More than 10 glass-plate negatives of photos taken by an amateur photographer showing damage inflicted on a town in Iwate Prefecture by a devastating earthquake and tsunami 118 years ago were discovered recently, with experts describing them as important for both disaster studies and the history of photography.

Kyodo News learned that the 13 negative plates, found at the Morioka Local Meteorological Observatory in Iwate Prefecture, were taken by a photographer the day after an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of up to 8.5 hit the Sanriku region in northeastern Honshu shortly after 7:30 p.m. on June 15, 1896.

The photographer, whose name is believed to be Jimpei Matsusaki, took photos of damage in his hometown of Kuwagasaki, which is now part of the city of Miyako.