The Second/Third Preservation Activities after the Nagano Hokubu Earthquake ~Part6

~The report about the affected area in Sakaemura Village published on July 15th~

5-3.The Investigation of the Temple Which Was Scheduled to Be Demolished

The living quarters were in ruin

After the previous activities in June, an owner who lived in Sakaemura requested us to investigate a certain temple. This temple  belonged to the Soto school of Buddhism and had lacked a priest for 30 years. 3 years ago, over more than 40 Buddhist images were stolen and they are still missing. Moreover, the temple was seriously affected by the Nagano Hokubu Earthquake, in this way its demolition in the near future was discussed by the local people. For this reason, we received the request to inspect it prior to that.

On the day, 3 managers of this temple attended our activity, and opened the badly-fitting door. Both the main temple and the priest’s living quarters were in terrible ruin so that we had to enter with our shoes on against custom. The group of historical documents was placed in the corner of the inner temple together with old books and other materials. We also found the cutlery for the Buddhist ceremony or the woodcuts for printing charms in the back of the dais for Buddhist images. Moreover, we discovered the folk-cultural utensils such as farm implements, Byobu(*1) and Fusuma(*2) which included many documents used as undercoated papers. With regard to the historical documents and books, we recorded their present condition and moved them to a small room of the priest’s living quarters with extraction tools as the materials which needed conservation. After that, we explained our operations and asked the 3 managers to preserve them. They strongly felt the deep loneliness because the temple which had been the religious nucleus of the community was about to disappear. If it becomes a vacant plot of land, they had been trying to find ways to pass down the cultural properties which told of the existence of their temple. They expressed their gratitude for our assistance and  we felt deeply honoured.

The extracted materials

5-4.The Investigation of the Folk-Cultural Properties in the Private House

Next, we visited Yt family whose main house was scrapped and the folk-cultural utensils were placed on the vinyl sheet in their garden. In front of the newly built house, a group of the traditional utensils were placed covered with such a vinyl sheet. Mr Yujiro Hosoi of Nagano City Museum classified them, and we extracted a truckload of the lacquer wares and tools for sericulture borrowing the Yt family’s lightweight truck, and we transferred them to our repository room on the ground floor.

5-5. Tagging the Utensils in the Hh Family’s Whitewashed Warehouse

The lightweight truck with the materials

From the previous activity, we carried out the operation for tagging the numbers to the folk-cultural utensils of the Hh family. On the ground floor of the whitewashed warehouse, on many wooden boxes which contained old cutlery the original period when they had been bought was written in Japanese ink, so these boxes themselves were precious cultural properties. Simultaneously it was meaningful and valuable because the product land at the time of purchase was relevant. However, when we bound them so as to tag the numbers, we found that the side plate or basal plate of the boxes was unfastened due to the effect of the quake. The boxes were covered with dust from the collapse of the mud walls, so we wiped them and took the contents out of the boxes, repaired the boxes, restored the contents, and bound them by string and tagged the numbers. On the first floor, the operation for attaching detailed numbers to each small utensil and recording them continued.

Repairing the wooden boxes

Seven out of ten works on the ground floor and nine out of ten operations on the first floor progressed, although eventually we couldn’t finish the whole operation. Therefore, it will be completed the next time.

6. The preparation for the Second/Third Activities

As same as the previous operation, we prepared the cameras and tripods for taking photos of the historical materials, the kit of batteries, inverter and lights, and the solar panel for charging, LED light bulbs and cleaning equipment. Beyond that, we brought the carpenter’s tools for the urgent measures on the damaged structures. At the second operation, the local people provided us with the gasoline powered dynamo. For the third activity, we made good use of the kit of batteries and the solar panel. Moreover, the circumstances in the whitewashed warehouse or the attic were hot and stuffy, so the LED light bulbs were very useful because the generation of heat was quite low.

As a preparation for the inspection of old archives, we brought the recording papers using for noting their present condition, investigating the historical documents, or listing the outlines. Furthermore, in the case that those documents would be preserved in the owner’s house, we prepared the leaflets which appealed to preserving the precious cultural properties, and noted the contact address of our voluntary group.

The leaflet for appealing preservation

Additionally, as the provision for the investigation of the folk-cultural properties, we prepared the table brooms made from the natural materials, floor cloth, label tags with kite strings instead of wire, kite strings, vinyl strings, vinyl sheets, masking tapes, vinyl bags, cardboard boxes and cards for recording present condition.

As for the outfits, each of us brought work gloves, working clothes, masks, and a headlamp ourselves. We could rent helmets from the municipal office. Some of us wore safety shoes in case we trod on nails.

For the second activity, the local Board of education provided us with name plates with ‘Investigator for cultural properties, Sakaemura Board of education’ written upon them which indicated our cooperation with them. At the same time, we prepared the name holders with ‘Voluntary Group for Preserving Community’s Historical Materials’ printed on them in order to explain our activity to the local people. That is to say, we headed to the field  wearing both types of name holders around our necks. It meant that the main body of the inspection was the ‘Voluntary Group’, and it was supported by the board of education.

Hereafter, we will continue our rescue and preservation activity, so please keep watching and supporting us.

(The end)

*1 Byobu(屏風):a holding screen with a coloured paintings or a black-and-white drawing in Japanese pattern

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

The Second/Third Preservation Activities after the Nagano Hokubu Earthquake ~Part5

~The report about the affected area in Sakaemura Village published on July 15th~

4.The Base Data and Outline for the Third Preservation Activity

  • Duration: 3days from 8th to 10th of July
  • Participants: Satoshi Shirouzu, Makoto Yanagisawa, Yujiro Hosoi, Tsutomu Suzuki, and Tsuneaki Aragaki. Hiroaki Yamagami cooperated in the field.
  • Schedule: 8th-the discussion about the inspection of the site for candidate repository and the transportation plan for folk-cultural properties. 9th(in the morning)-tagged the utensils in the Hh family’s whitewashed warehouse, (in the afternoon)-the inspection and the extraction of the cultural properties in K temple. 10th(in the morning)-tagged the utensils in the Hh family’s whitewashed warehouse, (in the afternoon)-investigating the Yt family’s folk-cultural utensils and transferring them to the storage area (in the evening)-tagged the utensils in the Hh family’s warehouse

In June, we carried out the preservation activities mainly for the whitewashed warehouse which were scheduled to be demolished, and we could visit almost all houses even though some issues remained. One of them was the Hh family’s folk-cultural utensils which had to be transferred by August, and another problem was determining the proper storage for the traditional materials and historical documents which had been urgently evacuated to the garages. The garages used as temporary spaces were the corrugated galvanized iron structures so we worried that the temperature must be stiflingly hot. Therefore we had to immediately change the surroundings for them. Simultaneously we had already scheduled the transportation operation to be done by the beginning of August, then we also had to establish the concrete plan. The operation to attach the number tags to the folk cultural utensils in the Hh family’s warehouse was also underway. Likewise, there was a case that the traditional utensils were placed on the vinyl sheet because the house which had preserved them had been demolished, so this operation for confirming present condition was also urgent. Additionally the information that a temple in a certain area would be knocked down reached us, and some requested us to inspect the materials which the temple possessed.

Although this third activity was just 2 weeks after the previous one, we felt that it required an urgent investigation in the field. Thus making use of the weekend, we headed to Sakaemura with a few members because it would be more convenient than with a lot of members.

5.The contents and Result of the Third Preservation Operation

5-1. The discussion about the plan for transportation

Mr. Motoki Tanabe who was a member of the Niigata Network for Preserving Historical Materials and had a lot of accomplishments in the area of rescuing cultural properties from natural disasters, participated on the first day, giving us his opinion on how to choose the proper storage locations, and made documents stating the operation plan for transportation of the traditional utensils in detail. We discussed the plan based on his suggestion, and determined that the transportation would be carried out from 7th to 8th of August.

Mr.Tanabe who knew well about those kinds of operations gave us accurate advice for the necessary number of people, the number of trucks and their size, preparations for lunch, securing the resting place and the arrangement of working hours.

5-2.The Decision of the Storage Location

The were 4 suggested storage areas which had been put forward by the local Board of Education. On the first day, the municipal officer guided us around all of them. One of them was a repository for the old archives in a certain cultural facility in Iiyama City which was adjacent to Sakaemura, and the others were private facilities and the building of the former elementary school. The evaluation criteria were the environment, the extent of the structure, and ease of transferring materials in and out.

The ground floor as the repository

By observing each place, the private facilities had some difficulties in loading the materials and the surroundings were not so good. As a result, we chose the former elementary school building. This place had been used as the repository for the folk-cultural properties once, however when we had visited there in June, another company had rented the ground floor. Afterwards, the contract seemed to have expired, and then we could get to use the whole building. A room on the first floor was already used as a repository for some folk-cultural artefacts, and there were several rooms to use for tidying the materials. The ground floor was extremely wide and was separated into 2 rooms, and each of them had a large area. The building was a bit old but it stood near the road and seemed to be convenient for transferring materials.

On the other hand, with regard to the old archives and books, we were worried that changing surroundings from the whitewashed warehouse to another place would have a bad influence on those materials, so there was a question of whether we would preserve them in the temporary storage or not. Thus, when we will transfer them in August, although those documents and books will be once transported by being put in the chests which those materials used to be in before to the former elementary school, we will transfer them to the cultural facilities in Iiyama City 2 months after the first transport. We heard later that Iiyama City had suggested offering this facility to be available to use immediately after the quake. This facility was called ‘Iiyama Furusato-kan’, which was built 6 years ago, and had a fine repository with air conditioning and the equipment for being filled with inert gas.

(to be continued)

The Second/Third Preservation Activities after the Nagano Hokubu Earthquake ~Part4

~The report about the suffered area in Sakaemura Village published on July 15th~

3-4.The Team Organisation consisting of both History and Folklore

In these activities, the voluntary workers were assembled from each place and we could smoothly advance our operation. The previous survey and rescue operation was carried out with our members who had many experiences in researching Sakaemura together,whereas this operation team was very different from that. Some of the members this time were from faraway places such as Kobe or Ehime Prefectures, and we can find the feature of several curators also participating in our activities. The participants’ details were as follows; 3 members from the university, a teacher of the technical college, 7 curators, 5 postgraduate and or occasional students, 1 municipal officer who has a duty for the cultural affairs, 2 officers for compiling regional history and a local supporter.

Confirming by the specialists

The schedules to visit each owner’s house requiring urgent investigation conflicted with others convenience, so there was a case that we had to carry out up to 3 operations in the same day and at the same time. Moreover, owner’s houses usually preserved both  historical documents and folk-cultural utensils. Thus, we roughly classified the participants into the experts of history and those of folklore, and organised that every team was composed of each 2-3 members from both fields, and we established 3 groups. As a result, this method worked very efficiently.

3-5.The Utilisation of BBS

To send information to every participant who came from faraway places without omission was an issue. Therefore we urgently booted up the BBS page on the Internet, and made use of introducing themselves to each other, informing investigation schedules or meeting times, applying to the activities, confirming the rescue tools which would be required in the upcoming operation, and conveying the activity policy. BBS was available to be update or be referred to from each mobile phone, so we could also inform about the activity on the next day, meeting times and places in the field where we couldn’t connect to the Internet from the computer. In addition, we had to exchange the personal information about the owners’ addresses on the BBS, we configured a simple password to enter so as to avoid the access from the antique dealers with commercial purposes.

Historical documents discovered from the old house

3-6. The Donations from Several Networks for Historical Materials

It is worthy of special mention that our activities were financially supported by several Networks for historical materials and private donations. The beginning was a contact from Mr Itagaki who was a member of the Network for Historical Materials and had an experience of investigating in Sakaemura with us. Afterwards, NHM, the Niigata Rescue Network for Historical Materials and individuals sent contributions to our group. Therefore, we could add them to the expenses for traveling, lodging and buying rescue tools.

The voluntary participants spent their holidays changing their work schedules with their own expense. We had worried that it would be costly for them to pay traveling fees to the field and lodging fees, and it would make it difficult to continuously carry out the operations. In that sense, the fact that we could receive donations was extremely meaningful. Taking this opportunity, we would like to express our gratitude to the institutions and individuals who contributed to us.

The whitewashed warehouse affected by the quake

(to be continued)

The Second/Third Preservation Activities after the Nagano Hokubu Earthquake ~Part3

~The report about the suffered area in Sakaemura Village published on July 15th~


3.The Features of the Second Preservation Activity

We found the different features in the second preservation activities from the previous ones as follows;

The Folk-Cultural Materials

_1.This was the first time inspection cooperating with the specialists of the folk-cultural utensils

_2.Getting the data of the target family beforehand, and making use of them

_3.Carrying the folk-cultural utensils and historical documents from the houses and whitewashed warehouse which were scheduled to  be demolished

_4.Many voluntary workers whom we had never met before participated in our activities, so we organised them into groups depending on their expertise

_5.Making use of the Bulletin Board System as a way for sending information to the participants who would came from various faraway places

_6.Receiving the donations from Kobe, Niigata and other Networks

The Folk-cultural Materials


3-1.The Cooperation with the Specialists of Folk-cultural Utensils

I have carried out the survey of the historical documents for over ten years in Sakaemura, and I had plenty of opportunities to pick out a lot of folk-cultural utensils through the investigation, however I had never inspected together with such experts. In the investigation of the Hh family’s whitewashed warehouse in 2004, although I discovered a large amount of utensils and furniture there, I didn’t have any idea about them because I wasn’t a specialist. So I once published a paper whose title was “Inquiring into the value of folk-cultural utensils—from the investigation of a certain family’s possessions” (Monthly Mingu, vol.40, book6, September 2007) so as to be given some advice by the experts. Unfortunately I couldn’t receive any. Therefore, how to deal with the folk-cultural utensils has been the outstanding issue for me for a long time.

The rafters were unfastened

In this disaster, many whitewashed warehouses were affected and the most of them are facing the danger of being demolished. Then, many of those traditional utensils which are no longer used nowadays wouldn lose their places of storage, so we easily anticipated that they would be eventually scrapped. Mr Yoshihiro Yoroi whom we happened to invite to this preservation activity made an offer to Ms Ritsuko Ishino who was a Visiting Fellow of the Institute for the Study of Japanese Folk Culture, Kanagawa University and had rich achievements in the inspection for folk-cultural properties, and then the cooperative investigation was realised. She also advertised for some postgraduate students who had experience of the survey of traditional utensils to participate, likewise, the museum curators from Nagano, Toyama and Niigata Prefectures also took part in our activities. As a result, we, investigators of history and the researchers of folklore teamed together and surveyed each family.

Transferring operation

3-2.Gathering Information about the Target Families in Advance

In the previous survey, our main activities were to put the scattered utensils which had been investigated before in order, and confirm the present condition of 4 families which owned old whitewashed warehouses. However, the reason why we could research these 4 family’s warehouses was because the local supporter had visited to each family without appointment and had gotten some information about their possessions, therefore, we couldn’t say that was an exhaustive inquiry.

On the other hand , in this operation, we could get several offers to give us the lists from the municipal office, the Board of Education and the Prefectural Museum about the cultural properties’ whereabouts or the structures which would be scheduled to be demolished. During this investigation operation, we could visit 17 houses in 3 days, that owned these lists.

The Materials on the truck

3-3. The Transportation of the Historical Documents & Folk-Cultural Utensils

As I mentioned before, the removal operation subsidised by the public expense are advancing, therefore the cultural properties which the owners regard as being unnecessary will be scrapped. In these cases, they will be immediately scrapped if we do not secure them and transfer them to some place of storage. Actually we met such cases, so at that time we had to urgently move them to the private garage as a temporary space cooperating with local supporters. Before we started our activities, we had requested the municipal office to respond if such cases occurred, however their opinion was that they couldn’t take any responsibilities, and then they told us not to move anything. For this reason, we transferred the materials under my responsibility. Because these cases indeed happened, the municipal officer who had a duty for the cultural affairs hurriedly searched for the temporary space for the cultural properties. Those spaces were the garages due to the fact that we couldn’t confirm the conditions of the new places in such a limited time and if the place was far from each owners’ house, it was inconvenient. Hereafter how to retransfer the materials from the temporary space to the more secured place will be considered.

The materials in the temporary space

(to be continued)

The Second/Third Preservation Activities after the Nagano Hokubu Earthquake ~Part2

~The report about the suffered area in Sakaemura Village published on July 15th~

1.The Base Data for the Second Preservation Activity

  • Duration: 4days from 17th to 20th of June
  • Participants: Satoshi Shirouzu, Yoshihiro Yoroi, Katsuki Ohashi, Ritsuko Ishino, Makoto Yanagisawa, Eiji Matsuura, Fumitoshi Hoshina, Satoshi Maeshima, Takashi Itagaki, Daishi Yoshihara, Kouji Kondo, Kazumasa Dairaku, Tsutomu Suzuki, Motoki Tanabe, Kazuhiko Harada, Yujiro Hosoi, Takashi Miyazawa, Kazutaka Morishima, and Tsuneaki Aragaki. Hiroaki Yamagami cooperated in the field.
  • Schedule: 17th-held the meeting together with the members of our group and people concerned in each area at the Sakaemura Board of Education. 18th-inspection of the repository for folk-cultural utensils and getting some advice about tidying them up. Carrying out the preservation operation for the families of Io, Sya, Sb, Hy, Syo, Tma, Tmi. 19th-preservation operation for each whitewashed warehouse owned by families of Io, Kr, Hk, Kr, Hs, Hh. 20th-preservation operation at the houses of Hh, St, Sh, Km, Sh families. Additionally, requested to contact with the Sf family.

    The slanted warehouse

2.The Contents and Results of the Second Preservation Operation

As for the specific contents of our activities, we confirmed whether old archives or books, folk-cultural tools existed or not, and if they existed, we basically made a list of them. We made use of our particular recording cards which we usually used in the investigative operations, and each inspection card is integrated and classified into each owner.

Simultaneously we had to adopt the materials if the owner had an intension to scrap them, and in turn they had to be transferred to the temporary space.

In terms of the basic idea for the extraction, speaking about the case of he Hh family’s possessions as an example, all the  folk-cultural utensils which had been preserved in the whitewashed warehouse were targeted, except for the bedding because they easily went bad and become verminous. However the case of the Hh family’s utensils held a unique position because their utensils were already representative of each era of production and they would become the criterion for the other utensils in Sakaemura. Therefore, from other family’s belongings only unique ones were removed and compared with the Hh family’s materials, or the ones which never seen in the Hh family’s. As for the documentary records, except for the publications which were published in the modern and contemporary times and were available to be referred to in other institutions, and the leading notebooks after the 1960s, whole documents were removed. Depending on the case, they were not always to be taken out based on the abovementioned method.

The Meeting with members

The utensils which had been preserved in the Hh family’s whitewashed warehouse, we had already finished tagging the numbers and had drawn a plan at the investigation in 2004, we started to newly attach more detailed numbers to every utensil so as to prepare them for transportation. Because this operation couldn’t be finished until the last day of the activities, we have to continue to do it.

Among the second preservation activities, the largest amount of materials in the severest condition was the Io family’s whitewashed warehouse. This warehouse, seriously damaged by the quake was entirely slanted and a part of the rafters were unfastened and had fallen down to the ground floor, and it prevented us from entering the entrance because it sealed half of the gate. Furthermore, the first floor was partially buckled, and likely to suffer further collapse. This warehouse preserved many kinds of folk-cultural utensils and historical documents, therefore we had to carry them out in order to immediately scrap this structure. Eventually, those materials were transferred to the garage as a temporary space by a lightweight truck going back and forth a total of 10 times, and 30 boxes of historical documents were conveyed there.

Likewise, we took out the folk-cultural utensils from both the Kr and Th families, and moved the traditional tools from the whitewashed warehouse gravely damaged by the quake to another warehouse possessed by the same owner.

Confirming the utensils in repository

As for the materials and old archives which were preserved in the warehouse which didn’t have any schedule to be scrapped and were  conservable, we just confirmed their present condition and recorded the information for the forthcoming operation.

The Second/Third Preservation Activities after the Nagano Hokubu Earthquake ~Part1

~The report about the suffered area in Sakaemura Village published on July 15th~

Satoshi Shirouzu, the representative of the voluntary group for preserving community’s historical materials


13 hours after the East Japan Earthquake whose seismic centre was traced to off the Tohoku area, the great earthquake whose epicentre was located in the northern area of Nagano Prefecture occurred, and Sakaemura Village was gravely damaged.

Afterwards, from the end of April to the beginning of May when people seemed to regain their presence of mind in the devastated area, we visited the field so as to carry out the preservation activities for damaged materials with our fellows who had supported us to investigate the historical documents for a long time. The details of the first time survey was seen in the previous report, but roughly speaking, we mainly carried out the tidying operations for the old utensils scattered in the H family’s whitewashed warehouse in the Mori district.

As June has come, the removal operations which were officially redressed based on the Victim’s Certificate were regularised. Due to the grave damage, the old structures which could not be used evermore or had been designated to be demolished amounted to many, and regrettably included those buildings which we had anticipated to contain many cultural properties such as folk-cultural utensils and old archives. It in turn led us to carry out the second preservation operation for them.

After the first time activity, because we received the financial support from Kobe and the Niigata Network for Historical Materials, we named ourselves as the ‘voluntary group for preserving community’s historical materials’, Moreover, we could carry out the preservation activities with peoples’ approval more readily than before.

Following are the reports of our activities which were carried out from 17th to 20th of June, and from 8th to 10th of July.

In addition, our group is not an organisation which has stationary members. Our name should be understood as a kind of team title which would cover all the participants assembling whenever the activities are held. Besides, as for the owners’ names, we give just the initial letters (for surnames: capital letters, for given names: small letters).

(to be continued)

The Preservation Activity after the Nagano Hokubu Earthquake ~Part4

Satoshi Shirouze, representative of the voluntary group for preserving community’s historical materials

6. The Partnership with the Local People
(1) The relationship with the board of education
At this quake, we faced the situation that the media didn’t broadcast the Sakaemura’s disaster, so we could know nothing about it. The reason why we could grasp the present condition of the whitewashed warehouses which we had investigated before was because Mr.Masayuki Higuchi who worked as a manager for lifelong education in the local Board of education contacted me. I received information from Mr. Higuchi that whitewashed warehouses were seriously damaged, and one of them had a hole the size of a man torn into it, additionally he sent me photos which were taken inside the hole. Apprehensive of robbery, I asked him to carry out the urgent measure for the wall, and he quickly reacted it. He was also a relative of the ‘H’ family, and fortunately he had an acquaintance who managed the warehouse and worked for the construction company. Moreover, as I mentioned before, when we carried out the preservation operation, the Board of education prepared the helmets and name plates to be used as ID cards.
Previous to this operation, on March 20th, they arranged to publish our appeal about preserving old archives and cultural properties in the town paper “Hang in there, Sakaemura!” vol.17, which was distributed in the shelters for the local people. Beforehand, I had an opportunity to talk with Mr.Higuchi by phone and I conveyed that I was worried that people would scrap the cultural properties, so I guess he reflected my opinion.

The town paper “Hang in there, Sakaemura!”

Our operation advanced very smoothly I suppose because we had always constructed good relationships with successive managers for lifelong education. During the last ten years, as I had associated with four successive managers, all of them deeply understood our investigative activities and opened the gates to us. Because of this relationship, I consider that we could smoothly contact with the local people.
(2) The people who voluntary cooperated with us
With regard to the whitewashed warehouses which we newly investigated his time, we had no information about them before the activity. “I heard that old archives are preserved in that warehouse in such and such an area.” The people who gave us such information were, as I mentioned before, those who had a great interest in the cultural properties. Without their support, it was impossible for us to carry out efficient inspections. As he found a whitewashed warehouse, he rapidly talked with the owner’s family without reservation, and guided us to investigate the warehouse. He was really invaluable figure. Simultaneously, he taught us that it was necessary for our activity to be conducted.
(3)The Daily Report about the Retrieval and Reconstruction
From the day of the earthquake to the present, there is a person who has been sending me the reports about the present condition and the situation of the retrieval and reconstruction in Sakaemura almost every day. He is Mr.Makoto Matsuo of Kyoto Seika University. He moved to Sakaemura since 2006, and recently he is living near there and tackling to develop the community. At this quake, his lodging was also damaged and became unsuitable for habitation, so he is staying in temporary housing.
However he is sending reports every day, and its components are published on his blog titled “NPO Sakaemura Network, the Progress for the Reconstruction of Sakaemura”. The reason why I could grasp the present condition and the extent of damage about Sakaemura owes much to these reports. It is very meaningful for upcoming activities about the reconstruction to report their conditions and suggest ideas based on the sufferers’ point of view, and to release them to everyone can access it every time. In addition, he published our appeal about preserving cultural properties on his report and blog.

7. The Problem of the Timing to Enter the Devastated Area
To be honest, the timing to enter the devastated field was a quite difficult problem. The most serious issue for sufferers right after the quake was getting access to clothes, food, and living places. All the sufferers could do was to live, so it would be impossible to consider about the inspection of cultural properties. However, the activity for preserving cultural properties is not merely a game either. To protect the cultural properties is definitely not only a nostalgic pastime, it is absolutely necessary to support the people’s hearts as they reconstruct their lives, and actually those properties have a role to pass down the community’s memory for generations.
If we would go into the devastated area until later, many historical materials would have been already scrapped as disaster waste. As for the traditional utensils, we regret that we should have visited there earlier, for example, as people had thrown them away as waste. Afterwards, I heard that the demolition and removal operations for the razed or partially destroyed houses will be started by the public expense based on the Disaster Certificates. This occasion will be our second operation.

8. About the Upcoming Activity
When the demolition operations begin, we plan to visit there again. We consider it necessary to prevent the scattering, losing and scrapping of cultural properties. Furthermore, it will be important to grasp the historical materials left behind after our inspection. For this reason, we will go around the houses which have whitewashed warehouse mainly in the villages where were damaged by the quake. ( the end)

 NB: The photos are all from the Report of  the Preservation Activity for Nagano Hokubu Earthquake by Mr.Shirouze.