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Privately owned items worth protecting as a record for future

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Old documents, diaries, paintings, photographs, maps, folkcraft items and even farm tools, all of which can be found fairly easily around Japan, are important materials that can shed light on the history and development of local communities and how their dialects evolved over time.

These items need to be preserved for posterity. But they can easily vanish due to regional depopulation and urban redevelopment or when a natural disaster strikes.

For national treasures and cultural properties designated as such by local governments, there is hope for their recovery and reconstruction with government funding. But items owned by private citizens or organizations are usually forgotten.

On the understanding that such privately owned materials have historical value and are worth protecting, communities affected by the Great Hanshin Earthquake 25 years ago attempted to salvage all sorts of materials from ruined homes and buildings. The items were stored in public archives and........

© The Asahi Shimbun