Tsunami-damaged kominka to be moved to Shikoku

Many of Japan’s cultural properties were also damaged or destroyed by the March 11 Tohoku Disaster, including a 300 year old farmhouse (kominka) in Minamisanriku Town, Miyagi Prefecture.

The “Endo Residence” is over 500 meters from the coast, yet was picked up and moved about 20 meters by the March 11 tsunami. Despite the house being warped, the daikoku-bashira and thatched roof remain mostly intact in their original shape.

Built in 1702, the house was still being used up until the 2011 disaster as an important part of Minamisanriku’s sericulture (silk farming) industry. It is not officially listed as a cultural asset, but is widely known within the prefecture and is a popular subject in many sketches and paintings.

It will be moved to “Shikokumura” (http://www.shikokumura.or.jp/) – an open-air historical architecture park in Kagawa Prefecture (Shikoku) where it will be rebuilt and expected to last another 100 – 200 years. Moving costs are expected to amount to over 100 million Yen. The 13th generation owner, Shigeyuki Endo, is grateful that the house will be preserved so that future generations can enjoy it.

* Update: By mid-2013, there had been no progress in the shifting of the house. The building materials are currently stored in Kagawa Prefecture.

The kominka several years ago

Sources:
Mainichi Shimbun, September 23, 2011
TBS News, September 27, 2011

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