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Monday, May 16 • 2:00pm - 3:30pm
(General Session: Hearing from a group - Two Panels on Collaborative Efforts Following Recent Disasters) Saving and Preserving Family and Local History from Natural Disasters: Addressing Challenges from the Recent Earthquakes in Japan

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Three speakers will come from Japan. We will make a presentation about our disaster response to personal materials with historical value through 2011 TSUNAMI disaster. 

Japan has frequently been devastated by natural disasters, including the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and the 1995 Hanshin Awaji Great Earthquake. Motivated by the 1995 Earthquake, historians, educators, and citizens developed a multidisciplinary volunteer-based group: Network for Preserving Historical Materials, know as Shiryo-Net. It has worked as an information clearinghouse in times of disaster, implemented educational workshops for volunteer citizens, helped launch regional groups, and promoted the mitigation of future catastrophes. In the aftermath of the 2011 Earthquake, Shiryo-Net played a key role in rescuing and conserving the damaged historical records by mobilizing volunteer citizens. Experts in the preservation field, on the other hand, joined a rescue operation launched by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, which administers publicly funded museums and cultural facilities. This operation, called the Cultural Properties Rescue Program, was a two-year limited-time enterprise and operated through publicly raised donations. It purchased supplies, consulted on the salvage of cultural properties, and sent conservators from public museums to the disaster affected regions. This panel, consisting of researchers and conservators from Japan and the US, will discuss the activities and roles of the Shiryo-Net, the Rescue Program, volunteers, and the preservation specialists involved in the 2011 Earthquake. We will review the policies and disaster responses of cultural organizations such as the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japanese Association of Museums, and The Japan Society for the Conservation of Cultural Property, comparing and contrasting them with North American counterparts, and providing background information of Japan’s historical and social environment.

For example, in Japan the majority of art collections and historical documents are owned by private institutions and individuals. Publicly endowed cultural repositories are scarce and less well funded, and institutional conservators are few. While privately owned historical documents amount to billions or more, they are scattered from Kyoto’s major temple to a village chief’s house. We will analyze Shiryo-Net ‘s strategies and evaluate the Rescue Program’s accomplishments by asking the following questions. How did the strengths and weaknesses of these two operations complement? Was the reliance on volunteers sustainable? Did the museum conservators have adequate training? How were the for-profit conservation businesses involved in the responses? We will discuss the progresses made for disaster preparedness and responses since the 1995 Earthquake, challenges that lie ahead, and the best approaches to mitigate the damages of future disasters. Finally, we will conclude with an appeal for new ideas, networking, and international collaborations.

avatar for Masashi Amano

Masashi Amano

Assistant Professor, International Research Institute of Disaster Science, Tohoku University
Masashi Amano is an Assistant Professor at the International Research Institute of Disaster Science, Tohoku University. He received his Ph.D. in Literature from Tohoku University, where he studied 18-19th century Japanese political history and paleography. His current research focuses... Read More →

Kazuko Hioki

Conservation Librarian, University of Kentucky Libraries
Currently Kazuko Hioki serves as the Conservation Librarian and Asian Studies Liaison Librarian at the University of Kentucky Libraries. She has worked at the New York Public Library and the Library of Congress. She is a recipient of the 2012 FAIC/Samuel H. Kress Conservation Publication... Read More →
avatar for Tomoko Yasuda Ishimaru

Tomoko Yasuda Ishimaru

Paper Conservator, Tokyo Restoration & Conservation Center (TRCC)
Tomoko Yasuda is a paper conservator and a director at Tokyo Restoration & Conservation Center which is a for-profit studio, specializing in paper mass conservation. She studied restoration and conservation at Tohoku University of Art and Design in Japan and also at the Netherlands... Read More →
avatar for Daishi Yoshihara

Daishi Yoshihara

Associate Fellow, National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo
Daishi Yoshihara is an Associate Fellow at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Tokyo. He specializes in disaster preparedness and risk management for historical local archives. He received his Ph.D. in Literature from Kobe University, where he studied 20th century... Read More →

Monday May 16, 2016 2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Room 516 AB