The Power of Culture for Reconstruction:
Reconstruction after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Buried Cultural Properties Protection

True reconstruction sustained by local cultural properties

Adapted from Hakkutsu sareta Nihon rettō 2014 [Excavations in the Japanese Archipelago, 2014] (Bunkachō [Agency for Cultural Affairs], ed., Asahi Shimbun Publications, 2014).

Three years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake, and in 2013 work on infrastructure such as residential moves to high ground and road construction is progressing in earnest.

As cultural properties have the power to instill local identity and cultivate love for onefs hometown, we believe utilizing them can help achieve true reconstruction. In order for that to come about as soon as possible, investigations are being conducted at the same time as the daily lives of disaster victims are being rebuilt, with the cooperation and understanding of many concerned parties and taking a variety of measures so that the preservation of buried cultural properties can be balanced with the clarification of regional history and culture through excavation.

Optimizing efficiency and dispatching personnel on a national scale

The first important item is optimizing the efficiency of excavation. Reconstruction plans are designed to limit the area of excavation as much as possible, and to have work on structures begin in turn from areas where the investigation has finished. Efforts are aimed and shortening the period of investigation, such as introducing the latest equipment so that mapping is done in speedy fashion.

Next, manpower is being expanded through a major increase in the number of excavators. A total of 92 investigators, from not only prefectural but also municipal and village level educational boards and private archaeological organizations, are being joined by personnel from the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in going to the disaster region to conduct excavations.

Also, expenses for these excavations are being borne in their entirety by the national government, in order to reduce the local economic burden.

As a result of such nationwide efforts, significant new finds were made again in the current year. A portion of these are introduced below. (Negita Yoshio)