Handwritten Newspapers published by Ishinomaki Hibi Shimbun
Ishinomaki Hibi Shimbun is a local evening newspaper which was first published in 1912 in an area of Miyagi Prefecture covering Ishinomaki City, Higashi-Matsushima City and Onagawa-cho (in Oshika County). When the Great East Japan Earthquake hit the company, the ensuing tsunami left the first floor of its office building flooded and two printing presses on the second floor partially flooded. However, miraculously, the building itself remained undamaged. However, with electric power and other infrastructure destroyed, they could not operate the printing presses. The staff of the company were unable to return home, could not have enough food and were not even sure about the safety of their families. Feeling their “mission to report”, by using roll paper for newspaper and felt-tipped pens, they wrote articles on the situation of disaster damage, restoration of life lines, and relief activities, while staying inside the company or their cars. And, they posted hand-written newspapers on the walls of evacuation centers for six days, from March 12 to 17. On March 18, the Ishinomaki Hibi Shimbun was published in A4 size by using copying machines and, on March 19, the printing presses were back to work, consequently keeping the daily published without a single day of suspension after the earthquake. Information thus delivered to disaster-stricken areas, where information was confusing, gave hope to local citizens who needed accurate information.
In September, the International Press Institute (IPI), at its annual meeting, gave a special award to the newspaper company, for its contribution. Also, Newseum, a news museum in Washington D.C., United States, displays some of the wall papers, donated by the Ishinomaki Hibi Shimbun at the museum's request, as the historic newspaper which was published overcoming the difficulty. Although the newspaper employees still suffer hardships, some living in damaged houses, they keep publishing the newspaper, convinced that continuing to publish the Ishinomaki Hibi Shimbun will lead to sustaining local communities.