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News Letter from Iwate Network (on June 6th)

Activities of the Iwate Network

Published on 18 June 2011

Author(s): Network for Historical Materials

Type:  Blog/Situation report

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.

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