Rescuing Ancient Documents

Touhoku HELP is working on a project to “Support the supporter”.
A wide range of areas were affected by disaster, and the affection by disaster varies.
There are wide varieties of support project, and is innumerable for us to count.
But in these circumstances, many support projects face difficulties of continuing for economical reasons, even though the supporter highly desires to give aid.
So we wish to support these kinds of organizations. And if allowed, we desire to cooperate with them, taking part in their support activity. Furthermore, we are hoping to gather information of things that looks small but is critical at the disaster affected areas, and learn from it, and through planning on new support project, would like to connect this to action.
Putting some thoughts in the above things, I would like to introduce a good report we have received concerning support activity.
(March 20th 2012 written by Naoya Kawakami)


March 2012, Report on Documents Conservation Activity Damaged by Tsunami
March 30th 2012
Incorporated NPO Miyagi Historical Records Conservation Network

In order to conserve the Historical Records damaged by Tsunami in Touhoku Earthquake and Tsunami, Incorporated NPO Miyagi Historical Records Conservation Network, commenced the cleaning of damaged documents in order to reserve historical documents in the following way for future generations.

In March, cleaning was operated on 2 personal archival documents plus one document from Ishinomaki City Grade School, 3 documents all together. Even after a year has passed since the catastrophe of the earthquake, we still receive requests from the coastal area, for the rescuing of documents damaged by tsunami. Immediate action is necessary, since the documents are severely deteriorated by mold and water leakage.

This project is carried out by volunteers from various places, under the leadership of the secretariat.

1. Cleaning of Privately Owned Documents found in Sumiyoshi Town Ishinomaki City
Sorting of documents were carried out in a similar way as the previous month, according to its damaged condition, and each documents were dry-cleaned. This project is scheduled to continuously be executed next month onward, but is on pending now, as a great amount of damaged documents requiring prompt action was carried in at the end of March.
The project will be resumed as soon as the urgency of other documents reduces.

2. Cleaning of School Documents in Ishinomaki City
Working on all the documents of elementary and junior high school, which had been continuously worked on from August 2011, finally ended on March 14th.
There were some documents which could not be cleaned, meaning that all the documents were not taken care of in the same way. But one thing which could be said is that all the documents have now escaped its critical conditions.
The binding of a book bound in Japanese style has been redone, and most documents have been restored to the conditions in which it could withstand utilization in the future.
Concerning these documents, they have now been returned to the Board of Education of Ishinomaki City on March 23rd, and the completion of work has been reported.

3. Cleaning of School Documents in the vicinity of Sakamoto, Yamamoto Cho
The director of this corporation informed us about the tsunami affected school document on March 21st, asking us to treat them.
The object document for cleaning was a piece of this schools anthem. They told us that they were planning on making this a symbol to tell the younger generation on the memory of the disaster by earthquake.
Measure was taken by cleaning the dirt and seawater adhered on both surfaces, and now since it has been dried up, double stick tape adhered on the back side of a paper is being removed. Removing of the tape will be continued in April and after.

4. Cleaning of School Documents in the vicinity of Kitakami Town, Ishinomaki City
When the cleaning of documents ended and was returned on March 23rd, information was provided to us that some damaged documents were found in the School near the vicinity of Kitakami Town, Ishinomaki City, and the documents were carried out of the school in the presence of this school’s staff.
Even though a year had elapsed, ruinous deterioration or damage was not found. Though it was in a critical condition, it was judged that the restoration is possible to the wholesome state.
37 cardboard boxes full of damaged documents were then sent to the secretariat in Sendai. These documents are scheduled to be start taken care of next month in stages.

5. Cleaning of Private Owned Documents in Okatsu Town, Ishonomaki City
On March 23rd, information was provided that some damaged documents were found in Ishinomaki City, and these documents were carried out and handed over to the city employee. Since the documents have been ignored for some time after receiving damage by the tsunami, decay on the bottom part of the documents had been quite progressing, and was judged as notably deteriorated and damaged. These documents will be numbered and temporarily kept in a frozen state, and the schedule for it as of now, is to take care of it after the treating of school documents completes.

Redoing the binding of a book bound in Japanese style
(March 12th)

Removing of double stick tape (March 23rd)

Damaged Documents found in Ishinomaki City (March 23rd)

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