Yomitan to establish Japan’s first village-level public archive

 

August 25, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

 

(Yomitan) Yomitan Village in Okinawa Prefecture plans to open a public archive, which will be the first village-established public archive in the country.

The village aims to begin the detailed design phase for the archive in fiscal 2019 and complete the facility by fiscal 2023.

Part of efforts to develop the former site of the U.S. military’s Yomitan Auxiliary Airfield, the new facility will be located near the village office and will house documents currently located at the village library and the village history editorial office.

In addition to documents on the village’s history, the archives will also house documents relating to Chobyo Yara, Okinawa’s first governor following Okinawa’s reversion to Japan in 1972 and a native of Yomitan, including roughly 80,000 documents donated by the Okinawa Teachers’ Union.

The total cost to build the archive will be 1.2 billion yen.

Yomitan will be the second example in Okinawa of such a facility being built at the city, town or village level, the first being Chatan Town.

 

Yomitan Village will appoint professional archivists to the archive and plans to organize existing materials on the history of the village’s postwar recovery and put them in a digital database.

 

Yoshihiko Izumikawa, head of the village library, explains that once the archive is built, “If people come to the library and learn about our history, and feel that they want to learn more, they can go to the archive to do further research.

We hope to create a ‘one-stop service for knowledge’ and turn it into a center for transmission of information.

The archive will rely on disclosure of public documents, so it will promote more transparent government operation.”

 

Until now, the village government has collected many materials on the village’s prewar history, materials relating to migrants, and other such materials.

The data files it has already organized, including photographs, video, audio tapes and the like, exceed 300,000, and there are many more yet to be organized.

Going forward it will work on organizing materials relating to the village’s postwar history.

 

(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)

 

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