Typhoon Hagibis damaged 163 cultural assets in Japan, agency says


Powerful Typhoon Hagibis damaged 163 cultural assets in 22 prefectures, including a Tomioka Silk Mill building designated as a national treasure by the government, a Cultural Affairs Agency survey revealed Saturday.

The agency is concerned that the number will rise further as more damage could be reported from areas severely affected by the typhoon earlier this month.

Tochigi Prefecture saw the largest number of damaged assets, at 34, followed by Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, both at 21.

Of the damaged cultural assets, one is a national treasure, 32 are important cultural properties and six are special historic sites.

In Gunma Prefecture, the typhoon broke a window at the Tomioka Silk Mill’s silk-reeling plant, a national treasure. Established by the Meiji government in 1872, the silk mill was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014.

The stone walls of Hikone Castle in Shiga Prefecture, which are designated as a special historic site, partially collapsed. The castle tower, a national treasure, was undamaged.

At the special historic site of the Chusonji Temple in Iwate Prefecture, fallen trees and landslides were confirmed. But no damage was found to buildings, including the gold-covered Konjikido, a national treasure.

Among 21 buildings designated as important cultural properties at Koiwai Farm in Iwate Prefecture, 10 were damaged. Strong winds from the typhoon blew off the zinc roof of a cowshed and broke windows.

Typhoon damage was also reported in Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture, a major scenic spot.

The agency informed prefectural governments on Oct. 16 of a system in which they can start repair work on disaster-hit cultural assets before restoration subsidies are granted and receive such aid later on.

“The number of damage reports on cultural assets is expected to increase as reconstruction by local governments makes progress,” an agency official said. “We will check the situation and prioritize (repair) work at spots at risk.”

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