Port had developed up to the present day as an extensively constructed port, so the port towns on the coastline along the Hanawa-Ootsu Port Route were gravely damaged by the Tsunami. However, by well-observing the extent of the damage, we could note the fact that old houses, shrines and temples were dotted in higher locations than in the other village, so we expect that probably those  structures were not harmed seriously.

In the southern area of the prefecture, the Yamamoto Residence in Kamisu City was damaged by the Tsunami. This reason is ascertained from the fact that the Tsunami which entered into the Kashima Port, flooded out and struck the centre of the village next to the Port area. Kashima Port had developed an artificial port which was dug out from the banks of Gounoike pond and then opened to the sea, so it should be intrinsically impossible for the Okunoya village which includes the Yamamoto Residence was hit by the Tsunami because there was a huge pond between the village and the sea. This case could be said to be a man-made  disaster caused by the extensive land-reforms in the present day.

We have already received information that a few old documents were washed away. Although it cannot be over-generalised, we noticed that the locations of the old villages and towns with a substantial history of settlement could well have been chosen in order to avoid the Tsunami flooding. In addition, it is expected that those land sites were decided by hierarchical powers. In the “Miyagi Network News vol.98” which was sent by Prof Arata Hirakawa in the devastated  area, he mentioned that there was the possibility that the old post towns along Oshu Highway were planned and formulated based on the experience of the Keicho Earthquake in 1611. In agreement with his opinion, I also expect that the experiences which had been built up over many years had provided the villagers with the idea of how the safety of their villages could be preserved and thus determined the locations of the old fishing villages in Ibaraki Prefecture.

From now on, we expect that the actual and detail condition about the extent of damage will be gradually revealed, simultaneously we sincerely hope that the historical materials which had been preserved by the old family, shrines and temples which were located in the old villages which had been formulated based on the wisdom of the history would be not damaged so much. It will be necessary to consider the relations between the old villages and affected area, at the same as we will carry out the rescue operation of historical materials. I anticipate that it will be important that we will demonstrate the historical experiences of each community on the hazard map as a source of information. In any case, this manuscript is only the breaking news in which I try to send the actual circumstances in Ibaraki Prefecture integrated from the view of rescuing materials to the historical researchers in the whole country. The major part of  the information is rbased on my own experiences and personal inspections. Therefore, I appreciate you to understand that this report will be unnecessary if more detail and accurate information will appear hereafter.

(The end)

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

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