Miyagi Network News vol. 161

~Participation in the preservation operation for materials affected by the Tsunami~

Miya Sato, Research Lecturer of Sociology, Hitotsubashi University

 The 3 days from 22nd to 24th of February, I participated in the preservation operation for damaged historical materials, as the activity of the sociology department of Hitotsubashi University. It was organised by Professor Koichi Watanabe, National Institute of Japanese Literature, and our voluntary members were mainly from among the postgraduate students whose expertise were from ancient to contemporary history, belonging to the seminars of Prof Hisashi Watanabe and Prof Masaki Wakao. I myself have been considering what should I do as a researcher of History and have been acting as much as I can; however I did not have any opportunity to join such operations. For this reason, I immediately accepted the offer.

 On the 22nd, we met at floor 11 of the building for all humanities research of Tohoku University. After the outline of the Miyagi Network’s activities and the preservation operations were explained to us by Prof Hirakawa, I started our work. Our tasks were to select and clean up the historical materials damaged by the Tsunami. As for the procedure, Mr Masashi Amano and the skilled voluntary workers of the Miyagi Network instructed us.

 The historical materials, which we treated, were from a house which was located in Sumiyoshi-cho, Ishinomaki City, and included an array of various documents, such as modern times documents in Chinese ink and books from during war-time. Because they were waterlogged by the Tsunami, covered with mud and left 10 months after the disaster, some had  turned to mould. In addition, some were in a situation that each document was tightly adhered and were difficult to peel off. Our series of procedures were to remove the dirt caused by the mould and mud, by using pallets and brushes, to spray ethanol in order to prevent further mould growing, and to select the documents which could be repaired or were unlikely to be restored. As we continued the operation, we paused to recognise the interests and preciousness of each documents, and it in turn led to realising their importance.

 On the second and third day, each of us kept carrying out the operations. After finishing our tasks on the second day, we could have an opportunity to listen to the presentation by Prof Hirakawa, concerning the process of establishing the Miyagi Network of Preserving Historical Materials, the advance of their activities and the rescuing operations for the materials damaged by the Eastern Japan Earthquake, and the research results by using newly discovered materials, which were rescued by them.

 By the participation, we could take away a sort of a sense of fulfilment from our contribution to their activity in some extent. Simultaneously, as we were impressed by the Miyagi Network’s efforts, we keenly felt the necessity that we had to be more conscious for not only the response when the great disaster happened, but also for preserving the documents, which we treated daily. I believe that each member could have a valuable experience. I would like to express our gratitude to the Miyagi Network for Preserving Historical Materials.


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



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

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