The Mitsui & Co. Environment Fund

Introduction to Grant Projects

Kanagawa University Institute for the Study of Japanese Folk Culture

Rebuilding a library of historical fishing industry records in Kesennuma Oshima

Activity grant

Project Description

Significant historical fishing industry records going back to the Meiji period had been safely kept at the fisherman's cooperative in Kesennuma Oshima, Miyagi Prefecture. The center was, unfortunately, destroyed by the tsunami that struck the area, and many important materials were damaged by sand and seawater. This project aims to restore and reorganize materials, and re-establish a library of historical records for safekeeping and research purposes. A repository will be developed to ensure long-term retention of materials, and workshops and systems for browsing documents will be implemented. The project will also ensure collaborative community-building efforts through activities with local citizens and organizations to develop the culture of Oshima

Grant year
FY2011 Activity Grants
Grant term
3 years and 1 month
September 2011 - September 2014
Grant amount
8,958,000 yen
Activity region
Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture (Kesennuma Oshima)
Separating pages of historical documents one-by-one to prevent them from sticking together

Overview of the Organization

Kenji Sano, Head Researcher
Kenji Sano, Head Researcher
Establishment purpose
Founded as the Attic Museum in 1921 and subsequently renamed the Japanese Institute of Culture in 1942, the Institute for the Study of Japanese Folk Culture was moved to Kanagawa University in 1982. As a non-government research institution, the institute has carried out its operations gathering information and conducting analyses on the lifestyle, culture, and history of common people as well as folkcraft and primary materials including manuscripts, with the objective of contributing to both rural districts and society as a whole.
Main areas of activity
Nakajima Ward, Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture; Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture; Okirai District, Sanrikucho, Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture
18 full-time staff members, 89 part-time staff members
Annual operating budget
44.6 million yen in 2008, 44.6 million yen in 2009, 44.6 million yen in 2010
WEB site
Affiliated organizations
Kanagawa University Graduate School of History and Folklore Studies, Kanagawa University; Architectural Design Research Laboratory, Department of Architecture, Kanagawa University Faculty of Engineering; Preservation and Restoration Research Laboratory, Cultural Properties Reserve Center, Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties
Affiliated researchers
Tadao Mizukami(former chairman of the Oshima Chapter of the former Miyagi Prefectural Fisherman's Cooperative Steering Committee); Shunichi Murakami (representative of the Oshima Chapter of the former Miyagi Prefectural Fisherman's Cooperative Steering Committee); Katsumori Chiba (local historian); Ken Kai (managing director of the Kuroshio Inn); Shuichi Kawashima (vice president of the Kesennuma Rias Ark Art Museum); Yosei Kodzuma (head researcher of the Preservation and Restoration Research Laboratory at the Cultural Properties Reserve Center at Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties)
Main activities
On-site research and analysis, including on materials pertaining to the fisherman's cooperative and young people's organizations, investigations on Japanese-style ships and shipwrights, and reports on burial sites and other funeral rituals. Organization, safekeeping, preservation, research, and public release of collected materials (manuscripts, photos, works of art, etc.).