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Visiting Shinchimachi, Soma City and Minamisoma City

From the Fukushima Network

Published on 5 June 2011

Author(s): Network for Historical Materials

Type:  Blog/Situation report

From the April 8th blog of the Fukushima Network for Preserving Historical Materials

Yesterday night around 23:32pm, the Mg7.4 aftershock whose seismic centre was in the offing of Miyagi Prefecture occurred and the intensive quake was recorded in that area. We express our deepest sympathies with the sufferers.

In Fukushima Prefecture, the quake was a bit slighter that Miyagi Prefecture, and there was no another damage in Fukushima Prefectural Historical Museum where I am working.
The day before yesterday, we inquired after each Board of education and the Compiling Room for local history in Shinchimachi, Soma City and Minamisoma City. We saw with dismay the scenery which had been utterly changed by the Tsunami, and prayed for the victims and looked silently with misery at the site.

The ‘Kankaido(*)’ which had been designated as a prefectural historic site and was located near Shinchi Station had completely disappeared. Not only the structure of ‘Kankaido’, but also all of historical heritage which had been inherited from the ancestors in this community were eradiated by the Tsunami which hit the coastline area, along with a lot of people’s lives. Every fishery plant which we would have requested to cooperate with us to rescue the waterlogged historical documents had also entirely vanished without an imprint.

In Soma City around Matsukawa Creek, the vehicles of the police or Self-Defence Forces were frequently coming and going, the atmosphere was as if we were in warzone. The city’s compiling room for cultural properties was changed to a room for keeping things left behind.

We met a town officer who had worked for the cultural properties, but now he was engaged in treating sufferers, although he was also a victim and had to stay in evacuation station. While he was in the harsh circumstances suffering from the nuclear plant accident, he had a strong passion and a hope that he would surely protect the community’s historical heritage. We felt that we were encouraged by his attitude. We keenly believe that our Fukushima Network’s role must advance those hopes towards to the future.

*Kankaido(観海堂): The old Japanese traditional house constructed as a village school in May in 1872. It was established by the villagers themselves before the enactment of the public educational system by the Meiji Government in September 1872.

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