(1) Before the Great East Japan Earthquake
The area of the Teizan Canal embankment was very rich in nature and residential areas which comprised its original scenery. Many small boats traversed the canal in both directions and it was greatly admired by many local people for pleasant walks and fishing. The calm surface of the canal also enabled its use for rowing practice, and it was inhabited by many wild water-fowl. So the Teizan Canal was part of the life of the local residents.
400 years have passed since the beginning of the construction of the Teizan Canal and it still exists in its original form but the local people do not realize its value because it is so close to their life today.
In particular, the canal is familiar in our local area because there have been a number of events along the canal, such as the Canal Festival (held in Iwanuma, Natori and Ishinomaki). These events are mainly organized by local people but they do not make use of the canal’s potential as a major resource for local revitalization and tourism.
(2) During and after the Great East Japan Earthquake
The earthquake caused severe damage to the Teizan Canal. Most of the canal was hit directly by the tsunami and the peripheral areas on either side of the canal were destroyed and several historical remains were damaged. However, although the canal banks were damaged, the canal itself was not broken up or buried anywhere along its length, so the basic canal has remained.
When the tsunami reached the Teizan Canal, its flow was retarded and there was a delay before it reached the opposite bank of the canal. In other words, the canal acted as a buffer. Researchers have pointed out that this phenomenon reduced the damaging impact of the tsunami so the importance of the canal in disaster prevention has now been reviewed.
The Teizan Canal is currently managed as a river by Miyagi Prefectural Authority, which is currently formulating and tackling the recovery under the auspices of the Teizan Revival and Reconstruction Vision. This includes verification of the effects of natural disasters.
Finally, if the govenment tries to reconstruct the Teizan Canal to its former state, it will be a waste not to use it to its full potential. So, it is very important to use the canal effectively for local development and activation of the damaged local economy.