Associate Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (Modern Japanese History)
Yamagata City, where Yamagata University is located, is changing by the moment due to store closures and redevelopment in the context of economic stagnation and the COVID-19 pandemic. If, therefore, we simply watch these events unfold, the irreplaceable “memories” of the community that should be preserved for the future, such as the landscape and people’s thoughts, will be lost. Accordingly, in 2022, Yamagata University Museum, where the author serves as a curator/researcher, launched the project “A ‘Co-created’ Archive of Local Memories: For the Future of the Town and People” to actively collect local “memories” and make them available to the public in digital archives.
One specific effort is the “Machi no kioku wo nokoshitai (Corps for Town Memory Archives)”. The Corps was organized mainly by students who have taken the “Archiving Memories of the Town,” which is a class in the arts and sciences taught by the author, and students in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, where the author teaches, to collect “memories” of the town’s landscape and accounts of its inhabitants. In cooperation with the Nanokamachi Shopping District (Yamagata Machizukuri Inc.), we hold semi-annual events called “Nanahaku!” where the results of that effort are disseminated.“Machi no kioku wo nokoshitai (Corps for Town Memory Archives)”developed into a student club in 2023.
This unusual attempt by a university museum to permanently collect local “memories” has garnered attention in the academic world, as evinced by the fact that a research presentation at the 7th Research Conference of Japan Society for Digital Archive was selected as the best presentation.