Forefront of research Toshiaki Yanagihara

Towards a work on regional history filled with a wealth of information based on “Periphery of Medieval Japan and East Asia”

On March 11, 2011, the day of the Great East Japan and up to present

In February 2011, Professor Yanagihara of the Graduate School of Arts and Letters, Tohoku University published “Periphery of Medieval Japan and East Asia,” a work representing his research on regional history in medieval-times. For details of this book please refer to the booklet of the Faculty/School of Letters and Art. About one month later the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred.

On the day of the disaster, Professor Yanagihara was participating in a joint research project on an ancient work entitled “Uesuke Document” in Kumejima Island, Okinawa. In the latest research methods on historical documents, researchers are interested not only in the written content and style but also the composition of paper used and the production process. Professor Yanagihara examined the paper quality of the ancient document with surveying equipment, such as a microscope.

When he was just about to board the plane at Kumejima Airport to return to Sendai, the Great East Japan Earthquake struck. Of course, Sendai Airport was closed, and the Tohoku Shinkansen was also stopped. Therefore, he was unable to return to Sendai until one week after the disaster. The laboratory was buried in books and furniture, although the bookshelf itself did not fall.