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Chapter 1. Background

This is an activity record of the “Save the Memory Project”, conceived to support the recovery of the people’s morale by collecting and returning numerous photos that were washed away by the tsunami that followed the East Japan Earthquake & Tsunami.

 The Save the Memory Project was conceived by Ricoh in April 2011 immediately following the disaster, and was implemented for a period of four years through March 2015. As part of this project, millions of photos that were washed away and ruined by the tsunami have been cleaned one by one, digitalized using the image scanner from a digital copy machine so that they might last long into the future, and then stored in a large-scale, web-based, searchable database system developed specifically for this project. The photo searchable database system can be accessed with a web browser from any PC connected to the internet, and enables smooth photo searches. When a victim of the disaster searches the database from a PC and finds a personal photo, the original photo will be returned to that person along with the digital image data that can be viewed with a personal computer or smartphone and printed. In addition, a record of which photos were returned to which person is maintained by a photo management system to ensure the accurate and efficient management of photos at the photo return site.

 A total of 418,721 photos were cleaned and digitalized during the four year period in which this project was implemented, and the number of photos returned to victims thus far has totaled 90,128. (As of March, 8th)

 During the redaction of this record, we had in mind a practical record that would provide a reference for various future recovery support activities in the remote eventuality of another similar situation. In addition to simplifying and describing in detail as much as possible the processes and techniques that were developed for this project, we are also disclosing technical development results. <Chapter 2, Chapter 3>

 In addition we compiled the thoughts and feelings experienced by those who participated in the project including matters that they became aware of, as well as recommendations for the future. <Chapter 4, Chapter 5>

 *Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 are slated to be made sequentially available to the public beginning in April.

 This project was not carried out by Ricoh Company, Ltd. and the Ricoh Group alone. Instead, it was made possible through the cooperation of numerous volunteers, the understanding and efforts of local governments and various organizations, and the contributions from other companies with the same desire to aid in the recovery effort. We wish to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in this project, and to express our gratitude for their commitment to bring relief to those who suffered in this unparalleled disaster.

Supporters of the Save the Memory Project:

  • Numerous Volunteers
  • Local Governments and Various Organizations
  • Fujitsu Ltd.
  • Axis Co., Ltd.
  • Office South Co., Ltd.
  • NEC Corporation
  • Other cooperating companies

Ricoh Group that implemented the Save the Memory Project

  • Numerous employee volunteers
  • Ricoh Japan Corporation
  • Ricoh IT Solutions Co., Ltd.
  • Ricoh Technosystems Co., Ltd. (now Ricoh Japan Corporation)
  • Ricoh Logistics System Co., Ltd.
  • Sanai Logistics System Co., Ltd.
  • Tohoku Ricoh Co., Ltd. (now Ricoh Industry Co., Ltd. and Ricoh Technologies Co., Ltd.)
  • Ricoh Leasing Company, Ltd.

Ricoh Company, Ltd.