When we started conducting salvage operations for historical materials within the boundaries of the 5 municipalities (at the time) affected by these earthquakes, in the 192 old families we visited we found that many irreplaceable items, for example old tools, implements and furniture, and historical documents and paintings, all of which form a unique part of the historical heritage of each region, had been either burnt or thrown away when demolishing old houses and warehouses which had been badly damaged by the earthquakes.
What Are ‘Preservation Activities?’
Miyagi Shiryō Net:
Our Story in Pictures
Activities and Operations Conducted from 2003 until 2009
A warehouse damaged by the northern Miyagi Inland Earthquake, former Kahoku Town (now Ishinomaki City), 10th August 2003. The warehouse contained a collection of Jōmon Period pottery and other artifacts discovered nearby and excavated between 1910 and 1926. The warehouse belongs to a family which accumulated wealth as landlords and rose to wealth in the Edo Period (1600-1868).
Inside the warehouse above. The shelves have either fallen over or been twisted and damaged by the shock of the earthquake.
Carrying out old documents from another damaged warehouse for temporary safe-keeping (31st August, 2003).
Assessing the contents of the documents.
Salvaging the Jōmon Period pottery from shattered display cases.
Creating a catalogue of the documents held by the Kurihara Den'en Railways, Kurihara City, 3rd August 2006. The company operating the railway was terminated in 2007.
Creating a digital record of an extensive collection held by an old family in Karakuwa, Kesen'numa. In this session, over 20 digital cameras were used, but photographing this collection has been an ongoing operation extending over several years (5th August, 2007). (Note: the entry in Wikipedia for 'Karakuwa' is garbled, but is the best I could find JFM)
The slope beside a school which collapsed after the Iwate-Miyagi Inland Earthquake of 14th June, 2008 (photographed on 15th June, 2008).
Gravestones overturned by the earthquake of 2008 (15th July 2008, Kurihara City). In Japan, bodies are usually cremated and placed in a family grave, rather than an individual one. Gravestones are an important symbol linking present family members and their ancestors.
Student volunteer members scanning through local histories and other published sources to locate collections of original documents within the earthquake-affected area (Tōhoku University, Sendai, 16th June, 2008).
Assessing the contents of a wicker basket full of original documents which fell down from the ceiling of a warehouse during the earthquake of 2008 (Kurihara City, 29th June, 2008)
During a visit to families long established in the district throughout the affected areas, we discover a hitherto unknown collection of documents (Ōsaki City, 27th August 2008)
Entering an old warehouse to search it for old documents and historical materials (Fujisawa Town, Iwate Prefecture, 8th August 2008)
Inside the above warehouse, we found a collection of Edo Period documents in an antique chest of drawers.
Assessing the collection of documents discovered above.
Sorting the documents in the above collection.