The Information about the Present Condition and the Event

~From the blog on 13th August of the Fukushima Network for Preserving Historical Materials~

 1.The recent condition concerning the heavy rainfall disaster in Niigata and Fukushima

So as to grasp the present conditions of the historical materials affected by the heavy rainfall disaster at the end of July, we inspected around Mishima-machi and Kanayama-machi with the cooperation of the local board of education on 8th August. There are some cases that the historical sites which involved the buried properties were eroded, however, we could grasp the fact that the houses and the facilities which had preserved the old archives or other materials were safe from the soaking. As for the Tadami-machi which are located in the headwaters, we received the information that they were all safe.

As of the present, there is no case of the old archives which have been recorded in the lists being damaged by the disaster. Some areas have a shortage of voluntary workers for the retrieval. As for the detail, please see the website of the Japan National Council of Social Welfare.

2.The present condition about the non-designated properties in Date City

We got the information from the local people that a part of ‘Iwajizo(it is the medieval ‘Magaibutsu’, means Buddhist images which were carved on the rock cliff) which is located on the Hirose River, In Yanagawa-machi, Date City had fallen due to the Earthquake on 11th March. The part which fell was adjacent to the railway of the Abkuma Express Line.

The ‘Gorinto (a kind of the memorial tower for the Buddhism)’was carved on it and is considered as the important site related to the Toshoji Temple which had a connection with the Date family, the head of the Sendai Domain. However, this site wasn’t designated. We will inform of it to the institution concerned.

3. The information of the Events

(1)Katsushika City Museum; the briefing session for the East Japan Earthquake

On 20th August, the briefing session for the East Japan Earthquake will be held in Katsushika City Museum. The speakers who have a connection will report the present condition of Minamisoma City and Futaba-machi, which are affected by the radiation’s influence.

(2)The 6th Conference for the Northern Japanese Castle in Early Modern Time; the briefing session for the Japanese Castle damaged by the East Japan Earthquake

On 21th August, the brief session for the Japanese Castle damaged by the East Japan Earthquake will be held in the 6th Conference for the Northern Japanese Castle in early modern times. The meeting place is the Sendai City Museum in Miyagi Prefecture. In this session, citizens, researchers and the repair specialists will share the present condition of the Castles in the devastated area, which have been in the core of the community development, and will discuss how to make good use of it for their upcoming activities for the reconstruction and urban improvement.

4.Other information

In the Special Meeting of the National Museum of Japanese History “Inquiring to the Museum in the devastated area” on 30th July, and the research meeting in the Fukushima Shigakukai(Fukushima Research Association for History) on 7th August, we reported about the present situation and problems of the rescue operation for the historical materials in Fukushima Prefecture. Many people who came to the meeting gave us kind words. We would like to express our gratitude for all of them.

The Information about the Heavy Rainfall Disaster in Fukushima

~From the blog on August 4th of the Fukushima Network for Preserving Historical Materials~

 The inspection by the members of the Fukushima Prefectural Museum has revealed the present damage condition caused by the heavy rainfall in Niigata and Fukushima Prefectures from 29th to 30th of July.

Some of the areas’ state is still uncertain because the local downpour tore the roads and railways into shreds, therefore we cannot confirm the safety of the historical materials. In addition, the villages where only the elderly live were seriously damaged, so we anticipate that the reconstruction will be extremely difficult. Moreover, there are some cases in which the people who ran away from the radiation evacuation zone have to now evacuate from the rainfall disaster again. The following is the extent of the damage which has already been revealed as of today.

[Tadamimachi] The whitewashed warehouse for the old archives, which was privately possessed, was flooded, however those historical documents were safe because they had been preserved on the first floor. The other historical documents were also safe due to the fact that all of them were conserved in the municipal office building.

[Kanayamamachi] We haven’t confirmed any damage about the cultural properties as of present.

[Mishimamachi] Because the localised downpour ate away at the soil, the broken pieces of the pottery were scattered in the town sites. These were then partially collected by the people concerned. The damage to the other cultural properties hasn’t been confirmed yet.

[Yanaizumachi] As of present, we haven’t confirmed any damage to the cultural properties.

[Showamura] As of present, no damage to the cultural properties has been reported.

[Aizusakashitamachi] The area of Katakado and Funado were damaged by the rainfall, however, the evacuees have already returned home now. The paddy fields and other places were covered with water. As of the present, the report of damage to the cultural properties hasn’t reached us.

[Kitakata City] Takasoto area (especially, around Ogino Soteijo) was affected. As of present, we haven’t been reported of any damage to historical materials.

 

100 days After the East Japan Earthquake

~From the blog on June 20th of the Fukushima Network for Preserving Historical Materials~

June 18th was the day when 100 days passed after the East Japan Earthquake.

The following is the report about the present condition in Fukushima Prefecture and the upcoming activities.

On June 17th, with the officer who took charge of the lifelong learning in Iidate Village board of education, the former officer who worked compiling the Iidate village history, and the vice president of the council for the Iidate Village’s cultural properties as the observers, we transferred hundreds of old archives in Iidate Village to the Fukushima Prefectural History Archives.

Iidate Village is a beautiful mountain village which chose to carry out the original policy as the way to survive in the circumstances of the depopulation instead of the consolidation of municipalities. The damage of the earthquake in Iidate Village is not so serious compared to the other areas, probably owing to its location on the Abukuma Highland whose ground is very stable. However, this village was designated as the Planned Evacuation Zone due to the accident of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, and the whole village was ordered for evacuation. The rice fields and patches are suffering from neglect, and all of shops are no longer opened, except for one retail shop and some petrol stations.

As from 22th June, the function of the village office will move to Iinocho, Fukushima City. Because there was a risk that we would not be able to carry out the sufficient management for the historical documents, so we carried out the abovementioned measure. With regard to the other materials, we are now negotiating how to transfer them.

Yesterday, June 19th the Yamagata Relief Network for Cultural Heritage expanded their regular meeting which was titled as “100 days after the great disaster —the report of the present condition and the upcoming issue” and it was held in Yamagata City. The historical materials damaged by the Tsunami in Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures are now being transferred to the Yamagata Prefecture, and the cleaning and preserving measures are being done one after another mainly by the students and other voluntary workers. We bow our heads in gratitude for their efforts. At the meeting, because the secretariat office of the Yamagata Network gave about 25 minutes to us, we reported our present condition in Fukushima.

In terms of the upcoming schedule of our activity, we will secure the place to tidy up the historical documents cooperated with Fukushima University, and we plan the project for cleaning the materials which were rescued, and making temporary lists of them.

Moreover, although we had been up to rescue historical materials from the devastated area so far, we will try to arrange and discuss how to secure the safekeeping places for them and those who take the responsibility of management for them, as we mediate between the owners and the manager of preservation institutions, because there is a possibility that there will be a shortage of the preservation spaces.

We appreciate your long term support and cooperation.

The Recent Condition

~From the May 30th blog of the Fukushima Network for Preserving Historical Materials~

The activities of the Fukushima Network for Preserving Historical Materials are supported by the people’s good intentions. We would like to thank you again.

With regard to the situation as of May 22nd, they remain as we had already reported. Afterward, our activities have advanced as follows.

[From 24th to 25th of May] The officers of Fukushima Prefectural Historical Museum were sent out to remove the historical documents which had been privately owned in the northern area of the prefecture for temporary evacuation.

[May 25th] The officers of the Fukushima Prefectural Museum were sent out for grasping the present condition of the damaged historical documents in the southern area of the prefecture.

[May 27th] For reporting the present situation in Fukushima, Mr Kikuchi as a representative of the Fukushima Network attended the Committee for buried properties of the Japanese Archaeological Association.
As from abovementioned activities, although the urgent requests have ceased, it doesn’t mean that the rescue operations for the historical materials which remain on the edge of oblivion has finished. We have piles of unsolved work on how to cope with the materials in the ‘Controlled Zone’ or ‘Planned Evacuation Zone’. We are still facing the difficult situation of not being able to grasp the full extent of the materials,’ so we appreciate to receive your information from here on.

Our present issues are as follows.

1. the shortage of the institutions which can respond to the urgent dispatch

2. how to share the responsibilities with administrative institutions

3. how to secure the space for preserving and tidying historical materials

The ability to contain materials at the Fukushima Prefectural Museum and Fukushima Prefectural Historical Museum have a limitation. In the conference for inaugurators which was held on May 15th, we agreed with the upcoming course that will advertise for volunteers such as students or other people and will advance to the second stage operation for the historical materials which had been rescued before, as soon as we can secure the spaces for preserving and tidying them.

The Present Condition of our Activities

~From the May 23th blog of the Fukushima Network for Preserving Historical Materials~

 The following is the whole report of our present condition as from last week. In terms of crime prevention for the historical materials or our highly urgent requests, we couldn’t announce the advertisement for the voluntary work for rescuing materials in advance. We apologise about it.

 [May 12th] Fukushima Prefectural Museum rescued the damaged materials in Fukushima City.

[May 14th] We transferred the archaeological artefacts damaged in the southern area of the prefecture. The participants were a officer of the local Board of education and 9 voluntary workers from the Fukushima Network(8) and from Saitama Prefecture(1).

[Mai 15th]In the Fukushima Minyu (Newspaper of Fukushima Minyu), an article whose title was “Protect for the hidden cultural properties” appeared. It included the Fukushima Network’s activities and the appeal for offering us the information about the historical materials which were still not rescued.

We held the conference for the inaugurators of the Fukushima Network for Preserving Historical Materials in Fukushima Prefectural Historical Museum. Participants were 1 member from Fukushimaken Shigakkai, 2 members from Fukushima University, 2 members from Fukushima Prefectural Museum, 1 member from the Culture Promotion Organization of Fukushima Prefecture.

[May 16th]In the Fukushima Minpo (Newspaper of Fukushima Minpo), an article whose title was “Old archives, fine arts, photos, letters, books —they had rescued in the devastated area, and preserved from scattering and losing” appeared. It included our activities and the appeal for informing us of the damaged historical material’s whereabouts.

The materials needed such as paper towels and tissue papers were brought to us as relief goods from the NPO Japan Conservation Project.

Prof.Okumura, Mr Kawauchi, Mr Yoshikawa, and Ms Sasaki of the Network for Historical Materials whose secretariat office was in Kobe visited us, and we exchanged information with each other in Fukushima University. Participants from Fukushima Network were Mr Abe and Mr Honma.

[May 17th] Because we received the urgent requests from 2 families living in the northern area of the prefecture, we inspected their damaged whitewashed warehouse and the operation for rescuing historical materials. 1 member of Fukushima Network, 2 members of Fukushima Prefectural Museum, and 2 officers of the local Board of education were sent out.

[May 18th] In the Fukushima Minyu, an article whose title was “We will protect the Historical Materials” was reported, and it appealed to contact with Fukushima Network if people had some materials damaged by the quake or the Tsunami.

[May 19th] Fukushima Prefectural Museum preserved historical materials in Hamadori area(*).

[May 20th] The “Coordinating Committee for rescuing cultural properties damaged by the East Japan Eathquake” was held by the section for cultural properties of Fukushima Prefectural Education Bureau in Fukushima Prefectural Library. The institutions which participated to the committee were the sections for cultural properties and social education of the Bureau, the Prefectural Museum, Prefectural Museum for Arts, the Shirakawa branch office of Prefectural Centre for Cultural Properties, the Culture Promotion Organization for Fukushima Prefecture, and Fukushima Network for Preserving Historical Materials (Mr Kikuchi and Mr Abe).

[May 21st] 1 secretariat officer visited a family and investigated their historical materials damaged by the quake in the northern area of the prefecture.

[May 22th] In the “Lunch Time Urgent Coordinating Committee concerned with the East Japan Earthquake” at the 2011 convention of the Historical Science Society of Japan held in Aoyama Gakuin University, Associate Prof. Koichi Abe of the Fukushima Network reported the present condition of Fukushima Prefecture.

*Hamadori area(浜通り): Hamadori is an area’s name which indicates that the east part of Fukushima divided its land into three zones, because the shape of this prefecture is long from side to side.

The Present Condition Report

~From the May 13th blog of the Fukushima Network for Preserving Historical Materials~

We had coped with a lot of matters which had intensively occurred right before the Golden Week holidays, therefore we couldn’t update this website. We sincerely apologise to the registrants of our Network not to send the periodical newsletters. As for the cleaning operation of the historical documents from 7th to 8th of May, many voluntary workers had assembled from distance and participated in our activities. We would express our gratitude to them.

Anyway, recently the number of the requests from the press who want to report the rescue operation of the cultural properties in the devastated area is significantly increasing. However we are merely a voluntary institution so we don’t have any authority to accept their interviews without the approval of the owners. We appreciate the press to understand in this point.

The following is a simple report about our main activity in the devastated area. Please respect our policy of avoiding publishing the concrete place or owner’s name in terms of the crime preservation and concern for the owners sentiments.

[April 16th] Fukushima Prefectural Museum rescued the old archives and the traditional utensils in Iwaki City. Participants were 4 officers of the museum.

[April 21st] The archaeological artefacts were rescued from the repository which was affected in the southern area of Fukushima Prefecture. Participants were the officers of the local Board of Education, 3 members of the Yamagata Relief Network for Preserving Cultural Heritage and 12 members of the Fukushima Network.

[April 22nd] 2 officers of the local Board of Education and a member of Fukushima Network investigated the damaged historical materials in the northern area of Prefecture.

[April 28th] The historical documents, administrative documents, and old traditional utensils affected in the northern area of Prefecture were rescued. Participants were the officers of the local Board of Education, 6 local voluntary workers, 1 member of the Yamagata Network and 11members of the Fukushima Network.

[April 30th] The operation for searching and sorting historical materials damaged by the Tsunami in Iwaki City was carried out by 5 members of the conference for the town development and 4 members of the Fukushima Network.

[May 6th] We coordinated various affairs with institutions concerned in Iwaki City, and continuously searched and sorted the historical materials. Participants were 7 members of institutions concerned and 1 member of the Fukushima Network.

[From 7th to 8th of May] In Fukushima Prefectural Museum, we carried out the cleaning operation of old historical documents and traditional utensils which had been rescued by the museum. Participants were totally 11 voluntary workers from Hyogo(1), Shizuoka(1), Tokyo(1), Niigata(2), Yamagata(2), and Fukushima(4).

[May 8th] In Iwaki City, we rescued old fine arts and traditional utensils. Participants were 2 members of the owner’s family, 2 officers of Government Agency for Cultural Affairs, a prefectural officer, 2 members of the Conference for town development, 3 members of local municipal office, and 3 members of the Fukushima Network.

[May 10th] We did a presentation about the meaning of Fukushima Network’s activities at the Conference for the people who have a duty preserving cultural properties in each municipal office by the Prefectural Board of Education. The participant from the Fukushima Network was a person engaged in coordinating volunteer workers.

[May 11th] 2 officers of the Culture Promotion Organization of Fukushima Prefecture carried out the field survey of the traditional utensils and fine arts affected in the northern area of the Prefecture. In addition, the volunteer coordinator was interviewed by the Fukushima FM radio.

[May 12th] The secretarial officer of the Fukushima Network visited 2 local news bureaus to appeal for the preservation of historical materials. Our preservation activity was reported from 4:11pm to 4:18pm on Fukushima FM.

This Week’s Activity of Fukushima Network

~From the April 16th blog of the Fukushima Network for Preserving Historical Materials~

 In this week, the Government newly dictated the ‘Planned Evacuation Zone’ after the disaster of the nuclear plant. Even now when over a month passed after the quake, the turbulent situation is still continuing.

While the extensive aftershocks occurred from 11th to 12th of April, the water supply was cut off in three in ten of the areas in Iwaki City.

As for the damaged materials in Hamadori area(*1), Fukushima Prefectural Museum (in Aizuwakamatsu City) has started their rescue operations.

In terms of the Fukushima Network for Preserving Historical Materials, in this week also, we furthured our discussions with the section for cultural properties of Prefectural Education Bureau. According to them, they have already received answers that several municipal offices are available to offer temporary spaces for preserving cultural properties. However, in half of the northern area of Hamadori and Nakadori(*2), sufficient space has yet to be secured. We are still having difficulty establishing the response headquarters which can dictate the plan for rescuing cultural properties by the Government Agency for Cultural Affairs.

For this reason, the Fukushima Network decided to start the independent rescue operation for the time being in close contact with the prefectural office. We put the secretariat office in the study room of Associate Prof. Koichi Abe of the faculty of Administration and Social Sciences, Fukushima University for assembling the members from several associations(*3) which inaugurated the Fukushima Network last year, and will carry out the rescue activity. The Culture Promotion Organization of Fukushima Prefecture (based in the Fukushima Prefectural Historical Museum) will continue to be the liaison window, and will fulfil the role of integrating the information, managing the dispatch of staff just as we are a coordinator of voluntary workers.

Next week, we will keep carrying out the door-to-door investigation in the northern area of Nakadori, will advertise for volunteers, and the first team will be sent out to Sukagawa City for rescuing historical materials damaged by the disaster.

*1 Hamadori area(浜通り): Hamadori is an area’s name which indicates that the east part of Fukushima divided its land into three zones, because the shape of this prefecture is long from side to side.

*2 Nakadori(中通り): Nakadori is an area’s name which indicates that the middle part of Fukushima divided its land into three zones.

*3 The associations which inaugurated the Fukushima Network were as follows; Fukushimaken Shigakkai (means Fukushima prefectural study society for history), Fukushima University, Fukushima Prefectural Museum, and the Culture Promotion Organization of Fukushima Prefecture.