The NHM’s News Letter vol.4

~From the postscript of the News Letter on 2nd August, of the Network for Historical Materials~

Atsushi Kawauchi, the chief secretariat officer of the Network for Historical Materials

I’m sending you the NHM’s News Letter vol.4.

The summer season has come, and the heavy rainfall is occurring in each place, which worries us. In the previous issue, we informed you about the extent of the damage by the No.6 typhoon, however, in this issue, we have to relate to you about the “heavy rainfall disasters in Fukushima and Niigata in July’. From 26th to 30th of July, the localised torrential downpours mainly hit Niigata and Fukushima, and there were 4 deaths, 3 remain missing, 18 houses were completely destroyed, 1 house partially destroyed and over 7000 homes were flooded. We extend to the victims and their families our heartfelt condolences, and express our deepest sympathies with those sufferers who are currently struggling in such harsh surroundings. We keenly hope their reconstruction as soon as possible.

At present, we, the Network for Historical Materials are gathering information and are contacting the Fukushima Network for Preserving Historical Materials and Niigata Relief Network for Historical Materials. With regard to the extent of the damage, we would like to update the latest information on our website.

The disaster-stricken areas were the area where the great flooded damage hit 7 years ago. Speaking of the situation 7 years ago, the flood damage occurs frequently in the Japanese Archipelago, and that year was when we had first started the rescue operations against the flooded damage. Moreover, as you already know, Fukushima prefecture was seriously damaged by the East Japan Earthquake and there is still no telling when the accident of nuclear plant will be fully resolved, so we feel sympathy for the situation in Fukushima.

Now we are trying to grasp the present condition from each area’s Network in the devastated areas, and as a necessity, we would like to respond to the sufferers requests by cooperating with each Network and make good use of our experiences which were accumulated over 7 years. If you have some information about the extent of the damage in the devastated area, please contact us or the Network in the field. Additionally, although you have already tackled the operation concerning the East Japan earthquake, we appreciate your continuous support for this flood damage.

In this volume, we introduced you to the activity about the ‘town archives, and the Earthquake Disaster’ in Kobe. We have widely found the movement in which people are trying to keep the records of the East japan Earthquake mainly in digital form such as photos and videos, and we anticipate that those ‘Earthquake Disaster Materials’ will grow exponentially in the devastated area.

There is a famous saying by E. H. Carr stating the answer to “the question ‘what is history’” is “an unending dialogue between the present and the past”. Whilst this disaster continues, I think it is important for us, the people concerned with the history and culture to open the window forward to not only between the ‘present’ and the ‘past’, but also to the ‘future’. Furthermore, we regard that collecting and preserving the ‘Earthquake Disaster Materials’ could be an opportunity for us at ‘present’ to start the dialogue with the ‘future’.

Hereafter, we would like to engage in the issue of the Earthquake Disaster Materials about the East Japan Earthquake by making use of our experiences since the Great Hanshin Earthquake, as we are the institution which has been handling the preservation for the historical materials.    

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

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