Extracts from the Miyagi Network News XXXI

Preserviation activities in Shizugawa, Minamisanrikucho

Published on 11 June 2011

Author(s): Network for Historical Materials/Masashi Amano

Type:  Blog/Situation report Vol 131

The Preservation Activity for Historical Materials in Shizugawa, Minamisanrikucho

This is Masashi Amano, as a secretariat officer of the Miyagi Network for Preserving Historical Materials.

On June 1st, we carried out the preservation activity of the historical materials in the Shizugawa area, Minamisanrikucho. The ‘E’ family which was our operation’s target was a notable and their venerable main house was built in the Genroku(*) period though, a large part of the house was washed away by the Tsunami.

According to the master of the family, when he had negotiated how to make use of the structure materials which remained after the disaster, he was told about our activities. After that, he requested us to rescue their historical materials, and our team visited there.

The collapsed house.jpg
The collapsed house

When the secretariat officers reached their house, we found the house roofing with thatch had been seriously damaged by the Tsunami. As for the important ancestral materials, the master of the family had already taken them out from the collapsed house after the disaster, moreover those old archives from the Edo Period had already been treated and dried by him.

However, as we investigated the inside of the main house, a lot of documents which were concerned with the young men’s association and the sericulture industry which the family had engaged in during the modern times were scattered here and there. We decided to pick up those materials as much as possible, and will carry out the preservation measures.

This was the first time to be active in the Shizugawa area after the quake. Due to the heavy rain which fell a few days ago in the devastated area, there were bug puddles and we were apprehensive of further damage such as landslides.

As we listened to his story, his business which he had managed for a long time had been catastrophically damaged by the quake and the Tsunami, and almost all machinery and material had also been washed away. Nevertheless, he still couldn’t get any information about what kind of and how much support they could officially receive from the government or the municipal office. In such a situation, the master of the family is trying to preserve their ancestral house and old archives by any means, and that’s why he consulted with us.
Confirming the extent of damagae for the old archives

I think there are various ideas about what the support for the devastated area should be. Among those, we consider that our support for them is to help pass down their history and memories which each family has inherited for a long time to the next generation. Although three months have passed since the quake, the request from each place in Miyagi Prefecture reaches our secretariat office almost every day.

We keenly desire to respond to their requests and preserve their history as much as we possibly can. As of the present, we have received a lot of support from many of you. We anticipate that our work will be required for a long time. We appreciate your continuous support and cooperation hereafter.

NB: The photos are all from the homepage of the Miyagi Network for Preserving Historical Materials.

*Genroku(元禄): A Japanese era dating from 1688 to 1703.

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