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March 16, 2012

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A Message from Japan's Foundation for Cultural Heritage and Art Research about Save Our Culture

Posted by Shigeru Muraki Deputy Secretary-General, Foundation for Cultural Heritage and Art Research
World Monuments Fund

Currently, there are 91 Nationally Selected Important Preservation Districts in Japan where groups of traditional buildings are protected. Among them, six districts were affected by the earthquake. Sawara city in Chiba Prefecture is such a case. It is a well-known city, a part of which has been preserved as a historic commercial district that prospered in the Edo period (seventeenth–nineteenth centuries). About 70% of its 92 historic structures were affected. Along with ceilings and walls, the most severely damaged were the roofs including caved-in ridge tiles, falling tiles and cracks, peeling and caved-in external walls. People in this city are earnestly taking action to recover this important historic district.

Until now, most of the suffering cultural heritage and properties are waiting to be restored or refurbished. However, the Foundation of Cultural Heritage and Art Research and World Monuments Fund are now acting to raise funds in cooperation with Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs and Tokyo University of the Arts under a campaign called the “SOC” (Save Our Culture). Through this campaign, about US$1.35mil had been raised at the end of February. However, it will take a long time to restore or refurbish cultural heritage there, so we wish as many people and institutions in the world as possible to join our “SOC” movement.