Of course, we all recognize the horrific scale of this tragedy, lives and livelihoods lost. As I have said previously, and as I am sure many people are saying now on blogs and elsewhere, by no means do I intend to make light of that most important and most grievous aspect of this great tragedy.
Yet, news continues to come in about the status of historical sites, art museums & their collections, and the like. My great thanks to the members of the Japan Art History Forum for these updates; if anyone is opposed to my reposting here from the closed mailing list, let me know and I will be more than happy to delete or otherwise alter my posts as appropriate.
*Hiraizumi, the 12th century center of activity of the Northern Fujiwara (or Ôshû Fujiwara) clan, and often referred to as a “mini-Kyoto,” is reported as having sustained no major damage. The town, less than 40 miles from the coast and from places such as Kesennuma which were among the hardest hit, is home to Chûson-ji, a particularly distinctive and famous temple, which contains the Konjikidô, a mausoleum for several prominent members of the Ôshû Fujiwara clan, ornately decorated in gold, silver, and mother-of-pearl.
*I wondered in a previous post about the status of Matsushima, the collection of small islands off the coast widely touted as one of the three most beautiful scenic sights in Japan, which was geographically more or less right between the epicenter and the mainland of Honshû. I still have yet to come across any direct reports on the status of the site, but a report that Zuiganji, a Zen temple, is being used as a safe refuge for tsunami victims is encouraging. The temple is located within the town of Matsushima; only a thousand feet inland from the shore, I am amazed that the temple has remained relatively intact – intact enough to take in people – though I am not sure what this really says about the status of the tiny islands off-shore.