Friday, 4 December 2020

 Miyagi Shiryō Net
9 Years 9 Months from 3.11

    Nine years and 9 months have passed since the tsunami of 11th March, 2011. I would like to present a short review of the status of Miyagi Shiryō Net's (MSN) salvage activities for historical heritage (mainly collections of old documents) since the tsunami.

At the time of writing (2nd Dec. 2020), MSN has taken 88 collections of documents and other records put at risk by the tsunami and earthquake of 2011 into our hands for cleaning and restoration. MSN 'borrows' these collections until the documents have been restored to state where they can be returned to their owners/custodians.

Of these 88 collections, MSN has completed the task of returning 26 collections to their original owners/custodians after cleaning the documents of sand, salt and other deposited material and restoring the documents to a stable condition, and then digitally recording all the documents. This amounts to roughly 30% of the collections we have in temporary holding awaiting treatment. 

Of these 26,  we have been able to provide either an index or other supplementary explanatory information for only 13 collections. In other words, we have only been able to provide basic information which makes it easier to access and use the contents of the collection for only some 15% of the total number of collections that we have salvaged. 

It goes without saying that it takes an enormous amount of time and human power to complete the multiple stages of treatment necessary to restore documents which have been exposed to immersion in seawater to a stable state. MSN had only just begun to start treating documents that we had salvaged from non-coastal areas in 2013, when we were faced with the task of mobilising to salvage collections at risk due to Typhoon Hagibis (Typhoon No. 19)  in October 2019. To make matters worse, the onset of Covid-19 has resulted in a 5 month hiatus in our restoration work. Notwithstanding, we are now nearing the point where we can say that we have completed the process of initial stabilisation on all the collections damaged by immersion in seawater. We have been able to achieve this task thanks to the unstinting work of our volunteer supporters over a period of 9 years and 7 months. I would like to extend a special word of thanks to all our volunteers for achieving this Herculean task.

On the other hand, as the figures above show, we are still a long way away from achieving our ultimate goal, and we must continue to move forward, one small step after another.

3.11 is becoming past history, but for us it is still far from being over. We thank you for your concern and support up to today, and hope that you will continue to support our work in the future.

Satō Daisuke for MSN
Translation J.F. Morris

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