Ibaraki Network News Letter vol.38

~The Activity reports: Kitaibaraki and Iwaki cities~

On 28th March, the secretariat officers of Ibaraki Network carried out the Investigation surveying the extent of damage of old houses and historical materials which the family owns as we circulated the area from Kitaibaraki City in Ibaraki Prefecture to Iwaki City in Fukushima Prefecture. As a result, we could confirm that 2 old families whose materials would require urgent rescue. The following is the report about them.

At the S family’s house in Kitaibaraki City, the whitewashed warehouse is scheduled to be demolished due to the damage by the Earthquake. On the day of survey, we took photos of the warehouse, sketched its outline and confirmed the archives in the warehouse. Because the amount of archives was not large; we therefore took them from the warehouse within the day. Hereafter, we will do urgent measures in the field and would like the family members to preserve them in their main house.

As for the A family’s case in Iwaki City, their estates includes the house for the head family and that of cadet family, and among them, 1 in 4 houses, 2 in 3 warehouses and an old factory were damaged and scheduled to be removed. In this survey, we sketched and took photos of the warehouses, and likewise, in order to grasp the extent of damage of each building, ownership relation and the origin, we made a plan of the distribution of all buildings. Our next issue will be to take the archives from the warehouses before the demolition. In addition, the oldest warehouse which contains mainly the documents from the early modern times will remain, but as we consider the repeated aftershocks, we should consider the preservation of this warehouse.

As we write above, the removal operations for the old house and warehouse have still continued in these areas. We would like to keep surveying and circulating these areas. In terms of the A family’s archives, we are in the process of taking out the materials in   May. When the date is scheduled, we will advertise for the voluntary workers by this Net News. We appreciate your cooperation. (written by Chihiro Yamakawa)


Ibaraki Network News Letter vol. 37

 ~The Tidying Activity for Historical Materials in Ibaraki University~

From 31st March to 1st April, on the Mito Campus of Ibaraki University, we carried out the tidying operation for the historical materials which had been rescued in Kitaibaraki City.

The historical materials which we tidied at this time were from old families in Hirakata and Sekimoto. The archives from an old family in Sekimoto involved many documents dating back to the Edo period. We recorded their present condition by sketching and taking photos of these documents, and carefully tidied them up and listed them.

There was a document box which was crammed full of early modern times documents, and among them, there was a picture map of their mansion drawn in 1857. The picture map was coloured, and we could see the names of the buildings such as ‘Honjin(本陣, main house but occasionally became the guest house for Lords)’, ‘Hontaku(本宅, main house)’, ‘Dozo(土蔵, warehouse)’, ‘Ido(井戸, well)’, ‘Umaya(厩, stables)’ on the map, and it indicated the appearance of their mansion at that time. When we interviewed the master of the house he said that their estate was located on the way from Hirakata to Tanakura, so the Lord of Tanakura Domain rested at their house. We consider that the map which we discovered in this time supports the master’s story. This map has extremely interesting information, because the route from the main gate to main house ‘Honjin’, which presumably indicated the passage of the Lords, was painted with gold dust. Likewise, we found the group of documents which had Kao(花押, a sigh) of the Lord of Tanakura Domain. Those discoveries made us feel that we could preserve many historical documents which were important for the local community.

Our tidying activities continued for 2 days, and the activities were supported by a total of 90 members and participants from the NPO Historical Succession Association, OB of Ibaraki University, researchers and citizens. Of special note is the students and teachers from Mito-Aoiryo High School, because it was the first time to accept voluntary workers from among high school students. We owe our gratitude to them in furthering our tidying operation. Thank you very much.

In terms of the new fiscal year’s activities, we would like to start on 11th April. Irrespective of whether you are skilled or unskilled, if you are interested in our activity, please come and join us. Our activities are held in classroom 201, the building C of humanities, at 1pm on every Wednesday. We appreciate your participation. (written by Kunihiko Izumida)

Ibaraki Network News Letter vol.36

 ~The tidying operation in Tsukuba University~

On 20th and 24th of March, the tidying operation for the O family’s archives was held at the Kasuga campus of Tsukuba University. Although the advertisement for the voluntary workers was only posted at the last minute, we could gather 15 participants on 20th and a further 10 on 24th. Furthermore, the members were not only from Tokyo, but also from as far as Aichi, Kyoto and Kobe. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Network for Historical Materials and each area’s Network which sent the information about the operation.

Our workplace was in Kasuga Buildings, where the renovation of the building to be earthquake resistant had continued. Notwithstanding the inconvenience of the noise and construction workers’ comings and goings, we could smoothly finish the array of tasks including recording 400 pieces of data on 20th and 300 data on 24th, and taking photos and storing materials into special preservation boxes. Among the diverse type of materials, we found school memorials and text books, post cards from the pre-war period, and accounting books of fish brokerage from the Taisho period. It was the part of family’s 100-year human dynasty.

After our operation, for those who were interested, we introduced photos of the extent of the Earthquake damage in Ibaraki and Fukushima and our rescue operations for historical materials by power-point. At that time, we heard that there were people who questioned whether Ibaraki prefecture was affected by the Earthquake and Tsunami, not only in Western Japan, but also in areas near Tokyo. It made us again recognise the agenda of our activities.

We are grateful to you who came and joined our activities when you were busy. We appreciate your continuous support of our cause. (written by Tetsuya Shirai)

Ibaraki Network News Letter vol.32

 ~One year has passed since 11th March~

One year has passed since the day. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to you, who share our objectives and support our activities. Because you have developed a sincere interest in our doings, we could continue the entire operations.

The rescue operations for cultural properties and historical materials in Ibaraki Prefecture had reached a peak last autumn, and after that, we kept carrying out our operations mainly for tidying the materials which were rescued from the old family’s warehouse in Kitaibaraki City, as we had gathered information. Since last October, we held the operation at the Mito Campus of Ibaraki University once a week, as we had cooperation from mainly postgraduate and undergraduate students.

Although it was anticipated from the start, with times, in terms of the continuation of our activities, difficult problems have arisen, such as procuring resources and tools. Especially, gathering up manpower is the main issue. So far, another big problem is to secure the temporary spaces where the rescued materials can preserved in a good condition.

We have not found a fundamental solution yet; we would like to seek the way to be subsidised, as we continue our activities with vigorous determination.

Since March, we are offered classrooms as the temporary space from Tsukuba University. Because of this, we could expand our workshop. The Department of Humanities and Library in Ibaraki University have allowed us to use the preservation facility and the work areas. We appreciate your continuous support for the Ibaraki Network for Preserving Historical Materials.

Ibaraki Network News Letter vol.29

~Information about the inaugural meeting of the Chiba Network for Rescuing Historical and Natural Materials~

On 3rd March, the inaugural meeting for the Chiba Network for Rescuing Historical and Natural Materials (the Chiba Network for Rescuing Materials) will be held. The following is the information from them.

[The Inaugural Meeting for the Chiba Network for Rescuing Historical and Natural Materials]

Since the Eastern Japan Earthquake on 11th March last year, one year has nearly passed. The devastation in the Tohoku area is well known though, in Chiba prefecture, Asashi City and other regions were affected by the Tsunami, and the reclaimed areas alongside of the Tone River and Edo Coast were extensively waterlogged. Under such circumstances, in the Tohoku area, mainly the Miyagi Network for Preserving Historical Materials immediately sent the information of the extent of the damage, and the rescue activities were organised based on the Network. Hereafter, the great earthquake which is predicted to hit the Kanto Area in the near future. At present, in the Kanto area, Ibaraki and Kanagawa prefectures have already had the Network for rescuing and preserving historical materials. Chiba prefecture, which faces the coastline as well as the 2 prefectures mentioned above, established the Chiba Network System for Rescuing Cultural Heritage in 2009 though, regrettably, it still have not yet well-organised as the system which send and share information and effectively carry out the rescue activities when the disaster will occur. As the people who have engaged in the survey and research in various field in the prefecture, we consider that we have responsibility to implement the required rescue operations as soon as we can and to immediately share the information about the extent of damage for the historical and natural materials in Chiba Prefecture.

For this reason, we decided to establish ‘the Chiba Network for Rescuing Natural and Historical Materials’ with the associations concerned as follows: Inbagun City Liaison Council for Preserving and Application for Local Historical Materials, the Headquarter for Rescuing Cultural Heritage damaged by the Eastern Japan Earthquake in National Historical Museum, the Research Room for Japanese History in Chiba University, the Department of History in Chiba University, Study Society for Japanese History in Chiba, the Researching Group for Boso Historical Materials (so far). We have now started to establish the mailing lists. For the time being, we aim to organise the system to gather and share the information which are possessed by association, institution, and individuals, who have been researching the historical materials in the prefecture, in order to immediately carry out the rescue operation. The following is the inaugural meeting for launching the Network. We welcome to everyone who has an interest in us.

Date: Saturday, 3rd March, 2012 from 5pm-7.20pm

Place: the Multimedia Lecturer Room, 1F, in the Building for Humanities Department, Chiba University (Get off at Nishi-Chiba Station, and the 10-minute walk)


Greeting: Prof Masatomo Goto (Chiba University)

Explaining the Purpose: Prof Hiroshi Kurushima (National Historical Museum)

Individual Report:

  • Mr kazuhiro Shin (Natural History Museum & Institute, Chiba)

“The sequence of starting the Network for Rescuing Materials, and its problems –the origination of the Chiba Network System for Rescuing Cultural Heritage leading by the Association of Prefectural Museum”

  • Mr Yasushi Kawaguchi (Katori City Board of Education)

“The extent of damage of the cultural heritage in Katori City and the efforts for reconstruction”

  • Mr Hiroyuki Hujikata (the commissioner of Study Society for History in Chiba)

“The rescue operation for historical materials in Sakura City”

Discussion and Adoption

Overview and Greeting: Prof Kenji Sugawara (Chiba University)

Ibaraki Network News Letter vol.26

The rescue activity in Sekimoto, Kitaibaraki City

On 12th January, since we received the request from the Kitaibaraki Board of Education, we carried out the rescue operation for historical materials of an old family in Sekimoto. Because the whitewashed warehouse was damaged by the Eastern Japan Earthquake and it was scheduled to be demolished in a few days, we removed the collections from there. Due to the urgent request, we did not advertise for voluntary workers; therefore secretariat officers of Ibaraki Network, lecturers, postgraduate and undergraduate students in Ibaraki University were engaged in the operation.

This family possesses the famous documents written in early modern times, which were published in “The History of Kitaibaraki City”; those had been however transferred to temporary repository. At this time, what we did was to carry out the furniture, correspondences and official documents which still remained in the warehouse.

The procedure of this operation was nearly same as those of being carried out in Hirakata (see: Ibaraki Network News Letter vol.22). First of all we made a floor plan of where the materials and artefacts were stored, and took them off as numbering one by one. The materials were mainly having literal information. At the same time, we interviewed the master of the house and recorded the circumstances of the warehouse. The tableware had the name of Japanese eras such as ‘Kaei(嘉永, 1848-1854)’, ‘Tenpo(天保, 1830-1843)’, so we assumed that the warehouse had been established around those periods.

 When our operation reached a final phase, we found a group of documents from the back of closet, presumably written in the early modern times. At the same place, we discovered a huge amount of old copper coin for stocks. Those were all ‘Kanei-tsuho’, which were made during Edo period, and the weight was at a rate that was impossible to easily lift. Moreover, we did a brief survey in the back of the ground floor, where it had been said no materials were, then we found 2 small document cases. Both were filled with the documents written in the Edo period. Although we could not read them because they were firmly fixed to each other, those had words like ‘Dear Kogi(公儀, means authorities, or Shogunate government, or Shogun)’, and ‘Complaint’, so they are seemingly official documents. We consider that those are newly-discovered documents.

We could bear fruit by carrying out the rescue operation cooperating with the Kitaibaraki Board of Education. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the master of the house, the family members, and people concerned.

(Professor Osamu Takahashi, Ibaraki University)

Ibaraki Network News Letter vol.25

  • A Happy New Year, everyone!

Thank you very much for your great support and cooperation with the rescue activities last year. We would like to continue our rescue operations as much as possible and to ask for your continuous support in this year!

  • We have been offered the temporary holding space!

The Ibaraki Network for Preserving Historical Materials has rescued a large amount of historical materials damaged by the East Japan Earthquake. As a result, the temporary holding space for them had been a serious issue. However, because of the courtesy from the Faculty of Humanities in Ibaraki University which is situated in Mito City, we are allowed to temporary use a room in the university. Simultaneously, the Library of Ibaraki University also offered us a room there. For this reason, we got the space whose location makes it is relatively easy to advertise for voluntary workers. At the same time, because we will be able to carry out various operations there, it brightened our prospects to further our tidying operations for the rescued documents. We would like to express our deepest gratitude for Ibaraki University and the Library.