Miyagi Network News vol.154

~The Historical Symposium in Shiroishi, 12th December~

This is Daisuke Sato, a secretariat officer of the Miyagi Network for Historical Materials. Following is a report of the historical symposium held in White Cube, the Shiroishi City Centre for Cultural Activities and Sports in Miyagi Prefecture on 12th December. The title was ‘the Sengoku Period World in Minami Ouu Area —Discovery of the documents of Diplomacy by the Endo family, as a Sengoku Daimyo’.

[The Historical Symposium the Sengoku Period World in Minami Ouu Area —Discovery the documents of Diplomacy by Endo family, as a Sengoku Daimyo’]

The Endo Family’s ancestor is Motonobu Endo (1532-85). He was a senior statesman for Terumune Date (1544-85), who was the father of Masamune Date(*1). He took Kojuro Katakura(1557-1615) to meet Masamune, who was famed as a devoted senior statesman for Masamune. For this reason, the Endo family produced the successive chief retainers after the Sendai Domain was established.

The old archives of the Endo family have been inherited by the descendants living in Shiroishi City. Simultaneously, the archives of the Nakajima family, who were relatives of the Endo family and also a senior statesmen of the Sendai Domain, were passed down in the family. Among those, a number of undiscovered old archives written in the Sengoku Period(*2) remain. The Miyagi Network for Historical Materials has carried out the preservation activities for those family’s archives cooperated with the Shiroishi Board of Education and the Shiroishi Research Group for Old Archives, which is a group for local history. The activities were finished over 2 times by taking photos of all documents and placing them into envelopes made from acid-free paper. At present, the municipal office of Shiroishi City and the Shiroishi Research Group are proactive for continuing to make lists for those documents which amount to approximately 6,000. They were designated by Shiroishi City as cultural property on 11th March.

On the very day, 11th March, the East Japan Earthquake occurred. As disaster contingency, the municipal office held the rescue operation for these documents. During the activities, 100 pieces of the Endo family archives were newly confirmed in the whitewashed warehouse which once preserved the archives. They also contained the documents of the Sengoku Period; they are therefore conserved by the Shiroishi Board of Education.

This symposium, as a result of the series of our activities, was co-hosted by the Miyagi Network with the municipal office and institution concerned with preserving cultural properties. Because the symposium had once planned to hold immediately after finishing the second preserving activity, the people concerned feared whether or not they could have this symposium because of the Earthquake. However, due to the efforts made by the people concerned with the preparation room for establishing museum in Shiroishi City, it smoothly took place.

In the Symposium, 4 up-and –coming researchers of the Sengoku period reported their discoveries, and they also held the panel discussion which involved the participants in the hall. Throughout the reports, it was revealed that how the Lords in the Sengoku Period retained their family, or the differences of discipline strategies between Terumune Date and his son Masamune, or the community’s sense of unity which came from merger and acquisition between lords of each area.

On the day, the participants amounted to 384 and it was nearly a sell-out. There were the fans of history, amateurs from inside and outside of Shiroishi City, or Kurihara City where the Endo family had ruled in the Edo Period. Additionally, in Kurihara City, the Miyagi Network conserved many old documents in summer 2010, which were inherited by the vassal families.

As subsidiary exhibitions, the Shiroishi Castle museum introduces 10 old documents of the Endo family in the Sengoku Period until 18th December, and the Sendai City Museum present the documents collected by the City museum and the museum of Saito Hoonkai until 15th January. On 11th, the next day of the symposium, people concerned guided around the exhibition in the Sendai City, and about 50 participants eagerly listened to their story.

The old archives, which had been preserved, brought forth fruit, as a result of efforts by the municipal office and the passion of local people for history. The discovery and the conservation of the old archives generated the new local events, and people from inside and outside of community gathered around there. This made us reconsider the role of the specialist to preservation activities.

The Miyagi Network for Preserving Historical Materials will continue the activity in Shiroishi City as well. Furthermore, we would like to make good use of this experience to the other local community in devastated area.

*1 Masamune Date(伊達政宗): 1567-1636. at 18 years old, he succeeded to a house and after that obtained the present Tohoku area through battle. After the coming of the Tokugawa Shogunate, he became the first lord of the Sendai Domain.

*2 Sengoku Period (戦国時代): A division of Japanese history which spanned from around the latter half of the 15th century to approximately the former half of the 17th century.

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

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