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One year after the Quake, Voices from the disaster-hit areas(March 9, 2012)

post date : 2012.03.09

【Watch Japan Now vol. 21/FPCJ】

March 9, 2012



One year after the Earthquake, Voices from the disaster-hit areas - Ishinomaki and Natori, Miyagi Prefecture -

(Video report: One Year after the Earthquake, Press Tour to Miyagi Coastal Areas)




【Restore our home, Tohoku】


♪ As we returned to our home, let's sing a song together, sing a song together... ♪

(by Mr. Shuji Shibuya @ Ishinomaki Oiwake Onsen inn)


Mr. Soichi Yokoyama, the owner of Oiwake Onsen, an inn in Ishinomaki which provided local people with necessary assistance as a shelter for half a year after the earthquake


"We would say....if the Sanriku, Tohoku became a victim in the world, we'd like the world not to waste what we paid dearly for."


"Fortunately we had a store of food which was intended for our guests, could get natural water as drinking water, and could use lamps instead of electricity. We started as an inn with lamps and used them. And we discovered lamps were extremely useful for our life right after the disaster occurred."




【Bond of people, family ties】


Mr. Katsuya Sasaki and his wife Sawako who have started to live in one of the Ishinomaki Shirahama Reconstruction Houses, a project organized mainly by Kogakuin University, and to reconstruct the local fishing industry


"It has been one year now, and the year has quickly passed. We have been very busy with a lot of things to do all the time."


"From this experience of the disaster we realized that it is very important for us to take care of others. That means the bonds of people or family, as well as taking care of the things we have with us." 




【Create a job and community】


Ms. Tamae Takatsu, leader of the EAST LOOP project: small hand-crafted accessories bring smiles and income to disaster-hit areas @ Ishinomaki temporary housing meeting room


"The logo of the EAST LOOP means “to circulate”. Circulate from the East. We mean that our support to people in the afflicted areas is not one-way, neither is selling the products they produced one-way. We hope that we are able to encourage people in the afflicted areas by bringing them messages from the purchasers."


Ms. Obata, one of the creators in Higashi-matsushima


"We are grateful for the EAST LOOP to have given us a job. Now that we feel we are able to connect to the society, are not isolated any more, and happily work and talk with our fellow workers. People who lived alone and lonely became cheerful now."




【Handing down to future generations】


Damaged seashore forest area in Natori, a site of the Seashore Forest Restoration Project by OISKA, an NGO for International Cooperation


Mr. Eiji Suzuki, President of the Association for Coastal Forest Restoration in Natori City


(The remains of Mr. Suzuki’s house, which was stricken by the Tsunami and barely retains its original form.)


"I decided to keep my house as a memorial museum of the disaster."


"I firmly made up my mind to keep it like this. Because when you see it you can visualize the awesomeness of the Tsunami. Unless you can see this sort of thing, or you just see the empty land wherever you go, you cannot imagine it at all. I want you to feel the impression of the power of destruction."




Mr. Shuji Shibuya, an architectural designer who designed the Oiwake Onsen building


"It was totally out of my expectation that my hometown, about which I used to compose my songs, was destroyed by the disaster. This experience has been tough on me emotionally and prevented me from singing for some time. After going through this stage, however, I became positive and felt I was able to sing a song even facing my hometown that looks like a battlefield."



(Copyright 2012 Foreign Press Center/Japan)

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