Is cultural asset an obstacle for reconstruction?

By Kikki - Last updated: 火曜日, 9月 20, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

[From Ohfunato City-my stricken home town]

– East Japan Great Earthquake & Tsunami Disaster-


Stricken area is wavered between preservation and development

Which is crucial issue, preservation of cultural asset or living of the tsunami victims? There is an argument on a remains of ancient Japan located in the high ground from the tsunami flooded area in Iwate Prefecture.

Although, the remains shall be a good housing area for the tsunami victims who wish moving from tsunami flooded area, there is a strict regulation on the cultural remains.

‘Fundamentally, it is very important cultural asset……’

‘We wish to ease restrictions on cultural assets.’

Local people are really thrown into confusion on to their proud of historical remains.

‘Is a historical site more precious than our lives?’ One of the residents in Takonoura Community, Ohfunato City questioned at the residence meeting for reconstruction on the middle of September.

About 50 households in the community were suffered by the tsunami.

A group of more than 20 households among them have wished moving to the high ground, which is designated as the historical site by the nation.

7 among 15 proprietors of that land also lost their homes.

The national designated historical site ‘Takonoura Shell Mound’ stretches over on the hill 35 meters above the sea.

A large number of earthenware, human bones, and remains of houses in the Jomon Era were found and over 55,000 squire meters have been designated as the national historical site. 
The thickest part of shell layer is more than 2 meters and is well known as one of the biggest shell mounds in Japan with its scale and appropriate condition of preservation.

A national designated historical site is strictly limited its land use under the Cultural Properties Protection Law of Japan and all development projects require permit of the Commissioner for Cultural Affairs.

According to the Agency for Cultural Affairs, main purpose of designation on a historical site is appropriate preservation in a long period, and therefore no house can be moved in the site.

‘We would like to observe opinion from the national government that tends to preserve our valuable cultural assets.’ The officer from Ohfunato City presented at the community meeting for reconstruction. On the other hand, residents strongly wish deregulation of the law on a part of the historical site. The city and residents are estranged from each other.

Does it have such a value?

There are discrepancies between the two on value of the historical site

‘I was not aware of the value that the historical site has.’ A woman (66) who lives in the temporary house in Takanoura Community leans her head to the side.

Although, there is a signboard indicating ‘Takonoura Shell Mound’, the historical site has been utterly neglected.

Usually it has no visitors from other cities and towns and even local residents never realize its value.

The group of 15 proprietors submitted the proposal to Ohfunato City for wishing deregulation on the historical site in June.

‘Although, the shell mound is a historical treasure of the nation, it is hard to become a real treasure of us, if the city won’t be able to prepare any expecting housing site for moving from the tsunami flooded area.’ Mr. Kentaro Shida (82), one of the proprietors, laid bare his heart in confusion.


View Takonura Shell Mound in a larger map

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