• Jiji


A powerful earthquake that struck northeastern and eastern regions of Japan late Saturday damaged 83 cultural assets, mainly in Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures, according to the Cultural Affairs Agency.

At Agatsumake Jutaku, the house of a wealthy farmer in the town of Zao, Miyagi Prefecture, who served as a village officer in the Edo period (1603-1868), walls in the main building were cracked in multiple places and three storehouses saw their earthen walls collapse almost entirely. Tremors registering upper 6, the second-highest level, on Japan's seven-level shindo seismic intensity scale, were registered in Zao on Saturday.

Constructed in the latter half of the Edo period, all of the buildings in Zao have been designated important properties by the Japanese government. They had suffered similar damage at the time of the March 2011 major earthquake and underwent repair work for two years and eight months.

At the building of a former junior high school constructed in the Meiji era (1868-1912) in the city of Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, where tremors measuring lower 6 on the shindo scale were measured in Saturday's quake, cracks appeared in a plaster inner wall and flakes were seen falling from the ceiling.

A blackboard in a classroom fell down as the facility operator could not secure it to the wall of the school building, which has been registered as an important cultural property.

Among other damaged cultural assets, several tiles fell from the roof of Zuiganji, a Buddhist temple in the town of Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture, whose main building has been designated as a national treasure. At the Nikko Toshogu shrine in the city of Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, a wind bell that had been suspended in a hall for kagura Shinto music and dance performances fell.

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