Ibaraki Network News Letter vol.11

~Our Rescue Manual for Damaged Historical Materials~

In the previous volume, we informed you about the rescue activity in the group of whitewashed warehouses in the Hirakata area. After that, we received a request to produce a kind of rescue manual for the Ibaraki Network for Preserving Historical Materials. We haven’t had enough experience yet and the manual has also been insufficient as yet; however we would like to introduce it as a part of the information exchange with the people who carry out the rescue operation in each place. Please let me know your opinions.

[The Rescue Manual from the whitewashed warehouse]

1.The confirmation of the present condition

  • Making a ‘document for recording present conditions’ for every floor and in every area. On the document there will be a sketch of the collection’s condition on each shelf and group, with a number attached with masking tape e.g. Level1-South-(1)
  • Taking photos of each collection along with the document

2.The record of the whitewashed warehouse

  • Carrying out the investigations of the owner of the whitewashed warehouse including the address, the contact number, name, Yago(*), the living duration, the period when it was built, the job in the old days and now, and the matrimonial influence as far as they know.
  • Recording the Japanese inked notes which are written on the beams and pillars, and taking photos of them.
  • Taking bird’s-eye photos of the warehouse, sketching it, and recording the rough scale.

3.Taking out the historical materials

  • With regard to the materials which will be taken out, we are making priorities among the owners, however basically we will choose the documents which involve the hand-written information(e.g.old archives, old documents, accounts, notes, certificates of land title), the artefacts which have hand-written letters on the surface or wrapping papers (e.g.lacquer wares and porcelains), the Fusuma/Byobu which contains the undercoated paper which has textual data, and arts, folk-cultural artefacts and old photos which have a historical value.
  • Attaching the branch number to each material, taking each group or shelf out to confirm the number and transferring them to the temporary workshop space. Writing down the material number and the name of the group on the ‘document for recording present conditions’. e.g. Level1-South-(1): The modern time’s document, 20 pieces
  • Simply packing them with bubble sheets, putting in a cardboard box, or binding them with strings, and attaching the tag or sticker of the material number on each material or group.
  • Photocopying the ‘document for recording present conditions’, attaching the official text with a temporary receipt, and handing them out to the owners.

4.Transfer to the temporary space

  • Transferring the materials which have been packed to the temporary space
  • Making a stage with a vinyl sheet, and putting them in order of the material number.

5.The operation in the temporary space

  • Opening the packing, and removing the dust and dirt.
  • If the materials require more detailed information to be taken, taking photos of them and checking every little thing.
  • Putting them into the envelops or document boxes, and packing again.


  • Beforehand, confirming which materials will be preserved by the owner. At that time, explaining to the owners about the information of changing point after recording the ‘document for recording present conditions’.
  • Returning to the place where the owner designate.

~We appreciate your donations to the Ibaraki Network’s Activity~

The continuous activity for rescuing and preserving historical materials and cultural properties requires not only manpower but also financial support. We sincerely appreciate your donations which will be spent on purchasing supplies for tidying and preserving historical materials and utensils for the conservation operations of the old structures and taking Fusuma and Byobu(*2) to pieces, or managing the Ibaraki Network.

(NB: Anybody who wishes to donate to the Ibaraki Network, please leave your comment)

*Yago(屋号): A kind of family name. In the early modern times, people couldn’t have a surname except for the ruling class; however they needed a name for trading or simply distinguishing from others. Yago was used by such people for their convenience, and usually Yago were indicated their living place or trading products and so on, and ancestrally inherited.

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

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