News Letter from Iwate Network(July 24th) ~The Latter Part

~The extract from the news letter on July 24th of the Iwate Network for Historical and Folk-cultural Materials~

The Suggestion from the Iwate Network for Historical and Folk-cultural Materials(draft)

1.As the ‘Urgent Efforts’, the Prefectural Plan is suggesting that “Restoring and conserving the historical materials and cultural properties in the devastated area by carrying out the rescue operation”.

     1-a. It goes without saying that now restoring and conserving is needed, however the thorough investigation of the extent of damage is indeed required, and this issue should be our priorty. The whole picture of the damage is still unclear. At present, grasping the present condition of not only the municipally designated properties, but also non-designated ones will be required as much as we possibly can.

     1-b. In the Prefectural Promotion Planning, “the Urgent Effort” is estimated to be carried out within approximately a year. However, observing the present situation, we consider that restoring the cultural properties will require much longer, so that should be set as  a “Short-term Effort” to be undertaken within 3 years.

2.With regard to the second heading of the “Medium-term Effort” which states that “Making good use of the historical materials and cultural properties in the devastated area in the school education, and promoting to understand the history and culture in each community”. Needless to say that it is important to make use of them in the school education, however the meaning of learning historical materials and cultural properties is not confined only to the school education. The historical, archaeological, or folk-cultural properties have various importance as heritage concerned with the community’s identity, or researcher’s subject. This point of view is clearly written, “ topass down the history and culture which have been ceaselessly inherited in the community by the next generation”, “ as the “shape which the reconstruction will aim for”. Additionally, the Planning also says that “promoting making a living environment by the residents themselves based on their history, culture, tradition and people’s emotion to their home town.” However, we consider that it should be concretely written as a “the Medium-term Effort”. To bring up the bearers who protect the historical materials and cultural properties and establishing the preservation system will be required, and they should be allocated as one of the “Medium-term Efforts”.

3.In the “Short-term Effort”, the Promotion Planning states that “Supporting the revival of the traditional performing arts which were protected and promoted in each community” though, the folk-cultural performance has been supported and continued by the local community. Under heading 1, it is stated that “activating and reproducing the local community”, it includes the suggestion about the reproduction of the local community, however we would like the Promotion Plan to suggest the revival of the folk-cultural performance as being connected to the renewal of the local community.

4. In terms of  “continuing to investigate the buried properties as well as tidying and making use of the excavated artefacts” in the 4th heading of the “Medium-term Effort”. This only mentions the excavated artefacts, then we wondered how they consider about preserving sites themselves. In such a description, it make people misunderstand that the sites are not the objects to be preserved.

5.In the Promotion Planning, although it emphasises “creating the disaster prevention system culture”, it doesn’t mention how to create the preservation system for the cultural properties, which can survive the forthcoming disasters. Therefore, we would like to suggest 2 points as follows.

     5-a. We, the Iwate Network for Historical and Folk-cultural Materials carried out the investigation about the extent of damage and supported the rescue operation in the devastated area. We suggest that we should establish the disaster prevention system for cultural properties combining  with the municipal office, researchers, history enthusiasts and local people. The Promotion Planning states “all of the members in the community will associate in, as becoming reconstruction members”, so we consider that this point will be also required to give shape to the disaster prevention system for the cultural properties.

     5-b. Fortunately, at present, some of the historical materials which were saved from being washed away are going to be repaired. However we presume that many of them were washed away or scattered. To prepare for the forthcoming disaster, based on the detailed confirmation of both designated and non-designated cultural properties’ location across the Prefecture, establishing the backup system for the cultural properties through making the investigative records and digital data, and to keep the actual damage to a minimum will be required.The system which prevents the disappearance from not only earthquakes and tsunamis, but also the various disasters or robbery is necessary

     5-c. Many administrative documents were also damaged by the quake. We consider that establishing the Prefectural Archives should be concretely discussed for safely retaining those materials and making use of them.

6.In the Promotion Planning, the necessity of “passing down the experience and teachings to the future ages”, however we consider that how to record this disaster should also be discussed. At the Meiji Sanriku Earthquake and Tsunami(1886) and the Showa Sanriku Earthquake and Tsunami(1933), the detailed records about the damage and reconstruction were drawn out. The East Japan Earthquake, which occurred on an unprecedented scale, should be passed down from generation to generation, the record about them should be created in greater detail.

(The end)

News Letter from Iwate Network(July 24th) ~The First Part

~The extract from the news letter on July 24th of the Iwate Network for Historical and Folk-cultural Materials~

The secretarial office of the Iwate Network for Historical and Folklore Materials integrated
the information concerning the damage to cultural properties and rescue operations in Iwate Prefecture. Those might already be well known though, we appreciate if you can make use of them. All of them are available to be freely reprinted.

1.The Preliminary investigation of the cultural properties in Otsuchicho

On 21st July, 4 members of the Iwate Network for Historical and Folk-cultural Materials visited Otsuchicho and had an informal talk with the officers of the town Board of Education. We confirmed that we would investigate the extent of damage to the cultural properties in Otsuchicho with their cooperation, and the reconstruction plan would make good use of the investigation results.

Hereafter, when the details of the main investigation will be concretely released, we will inform you.

2.The Exhibition of the Rescue Activity of the cultural properties in Toono City Museum

As from 22nd July, Toono City Museum has opened the special exhibition about the rescue activities of the cultural properties. Its purpose is to widely disseminate them and to wish that these rescued properties will become the energy and hope to live for the future with a renewed value which symbolises that they survived the East Japan Earthquake. The details are as follows;

  • Title: “Rescue the Cultural Properties! –East Japan Earthquake and the Rescue Activities for Cultural Properties—
  • Duration: From 22nd July to 29th September, 2011 (NB: Closed on 31st August)
  • Place: The exhibition Room in Toono City Museum
  • Contents: The exhibition about the cultural properties which were rescued from the Otsuchicho Library, Rikuzentakada City Museum, Rikuzentakada City Museum for Sea and Shells.

3.The Public Comment by Iwate Network

In June, Iwate Prefecture formulated the “Iwate Prefectural Reconstruction Promotion Planning of East Japan Earthquake”. They are advertising for public comments as its deadline is on 31st July.

We, the Iwate Network for Historical and Folk-cultural Materials also discussed it at the liaison conference on 7th July, and made a draft plan. We will examine it again at the next conference, and will submit our comments to Prefecture.

Before introducing our findings, we quote the Prefectural Olan as extracting the part of the cultural properties, as follows;

================

[Summary]

For designing the immediate reconstruction of the cultural and artistic activities, we will support the recovery of the functions of cultural and artistic facilities, simultaneously we will support the preservation and make use of the traditional culture and cultural properties in the devastated area.

1.The Urgent Effort

  • Restoring and conserving the historical materials and cultural properties in the devastated area by carrying out the rescue operation of the cultural properties, or other activities

2.The Short-term Effort

  • Supporting the restoration and recovery of the function of cultural and artistic facilities as the base of the community culture
  • Supporting the revival of the traditional performing arts which were protected and promoted in each community affected by the disaster
  • Promoting the establishment of the research system for the buried properties in the devastated area and investigating them along with the Reconstruction Promoting Planning.

3.The Medium-term Effort

  • Support putting the cultural and artistic facilities in good condition
  • Making good use of the historical materials and cultural properties in the devastated area in the school education, and promoting to understand the history and culture in each community
  • Securing the opportunities to perform the traditional performances in the devastated area, and supporting their preservation and ensuring their succession to future generations.
  • Continuing to investigate the buried properties as well as tidying and making use of the excavated artefacts

 

Well, the following is our draft of public comment against the abovementioned prefectural plan, and we apologise for its length.

(to be continued)

News Letter from Iwate Network (June 22th) ~Part2

~The extract from the news letter on June 22th of the Iwate Network for Historical,
Folklore Materials~

 3.The Information of Rescuing and Repairing Cultural Properties

The following is the information about the rescuing or repairing operation in random order.

(1)The Damaged Arts in Rikuzentakada City Museum

The art objects damaged by the disaster amounted to approximately 120 pieces. Through the rescue committee for damaged cultural properties whose secretariat office is in the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties Tokyo, The Japanese Council of Art Museum will take charge of washing, fumigating, and repairing those pieces. The duties of the operations are taken by Mr. Takushi Hamada as a vice curator of the Museum of Modern Art, Wakayama. As from the middle of June, they will start the operation. Because of this decision, the rescue operation of the art pieces of this Museum is just in sight.

(2)About the Rescue of “Tsucchi” Preserved in Rikuzentakada City Museum for Sea and Shells

By National Museum of Nature and Science, the stuffed specimen of Baird’s Beaked Whale (in Japanese, it is called Tsuchikujira, so this specimen nicknamed “Tsucchi”) will be rescued and transported on June 29th. On the afternoon of 30th June, it will be transferred to the Tsukuba section of the National Museum of Nature and Science, and be fumigated from 1st to 2nd of July, after that, the officer of the museum will wash and repair it.

(3)The Folk-Cultural Properties Temporary Preserved in the former Oude Elementary School

The folk-cultural properties which were owned by Rikuzentakada City Museum were transferred to Oide elementary school, and the Rikuzentakada Board of education is now carrying out the washing operation in cooperation with the Prefectural Museum and Toono City Museum. While the temperature is getting hot recently, the provision against the spread of mould is becoming an issue. As for the electric fans, shelves, chemicals for preservation and the container boxes are offered by the Iwate Prefectural Board of education.

Hereafter, the National Museum of Japanese History and National Museum of Ethnology will
support the operation through the rescue committee for cultural properties.

From 18th to 22nd of July, the National Museum of Ethnology will go into the former Oide elementary school and engage in the washing operation, at the same time they will negotiate the upcoming operation. With regard to the washing operation, we are now discussing how to obtain the cooperation from the registered volunteer workers of the Japanese Association of Museums in the field.

(4)The Container Boxes were Offered

Iwate Prefectural Board of Education received the container boxes from each institution in Nara Prefecture through the rescue committee for cultural properties. By the cooperation of Yamato Logistics Co.,Ltd, 1091 boxes were delivered into the Research Office for the group of Hiraizumi sites.

The detail of the institutions which offered the container boxes were as follows; 100 boxes from Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, 528 boxes from The Museum, Archaeological Institute of Kashihara, 310 boxes from Tawaramotocho board of education, 100 boxes from Sakurai City centre for buried properties, and 53 boxes from  Yamatokooriyama City board of education.

Those boxes will be transferred to the former Oide Elementary School and former Kamaishi Daiichi Junior High School, and will make use of washing, classifying, and temporary preserving operation for damaged materials. Simultaneously, according to the officer, they will be offered to the institution which had once participated in the rescue operation of the buried properties, bringing their own container boxes and offering them.

(5)The Rescue and Washing Operation of the Archaeological Artefacts in Rikuzentakada City

As for the rescue operation of the archaeological artefacts in Rikuzentakada City, it finished on June 10th cooperating with the local board of education in Iwate Prefecture. The last week in which the operation was carried out, we gathered the bone tools which had been discovered from Nakazawahama Shell Mound as we screened the earth and sand which had been scraped from the Rikuzentakada City Museum. The rest is now stored in the local board of education.

The next stage of the gathering operation for the excavated artefacts is to wash, classify, register and temporarily preserve them. This operation will be carried out in July in the Prefectural buried property Centre making use of the people hired as an emergency employees.

In terms of the archaeological properties in the former Oide elementary school, the workers of Rikuzentakada City board of education will be supported by the Prefectural Museum. We have received the offer from the volunteers who live in other prefectures, so we would like to accept their cooperation though, negotiating with the local people about pouring slop into the river will be needed.

In addition, Daiichigosei Corporation will voluntarily offer the washing machine for earthenware at the end of June.

(6)About the Building Materials of Yoshida Family’s House and Yoshida Family’s Archives
in Rikuzentakada City

The Yoshida family’s archives which had been preserved in Rikuzentakada City Library were entirely saved and they are undergoing washing, freezed preservation and vacuum freeze drying at present.

On the other hand, with regard to the Yoshida family’s house, the removal operation for the house which had been washed away by the Tsunami from 1st to 17th of June, and the officers of the Prefectural Board of Education and Prefectural Museum attended. Unfortunately, the historical materials such as the official letters stamped with the Masamune Date(*1) or the portrait of Yoshikuni Date(*2) which had been preserved in the whitewashed warehouse couldn’t be rescued, however, according to the officers, the many building materials could be preserved. We strongly hope that those materials will be utilised as a symbol of the community’s reconstruction.

(7)Placed the Refrigerator Container

On June 15th, supported by Denso Corporation, the refrigerator container was placed in the
Prefectural Museum. This will be lent until the end of next year for free. According to the museum officer, this is for loading on the lorry, and it has words of “Iwate Prefectural Museum” and “Cheer up Tohoku” on it. It is used for the preserved historical materials which are waiting for vacuum freeze drying.

(The end)

*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 with battles. After the Tokugawa Shogunate coming, he became the first lord of Sendai Domain.

*2 Yoshikuni Date(伊達慶邦):1825-1874 The 13th Load of Sendai Domain.

News Letter from Iwate Network (June 22th) ~Part1

~The extract from the news letter on June 22th of the Iwate Network for Historical
and Folklore Materials~

The secretarial office of the Iwate Network for Historical and Folklore Materials integrated
the information concerning the damage to cultural properties and rescue operations in Iwate Prefecture. Those might already be well known though, we appreciate if you can make use of them. All of them are available to be freely reprinted.

1.The Operation for Drying Books in Rikuzentakada City Library

We, the Iwate Network for Historical Folklore Network had carried out the rescue operation of books in the Rikuzentakada City Library on June 5th. Following that, in the parking space in front of the Seminar House of Morioka University, we dried them in the shade on June 18th.

First of all, the participants took the books from the cardboard boxes, lined them on the vinyl sheet, and dried them in the wind. Fortunately the weather was cloudy which was suitable. The extent of mould was examined then the sand removed and they were put into cardboard boxes classified by the type of book. We expect that this operation will prevent the spread of anymore mould for the time being.

This operation was supported by the students of Morioka University. We really appreciate their kindness.

2.The Operation for Rescuing Traditional Utentils Preserved in Kamaishi Daiichi Junior High School

In Kamaishi Daiichi Junior High School, although many folk-cultural properties such as traditional utensils or iron-made tools are preserved, they are still left as covered with saltwater after the Tsunami. For this reason, Kamaishi City and Iwate Prefectural Museum decided to rescue them, and we the, Iwate Network also wholly cooperated with the activity interms of advertising for participants.

However, we still have a shortage of participants although we had a made an appeal since  the previous news letter. We appreciate your participation even if it will be only one day. Depending on the degree of progress, the event will be held only on the 2nd or 3rd of July (or both days).

Organiser: Kamaishi City, Iwate Prefectural Museum

Schedule: From 2nd to 3rd of July, 10:30am-4:30pm

The Job: Rescuing the folklore materials, cleaning the lecture rooms flooded by the Tsunami, washing the iron-made tools covered with salt water, and other operations.

The field of Kamaishi Daiichi Junior High School has remained untouched since the Tsunami, so the operation for removing debris has not been carried out yet. Especially, dirt and salt water can be a health hazard. Therefore you should wear twofold masks, and work gloves will be essential for the operation. In any case, you have to prepare for getting dirty. Of course, please prepare your own food and water, because the water supply is still not available there. (to be continued)

News Letter from Iwate Network (on June 17th)

~The extract from the news letter on June 17th of the Iwate Network for Historical, Folklore materials~

 

The secretarial office of the Iwate Network for Historical and Folklore Materials integrated the information concerning the damage to cultural properties and rescue operations in Iwate Prefecture. Those might already be well known though, we appreciate you to make use of them. All of them are available to be freely reprinted.

 

1. The rescue operation of the administrative documents of the Kamaishi City Office

We received the report from Mr.Mitsunori Yagi who participated in the rescue operation on June 10th, where we had advertised for the voluntary workers as from May 29th.

The basement library housing the administrative documents of the Kamaishi City Office was flooded by seawater, and a lot of sand and other dirt was absorbed. Fortunately, no documents had been lost. The members from the National Institute of Japanese Literature in the National Institute for the Humanities, were dispatched by the Rescue Committee for cultural properties of the Governmental Agency For Cultural Affairs, and are taking a main role and they continue to carry out the rescue operation.

First of all, we transferred the documents to the school building of former Kamaishi Daiichi Junior High School near the city office.

At present, the operation for drying the documents is taking place. The sequence of the operation is as follows; 1. Don’t wash them  and also don’t desalinise for the time being. 2. As for the waterlogged documents, they are packed into the zippered vinyl bag and air vacuumed from the inside to prevent the spread of mould. In terms of the documents contained in the binders are separated into the documents and binders. Some of them have already gone mouldy. 3. Put the kitchen towels or newspapers between each page of the waterlogged documents and let them absorb the water. Repeat this operation and dry step by step. 4. With regard to the half dried documents bound in the binders, separate them from it, and let them stand between the binders, and dry them changing their position. 5. Removing sand or mould by brush.

The operation in the field started from May 6th and the first stage of the work will be finished on July 15th. Those operations will be carried out by the officers of the National Institute of Japanese Literature and institutions concerned and the other voluntary workers, and employees who are hired by Kamaishi City for a month.

In terms of the prospect of upcoming tasks, we anticipate that approximately a year will be required to completely dry the material, and also follow-up work will be required for 3 years. Depending on the conditions and the degree of necessity, they will consider the preservation measure such as freeze drying, maintaining the status quo, or other alternative methods.

According to Mr.Yagi, a series of administration work and instructions for the operation were steadily managed by the field foreman and he let them advance knowing the prospects of the schedule of the operation.

 

2. The upcoming rescue operation of the historical materials in Kamaishi Daiichi Junior High School

In Kamaishi Daiichi Junior High School, many folk-cultural properties such as traditional utensils or iron-made tools are stored up even though, they are still covered with salt water as they had been soaked by the Tsunami. In Kamaishi City, the officers who have a duty for cultural affairs still have to treat sufferers in the evacuation stations, so it is difficult for them to transfer those materials or preserve them. For this reason, the other day the Prefectural Museum received the request for a rescue operation from Kamaishi City. Iwate Network also would appreciate your cooperation with this operation, and the outline is as follows;

Organiser: Kamaishi City, Iwate Prefectural Museum

Schedule: From 2nd to 3rd of July, 10:30am-4:30pm

(NB: Depends on the degree of the progress, it will be held only on 2nd July)

The Job: Rescuing the folklore materials, cleaning the lecture rooms flooded by the Tsunami, washing the iron-made tools covered with salt water, and other operations.

NB: The field of Kamaishi Daiichi Junior High School has remainedl untouched since the Tsunami, so the operation for removing debris has not been carried out yet. Especially, dirt and salt water can be a health hazard. Therefore you should wear twofold masks, and work gloves will be essential for the operation. In any case, you have to prepare for being in dirt. Of course, please prepare your own food and water, because the water supply is still not available there.

Prospective participants must contact the Iwate Network for Historical, Folklore Materials.

 

News Letter from Iwate Network (on June 6th)

~The extract from the news letter on June 6th of the Iwate Network for Historical and Folklore Materials~

 The secretarial office of the Iwate Network for Historical and Folklore Materials integrated the information concerned with the damage of cultural properties and rescue operations in Iwate Prefecture. Those might already be well known though, we appreciate you to make use of them. All of them are available to freely reprint. Also, we express our gratitude to you who gave us valuable information. If you have any information about the damage, rescue operations and the advertisement for voluntary workers, please send us at any time.

 1. The Present Situation of the Cultural Properties

The following is the report concerned with the present situation which the secretariat office has received as of today. Those are presented to you in random order. I regard that making a quick report is the priority, so if there is any incorrect information, please inform us candidly.

[The Traditional Utensils preserved by former Kamaishi Daiichi Junior High School, Kamaishi City]

In terms of the former Kamaishi Daiichi Junior High School, the ground floor was flooded to around 30cm by sea water. With regard to the traditional utensils which were non-designated properties and were preserved on the ground floor, the iron-made materials faced the risk of corrosion due to the salt water. The Iwate Prefectural Board of education investigated their present condition, and Iwate Prefectural Museum also inspected them. By the way, the traditional utensils which were preserved by the Kamaishi City Kyodo Museum(釜石市郷土資料館) were all safe.

[The Yoshida Family residence designated as a prefectural property, Rikuzentakada City]

This residence seemed to be washed about 100-150m away from the original place by the Tsunami though, we have assumed the area in which those building materials were flooded, because those materials are very characteristic such as the thatched roof and thick lumber which have the traces of timbering. The prefectural board of education and prefectural museum started to carry out the operation for withdrawing the old documents and the building materials of the main house and whitewashed warehouse cooperating with the construction department of the city office from 1st to 10th of June. The main parts of the residence have already been confirmed, however the old archives which had been preserved in the residence are still missing. The building materials which have been withdrawn are nearly completed, so they are placed in the division where the foundation stones remain.

[The Repository Room for Buried Properties, Rikuzentakada City]

The operation for withdrawing the buried properties which had been washed away by the Tsunami is continuously being carried out by Prefectural Museum. From 8th to 10th of June, they plan to carry out the rescue operations cooperating with the city, town and village boards of education. The main work will be to gather the bone and horn tools which are buried in the sand.

[The Visitation by the Governmental Rescue Committee for the Damaged Cultural Properties]

On June 8th, two officers of the Governmental rescue committee schedule to visit the Prefectural Museum to inspect the preservation operation and the extent of the damage in Rikuzentakada City.

[The Restoration for the Buddhist images]

The restoration specialist of Kyoto Kagaku Co.Ltd will restore the Buddhist imaged affected by the quake. The target objects are the Buddhist images of Shomeiji(称名寺) Temple in Shiwacho(紫波町), the statue of Goddess of Mercy of Unosumai(鵜住居) in Kamaishi City, and Amidabha Buddha Trinity of Koushouji(光勝寺) Temple in Sumitacho(住田町). The members of Kyoto Kagaku restored other statues during the Golden Week Holiday, too.

[The Operation for Washing Materials in the former Oide Elementary School]

Almost all damaged historical materials which had been owned by Rikuzentakada City Museum were transferred to the former Oide elementary school and they are now being washed there. The people who are engaged in the cleaning operation are mainly city officers, and other members are from Iwate Prefectural Museum and the Centre for Cultural Studies Tono. Because of the huge amount of materials, it seems that they will require the long term operation. The folklore materials which involve the fishing tools designated as an important tangible folk-cultural property, books, specimens, and buried properties are waiting to be cleaned.

2. The Report about the rescue operation at the Rikuzentakada City Library

On June 5th, Iwate Network rescued books from the Rikuzentakada City Library. Participants were Mr.Tsunemasa Kumagai, vice representative of our Network, 2 members of Iwate Network, and 4 students of Morioka University. We reached the field at 11:00am and started the operation.

Almost all the books had already been carried out from the Library. We rescued the remaining books bound in the Japanese style, which were the Chinese classics and the text books from the Meiji Period(*1), the materials such as transcripts of old archives or official documents which were presumed to be concerned with the project of compiling city history, and some original archives in the early Showa Period(*2). They amounted to 25 cardboard boxes in total.

Nearly all of them were already dried. There was no mould, so we stored them in the cardboard boxes after removing the sand. Some of them which had mould were sprayed with alcohol for preservation. Some of them were adhered to each covers, so being separated carefully will be necessary another day.

We finished the operation at 2:30pm, those books were transferred to Morioka University. Hereafter, the extent of damage, and will be checked and then the sand removed by brush and each page be opened one by one to remove dirt and mud. However, those dirt are not as serious as they are needed the immediate washing.

Fortunately it was fine weather, so our operation was smoothly finished. Around noon, temperature was getting high, and we perspired as we brought the cardboard boxes to the wagon. We appreciate the students who joined this activity as a volunteers. Observing the city’s condition, the operation for removing debris had advanced rather than before.

 

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

*2 Showa Period:A division of Japanese history which spanned from 1926 to 1989.

The present condition about Iwate and Miyagi Prefecture

~An e-mail on 12th April from the Hata Studio for the repairing and mounting of cultural property

We went around the devastated area in Iwate prefecture with specialists who inspected the patent rolls. We entered into the area on 4th April and continued our inspection activities till the 8th. Around Morioka City, the city’s functions were working as usual, so we felt somewhat anomalous with the scenes we always saw on TV news. We headed to Kesennuma City by car. On the way to the city, the roads’ conditions had no problem and the energy shortage was already getting better. As we went close to the damaged area by the Tsunami, the vehicles of the rescuing groups or the Self-Defense Forces were getting numerous. At last we stepped into the town, and the scene of complete devastation suddenly appeared. There were some spots which were too messy to get to by the car because of the heap of debris, so that traffic jams often occurred. If we consider this situation as vital for reconstruction, there would be hope . Although all of the houses and streets were covered with debris, I could find that some photo albums, Buddhist memorial tablets and letters which were rescued from the debris were gathered on the wayside in places. The activities which tried to protect the memorial goods such as photos were broadcasted by various media, and those activities seemed to be carried out with the best of intentions by the workers removing debris.

We headed south from Kesennuma City to Ishinomaki City along the coastline. On the way to Ishinomaki, although there were some inconvenient points such as the detours and the temporary bridges, the reconstruction operations were advancing in haste. There were also unidentified photo albums piled up on the side of guardrails, however, nobody was around there and then those albums and documents were blowing in the wind and scattered.

In Sendai City, we visited the secretariat office for rescuing digital materials. According to them they had stepped into the devastated area on the second day after the quake occurred. At the beginning of the rescuing activity, they could rescue eight out of ten hard discs which were flooded by seawater and mud, however after 3 weeks the rescuing possibilities were dropping down to 20 percent. They desperately continued to carry out their activity around the clock, whereas those kinds of activities were not so much common Although it depends on the damage situation, there might be more extrication of digital materials. Almost all owners of digital materials might give up repairing them because they considered that the effects of the seawater would be serious, so it should be important to make the possibility of rescue known to everyone.

On the next day, we headed to Yamada Town. In the Yamada Prefectural Hospital, we inspected the damage to the medical records and the books in the hospital library. The vice director of the hospital guided us to the town office, the centre of the town, and Ootsuchi Town which is located next to Yamada Town. His story was as follows;

In the Tsunami disaster, there were few injured. The survivors were people who could run away from the Tsunami, the others who couldn’t run away were all washed away. This was a really sorrowful incident, however I try to consider how I will do the best for the survivors. I would like people to come to our town. Our town is a little active because many people come and go assisting us, whereas the Ootsuchi Town is very empty and lonely.

The situation is changing day by day. We should capture the timing accurately.

The community centre located next to the town office became the gathering space for things that had drifted, and the tags on which were written the place where they had been discovered were attached to those materials by the Self-Defense Forces. This rescuing method looked like a system which was naturally established by the people concerned, and it seemed to work well. Afterwards, what will happen to them? The removal operations for this debris will continue for a duration. A lot of those items will be left in the open.

The materials which had been stored in the solid structures were packed together at the spot where were used to be before, however the materials which were unfortunately washed away became garbage left adrift. The cultural properties and archives might be mixed in with them. The drifted objects which were gathered with good intention are facing the danger of being carried away by heartless people or finally becoming rubbish.

For the people who lost all their loved ones’ things, such material is precious even though little remained . Before losing everything, we should try to do the best we possibly can.