By Holly Thompson, Kamakura
March 11 marked the sixth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake (東日本大震災 Higashi Nihon Daishinsai), and the subsequent tsunami that ravaged the Tohoku region’s Pacific coastline followed by the triple meltdown of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Throughout Japan, a moment of silence was held at 2:46 p.m. on March 11, the time the quake struck.
This month also marks five years since the publication of Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction—An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories. Proceeds from sales of Tomo have for five years been donated to the Japan-based NPO Hope for Tomorrow. Hope for Tomorrow has provided much-needed support to high school students in the form of financial assistance to enable students in the hardest hit areas of Tohoku to take costly university entrance exams. Having succeeded at what they set out to do, Hope for Tomorrow will cease operations at the end of this Japanese academic year (at the end of this month). Thank you to Hope for Tomorrow for providing a unique form of support to high school students in Tohoku during the most difficult years after 3/11.
The Tomo anthology has recently gone out of print, but the book is still available as an ebook in Kindle format. Future proceeds will be donated to other organizations that support youth in the areas of Tohoku still struggling six years after. Please continue to read, give and recommend the Tomo anthology—a collection of 36 stories including 10 in translation—so that we may continue to offer our friendship and support to teens in Tohoku.
May we remember that many thousands in Tohoku are still displaced, that reconstruction and the delicate work of rebuilding lives continues, and that many thousands still reside in prefab “temporary” housing in Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate—the three hardest hit prefectures.
Here are a few articles to read on this six-year anniversary:
SIX YEARS AFTER: 34,000 People in Tohoku Region Still in Makeshift Housing Units, Asahi Shimbun, 11 March 2017
Six Years After the 3/11 Disasters, Japan Times editorial, 11 March 2017
A New Shopping Center for a Tsunami-Struck Town, Nippon.com, 11 March 2017
Destroyed by the Tsunami, JR Onagawa Station is Rebuilt, Spoon & Tamago, 10 March 2017
Six Years On, Fukushima Child Evacuees Face Menace of School Bullies, Reuters, 9 March 2017
This blog post also appears at tomoanthology.blogspot.com.
For a running list of news items about 3/11 and young people, please see Children of Tohoku.