Miyagi Network News vol.158

~The rescue operation of the whitewashed warehouse in Sendai City~

This is Yuichi Ebina, a secretariat officer of the Miyagi Network for Preserving Historical Materials.

Time is changing from 2011 during which we dedicated our entire time to the Earthquake, to 2012 when the devastated areas have started to make their first steps to reconstruction. On the other hand, the demolition of houses in the inland area has rapidly progressed, and at the same time, we are hurriedly visiting each area every day.

In the middle of January, we received information that the whitewashed warehouse of an old family in Sendai City would be demolished. Therefore, the secretariat office of the Miyagi Network visited the warehouse for surveying. By the impact of the Earthquake, the roof tiles of the warehouse had fallen and the roof had holes in it. Although the demolition of another building also affected by the quake had already started, we asked to suspend the operation for the time being. On 18th January, We carried out the urgent survey and rescue operation.

The old house is located in front of a certain shrine in Sendai City, and had run a rice shop since the Edo period, and they stopped the business around 10 years ago. From the warehouse, we discovered the account books concerned with trading rice mainly between Meiji(*1) and Taisho(*2) period, and the Fusuma(*3) which had old documents as undercoated papers. A large amount of account books, which were made for every customer, informed us of the active condition of the shop and its trade.

Other than the documents, many apparatus, which were used in the shop, like the shop curtains and aprons which bore the name of the store were found, and the old tin toys were also discovered from the corner of the warehouse. Likewise, old paper fans which had the name of other shops in Sendai City printed on them were decorated on the wall. Among them, we could see some shop-names of shops there which recently closed business. This area once flourished as a temple town though, nowadays the circumstances around there changed a lot. However, from those objects we could recall the merchants who earnestly ran their businesses here.

Each devastated area has now progressively decided on its the reconstruction plan and design; it is therefore inevitable for damaged buildings to be demolished according to each plan. We wish the earliest possible reconstruction of the devastated areas, at the same time, we keenly hope to be given a bit more time for rescuing and preserving as many historical materials as we can.

 

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

*1 Meiji: A division of Japanese history which spanned from 1868 to 1912.

*2 Taisho: A division of Japanese history which spanned from 1912 to 1926.

*3 Fusuma: sliding door made from paper and wood, used to partition off rooms in a Japanese house. Sometimes they have beautiful traditional pictures, or old historical documents on the underside to strengthen against being torn part.

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

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