The aim of this paper is to clarify the reality of the reviving of shrine ritual in order not only to rethink ongoing projects implemented under the word “Earthquake Disaster Reconstruction” but to think post-earthquake rebuilding of town in future tsunami-prone areas.
The results are the following:
(1) Damage and Post-Earthquake Movement of the Shrines Hit by Tsunami:
Most of the shrines hit by tsunami have been rebuilt or rehabilitated by the time of the survey. In some cases, the shrines got support from outside.
(2) Relationship between Shrine Rituals and Folk Cultural Assets in Yamada-Town:
In Yamada-town, the shrines play an important role in sustaining the folk cultural assets.
(3) Movement of Ohsugi Shrine Annual Festival Before and After the Earthquake:
Ohsugi shrine has been rebuilt until two years after the earthquake. After further a year, the annual festival was held with the traditional content.
(4) Processes and Problems of Reviving of the Groups of Folk Performing Artists:
Most of the groups of folk performing artists participated in Yamada Festival a half year after the earthquake, and have finished getting an almost full set of equipment until four years after the earthquake, the time of the survey.
(5) Processes and Problems of Reviving of the Group of Mikoshi Bearers:
The group of mikoshi bearers was reorganized for its reviving a year and a half after the earthquake. After further two years, it participated in Yamada Festival in the traditional format once again. When the group of mikoshi bearers was reorganized, the chief priest of Ohsugi shrine became the top adviser of it. Carrying mikoshi in the annual festival is not the same as before in several points because rebuilding of dwelling environment is not going along smoothly.
(6) Relationship between the Rebuilding of Town and the Reviving of Shrine Ritual in Yamada-Town:
The rebuilding of dwelling environment and the industrial recovery reached major milestones at almost the same time as the reviving of shrine ritual. The buildings for the sake of industrial recovery have been used as bases of the group of folk performing artists and the group of mikoshi bearers.
We consider that disaster victims could feel that Reconstruction is going along if annual events were held with the traditional content without suspension. In that sense, it can be said important to hold annual festivals with the possibly same content as before the earthquake since the early stage of rebuilding of town. Although restoring and carrying Mikoshi require a high amount of funds, we infer that support for reviving should be provided as soon after earthquake as possible. Besides, we found that it is especially necessary to make a point for each group to get bases commensurate with its size in likely place.
We also argue the importance of the role played by the chief priest of shrine in rebuilding and sustaining of town to contribute to sustaining the groups of folk performing artists, the group of mikoshi bearers and therefore the community based on above-referenced groups.
Interestingly, the reviving of shrine ritual reached major milestones to coincide with the shifts of dwelling environment from shelter to temporary housing, or from temporary housing to disaster public housing.
Not only in Yamada-town but in general reconstruction, it is hoped that as well as being a memorial for victims of the disaster, shrine ritual would be revived while linking it organically to rebuilding of dwelling environment and industrial recovery to which it is indivisibly related.