The Preservation Activity for the Nagano Hokubu Earthquake III

Preserving the community's historical materials

Published on 26 May 2011

Author(s): Network for Historical Materials/Satoshi Shirouze

Type:  Blog/Situation report Part 3

5. The Other Inspection of the Historical Materials Damaged By the Quake

On May 1st, we investigated the houses of Mr ‘MM’ who works as the superintendent of education in Sakaemura and Mr ’MT’ who is the manager of the community centre. Both are living in the Nodazawa area which was seriously damaged, and their houses were also affected.

The wooden panel in the main house.jpg
The wooden panel in the main house

—The Inspection of ‘MM’ Family’s House

First of all we visited the ‘MM’ family. Although the new house was built in their ground, the former main house which was standing next to the new one was seriously damaged by the quake, such as its wooden panels were broken into pieces and the mud walls had also fallen down.

MM family's warehouse.jpg
MM family's warehouse

We carried out the close inspection of the inside of the whitewashes warehouse, and the wooden boxes which could be confirmed that it had old archives were taken out to the former main house, and executed the operation for recording their present condition. Simultaneously we set out targets on the archives which were contained in the cardboard boxes placed in the former main house and the folding screens which were placed in the warehouse and main house.

The method was that we sketched the present condition and basically noted the outline about ‘which era is this document from’, ‘What it is concerned with’, ‘The amount of documents’. This was the foundation operation in our usual inspection when we discover the new historical materials, so all members could carry out with a practical hand.

In this house , it was revealed that they owned the modern time’s postcards and letters, old deeds and Daifukucho(it means an old-fashioned account book). We made the record card of the inspection for historical materials which are usually drawn once in every inspection and left.

Making a report of their condition.jpg
Making a report of their condition

—The Inspection for ‘MT’ Family’s House

We headed to the ‘MT’ family’s house which was near the ‘MM’ family’s house. Their whitewashed warehouse was not seriously affected and the damage was that only the walls were partially peeled off. As for the inside of the warehouse, the situation was also not so untidy. However, considering the preservation of historical materials, we investigated the warehouse the as same as the ‘MM’ family’s, and then we discovered two wooden boxes which contained old archives. We carried them outside of the warehouse, and took records about the present condition. We confirmed that there were some deeds from early modern to modern times, and Daifukucho.

MT family's warehouse.jpg
MT family's warehouse

On May 2nd, we visited the whitewashed warehouse damaged by the quake in the area of Okubo and Tsubono, based on the information by Mr. Hiroaki Yamagami who had once participated in our inspection operation. After the quake, Mr.Yamagami worried that the historical documents in the village would be scattered and lost, so he had aggressively gone around each devastated area and mainly the houses which had whitewashed warehouses and he gave us information on which houses had old archives. Mr.Suzuki, one of the inspection members, also jumped into the inspection of the damaged warehouses together with Mr. Yamagami.

Inspection for the first floor's archives.jpg
Inspection for the first floor's archives

—The Inspection of ‘S’ family’s house

On the day, we firstly visited ‘S’ house in the Okubo area. Mr.’S’ is living in Mito City, Ibaraki Prefecture, and he inherited this house from the former owner and makes use of it as a cabin. Both the main house and the whitewashed warehouse were damaged by the quake, and especially the warehouse’s white-plaster of the outside wall had peeled off. In this house, we carried out the close investigation not only of the warehouse, but also the main house and its attic where the owners had not entered so much.

The main house was considered as over 100-year-old fine structure, and we didn’t find the grave damage there, although the door board was broken. With regard to the construction of the warehouse, it seemed not to be damaged. For the aforementioned reason, it seemed that almost all old archives had been brought out by the former owner, therefore we could discover only a few modern time archives from the chest placed on the first floor of the warehouse. We recorded the present condition of the archives, and also made a report.

S family's warehouse.jpg
S family's warehouse

—The Inspection of another ‘S’ Family

Next, we visited to another ‘S’ family in Tsubono area. Because we confirmed that the main house and the whitewashed warehouse were not seriously damaged, we investigated the modern time’s archives which were discovered in the warehouse. The master of the family had an internment experience in Siberia right after the Second World War, so we interviewed him. According to him there were many letters which had been exchanged under the censorship by the military regime during the wartime, and we could confirm that that archives group indicated the social situation from the wartime to post-wartime. We also made a report about the archives condition.

S family's archives.jpg
S family's archives

Besides, Mr.Yamagami told us about the ‘H’ family whose house in Tsukioka area was affected by the quake so the old archives were temporarily preserved in the greenhouse. However, we had a deadline to go back home, so just promised to investigate the next time with Mr.’H’, and left there. (to be continued)

Another S family's archives.jpg
Another S family's archives

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

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