A special exhibition is being held until 30 March 2014 in the Long Gallery of the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. Entitled “Surviving Tsunami: Photographs in the Aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake” the exhibition will present visual material salvaged from two museums and a library which were completely destroyed in the town of Rikuzentakata in Iwate prefecture, following the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011.
Rikuzentakata City Museum, the Museum of Oceans and Shellfish and Rikuzentakata City Library were all destroyed by the devastating tsunami of 3.11, and their precious collections badly damaged by the powerful onflow of seawater and mud. A wide range of photographic material from these public institutions was salvaged but found to be in very poor condition. Following an appeal for assistance, the Rikuzentakata Disaster Document Digitalisation Project (‘RD3 project’) was established to bring together professionals with specialist knowledge in photographic materials and conservation techniques, and non-specialists who volunteered to help. From their base in Yokohama, this team is painstakingly drying, restoring and digitalising the surviving materials so that a photographic archive can be established to record the history of life in some of the parts of Tohoku that were most affected by the tsunami. The Pitt Rivers Museum, which houses the University of Oxford’s collection of anthropology and world archaeology has organised this exhibition in collaboration with the Rikuzentakata Disaster Document Digitalisation Project. Please visit the Pitt Rivers Museum website to find out more about this special project which aims to highlight the unique culture of Tohoku and document one aspect of this terrible disaster from a very different perspective.
If you are in Oxford on Friday 25 October, there will be a lecture on this project and exhibition by the Director of the RD3 Project Keishi Mitsui, who is a curator at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, in the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies.
Image: RD3 Project / Rikuzentakata City Museum