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Japan Watch: Damage Toll Rises for Cultural Sites

Damaged by earthquake: Ōsaki Hachiman Shrine, a designated Japanese National Treasure, Sendai

The Japanese Agency of Cultural Affairs’ previous list of damage to cultural properties caused by the recent earthquake has now been updated. The total number of known instances of damage has risen from 246 to 353. For the first time, some of the affected sites have been specifically identified.

The four affected National Treasures (up from two on the previous list) are:

Zuigan Temple (瑞巌寺, Zuigan-ji), Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture.
The earthquake caused some cracks in the walls.

Ōsaki Hachiman Shrine (大崎八幡宮, Ōsaki Hachiman-gū), Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture.
The earthquake broke the walls, the lacquering and the sculptures slightly.

Amida Hall (阿弥陀堂, Amida-dō), Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture.
The earthquake broke the wall slightly.

Buddha Hall of Seihaku Temple (清白寺仏殿, Seihaku-ji Butsuden), Yamanashi, Yamanashi Prefecture.
The earthquake broke the ranma [carved wooden panel] (欄間).

According to the agency’s report, the earthquake and tsunami “caused great damages around Matsushima.” Sites around Matsushima that had been designated as Special Places of Scenic Beauty and were damaged during the disaster include: Shiogama (塩竃), Shichigahama (七ヶ浜), Rifu (利府), Matsushima (松島), Higashi-matsushima (東松島).

The number of known instances of damage to Important Cultural Properties has risen from 74 to 103.

In happier news, the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo has just announced that its new exhibitions French Window: Looking at Contemporary Art through the Marcel Duchamp Prize and MAM Project 014: Taguchi Yukihiro, postponed from their Mar. 18 opening date, will open tomorrow (to Aug. 28).

In an e-mailed message, the Mori wrote:

Some of the artworks comprising the “French Window” exhibition will not be shown at the beginning of the exhibition period. However, we are planning on adding more works, depending upon some circumstances.

Those “circumstances” may involve lenders’ qualms. (The Mori does not possess a permanent collection.)

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