Miyako (宮古市)

“I want to write a letter to mum”, Manami Kon, a 4 year old girl in Miyako, Iwate, said on 22nd March, 10 days after the tsunami.   She opened her notebook on a Kotatsu-table (Japanese coffee table) and used colouring pencils.  Character by character, it took her almost one hour to write.

“Dear mum.  I hope you’re alive and well.  How are you?”  After writing the letter, she fell asleep.
Her parents and sister were swallowed by the tsunami on 11th March, and have not been found yet.
Her first name 愛海 means “Love Sea” in Japanese.
(Yomiuri Shinbun, 31March 2011)

Miyako (宮古) is an old town prospered with fishing and also is known for its beautiful scenery on the shores.  

Out of its 60,000 population, 364 lost their lives and 1301have not yet been found.    4600 houses were destroyed.  The town built a 10 meter high, 2.4km long sea wall, the strongest sea wall in Japan, after the previous experience of tsunamis, in 1896, 1933 and 1960.  However, the tsunami on 11th March was 20m in height and destroyed the sea wall and flew into the town.

As Miyako is a fishing port, 720 ships were registered in the town, but only 14 ships survived. 
The Fisherman's association decided to rent ships to fishermen to restart their fishing.
Several fishermen share a ship, sharing the works, and also to share the profit so that they can start rebuilding their lives. 


Ookawa Primary School (大川小学校)

Ookawa Primary School in Ishimaki, Miyagi, was swallowed by the huge tsunami.  Mud water flew into even the second floor of the school building.  Among the 108 pupils of the school, 31 have been confirmed safe, 21 were found dead, and 56 are still unaccounted for.  Among the 11 teachers who were at the school, only one survived. 

School bags found in the mud grounds were piled in the ruins of the school.  Sueko Saito, who lost her daughter Miku (year 6) and son Takumi (year 3), found Miku’s photo among the items collected from the ruins of the school. “If the tsunami came one hour later, if I went to pick them up by car, if the earthquake had hit on Sunday… they wouldn’t have lost their lives, I cannot regret enough.”

The school was situated next to Kitagami-river.  The tsunami went against the natural flow of the river for 5km and swallowed the children.  The mud water covered over the roof of the two-storey building.  The school had originally been designated as an evacuation centre, and was supposed to be a safe place. 

When the tsunami struck, pupils wore helmets and were queuing in the ground. “They were calling names.  They might have been preparing to move to a safer place.” said, a person who went to the school to pick up two grandsons before the tsunami. 

The roads to the school were destroyed after the tsunami, and parents did not know what happed in the school on the night of the disaster.  “We assumed that they were isolated, but safe.”  Sueko Sato was thinking that her two children would come back next morning.  “I felt sorry that I could not stay with the children in the cold dark night.” She could not sleep at all on the dark night.  But the next day, bodies of pupils ware starting to be found.  By 22nd, her daughter Miku was found up the hill, and son Takumi was found in the ground of the school.

Masatoshi Imano (54)and Mayumi (45) found their son Makoto (9) by themselves.  Two days after the disaster, they were scraping out the mud covering the ground with troops of the Self Defence Guard when they found four children together who had lost their lives in the mud.  One of them was Makoto. 

A graduation ceremony was scheduled on 18th March (the new academic year start from April in Japan) and year 6 pupils were about to start a new life at junior high schools.  Only 5 of the graduating pupils are confirmed safe, and many of their new uniforms were left without the children to wear and start new life with.

YouTube Video of the Ookawa Primary School

Excerpt from the following articles;

A song for survivors - A German translation

Bitte bleib du selbst und pass auf dich auf!


Wir sorgen uns um dich.
Die ganze Welt sorgt sich um dich.

Wir kennen deinen Namen und werden dich finden.
Du bist nicht allein.
Die Welt ist mit dir.

Unsere Schicksale sind miteinander verbunden.
Achte auf dich, damit deinem Herz und deinen Körper nichts geschieht,
bis wir bei dir sind.

Bitte bleib du selbst und
pass auf dich auf!

Gesang und Melodie: Yoko Kanno
Text: Hiroshi Ichkawa
Deutsche Übersetzung: Kumiko Otsubo und Thomas Pauksztat




Arigatou – Thank you for the support from all over the world

It has been two weeks since the Northeast Pacific Earthquake.
Many Japanese blogs and twitter messages are saying “thank you” to the support we have been receiving from countries all over the world.

A rescue team from Korea

 Firefighters from the UK

One of the bloggers wrote “watching news of support from abroad, from both celebrities and many ordinary individuals, I am full of tears.  Japan will certainly overcome this disaster with help from abroad”

  From the USA

 From Singapore

Another said, “This disaster is too large for one country to face by themselves and lots of us feel apprehended.  The support from across the world gives us strength.”

 From China

From New Zealand 
One quote, “Many countries are sending us donations and support.  We are full of appreciation towards the heart warming kindness of people all over the world.  We hope to return their support one day.”

 From Germany


A song for survivors - A Spanish translation & message

Todos estamos preocupados,


Todos estamos preocupados,
El mundo entero está preocupado por tí,
Estamos buscando tu nombre.

Todos estamos contigo,
El mundo entero está unido contigo,
Vamos a encontrar tu vida y alma.

Protege tu cuerpo y tu alma del dolor y del sufrimiento.
Sigue siendo tú mismo, permanece a salvo hasta que te encontremos.

Canción y Música, Yoko Kanno
Letra, Hiroshi Ichikura
Traducción, Verónica Katada & Akiko

Espero que toda la prensa internacional transmita sólo la verdad. Por favor, no dependa de tópico o de prejuicio para escribir artículos. Lo que nos importa a los japoneses son la transparencia y la serenidad. Los japoneses mismos estamos intentando lograrlas para no causar panicos y vivir bien con la gente del mundo entero. Akiko

“It is hell, Tasumi-san” A translation from a blog.

I’ve got a call via satellite from a friend who is living in Ishimaki, and whom I had been worried for.
I have worked for a TV program which promotes Tohoku’s local towns and have many friends in Tohoku.  Many of them were affected by the disaster.  I'm worried, but frustrated with the fact that I cannot do anything myself. Every day just went past. I was even not able to write a blog.  But his words woke me up.

 Ishimaki, Rescue Activities 

"Tell this to as many people as possible.  Corpses are anywhere.  We are staying in a safe place, but we do not have food.  Children are starving and some are dying.  Please, Mr Tatsumi.”
I have worked as a TV reporter for many years, so I have a good idea of both the good and bad sides of TV reports.  I was watching the TV for a whole day, and my concerns were confirmed.  They report only either the fear of the disaster or emotional scenes of survivors.  If you report the reality with sober eyes, it would not make a program, or would break the code of the broadcasters.  It is no mistake that you assume that all of the reports on TV are shot somewhere safe, where TV crew can safely visit.   But, based on a variety of information, we can imagine the reality.  We need to use all of our imagination, and think hard to find what we can do.

Both disposal diapers and powder milk are running out

Soon, magazines will report shocking pictures of the disaster as special issues.   But the real challenge hasn’t started yet. We even do not know clearly how much damage we had.  It is going to be a long, long road to recovery.  We need to think hard what we can do to support people in Tohoku for the long term.

Where is Japan going after this?   It is a test of the courage and conscience of us Japanese people.

I sincerely express my heartfelt condolences to those who lost their lives in this disaster.

Elderly people are waiting for rescue, Ishimaki

Written by Takuro Tashumi, on 15th March.
Upon the news of his friend’s return to his home, Tasumi wrote on 21st March:

It’s only been 10 days since the earthquake and yet the main focus is still on relieving the survivors of the earthquake. We have confused information of the nuclear power station crisis, continuing aftershocks, and still do not know the exact death toll. Although, TV presenters report bright stories of survivors, the real recovery would need more time to start, especially in the coastal towns.   


A song for survivors - A French translation & message

Reste-toi même, Prends soin de toi


Nous nous inquiétons pour toi

Le monde entier s'inquiéte pour toi
Nous cherchons ton nom

Nous somme tous ensemble avec toi
Le monde entier est ensemble avec toi
Nous viendrons te rencontrer

Protége ton coeur et ton corps de la douleur et de la souffrance
Jusqu'à ce que l'on se rencontre, reste toi même

Prends soin de toi

Musique de Yoko Kanno
Parole de Hiroshi Ichikawa
Traduction de Max& Keyco

Le soleil se levera encore demain.
Devant tant de souffrances mais aussi tant courage face a l’adversité, nous ne pouvons qu’exprimer mon émotion et mon admiration pour le peuple japonais. De tout coeur avec eux, nous voulons leur dire: Isshoni Ganbarimashou! Le Japon se relevera!
Nous avons traduit cette chanson afin de transmettre au monde son message de soutien aux japonais qui souffrent du séisme du 11 Mars 2011.
De la part de Max et Keyco

Max とKeyco より。


A song for survivors - with an English translation

Stay yourself, Stay safe


We are all worried for you

The whole world is worried for you
We are searching for your name

We are all in this together
The whole world is in this with you together
We will be going to meet your soul

Protect your heart and body from pain and suffering
Until we go and meet you, stay yourself
Stay safe.

Song and music, Yoko Kannno
Lyrics, Hiroshi Ichikawa
Translation, maz

Thank you for your donation to the Red Cross "Japan Tsunami Appeal" in your country. 

More videos with different images.


Minami Soma (南相馬市)

This is a picture of the area BEFORE the quake and tsunami.

This is a picture of the area AFTER the quake and tsunami.

This video was taken by a survivor of the town when the tsunami suddenly swallowed the area.

The next morning, the area was left flooded and still is.
1,800 houses which used to be in the area were all destroyed.

Troops of the Self Defence Guard are searching for survivors.
On 15th March, the fifth day after the disaster, a 78 year old woman was rescued form a destroyed house.  She was living alone. 

Half of the town is located within the 30km radius of the Fukushima nuclear plant and survivors in the area have been advised to stay inside of their houses.  Some of them have left the area. 

In evacuation centres in the Fukushima prefecture, people have been glued to the TV, anxious to know the progress of the desperate efforts at the nuclear station.

They live in strong fear of radiation contamination.

It is freezing cold outside.  In some areas, snow is settling.  Even inside the evacuation centres, heating oil is running out, and the survivors are trembling in the cold. 

Please support them by donating to the RedCross in your area.

A heartwarming story

Hi everyone, I'm Dill's (the author of this blog) daughter. I hope to be posting on this blog with my mum, giving a different perspective on the effects of the earthquake and the tsunami. Thanks for reading and please help the people affected by the earthquake in any way possible!

While watching the news this morning, among the sad reports of loss and devastation, I found a heartwarming story about a reunited family.

A young woman and her child were reunited with her husband after 4 days. The couple just seemed to be overcome with joy, and the little girl had such a cute smile on her face when she saw her dad. Watching the family together really made my heart tingle with happiness, and I really hope that other separated families can be reunited too.

These events are such miraculous, precious moments in times like these, because they bring hope and optimism to everyone, even when it feels like there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

So spread awareness and keep donating! We can all help bring rebuild the lives of those affected by believing and donating :)

Evacuation Centres

450,000 people have been forced to take shelters in 2,500 places across Tohoku and Kanto.

This video informs how many people are taking shelters in each Evacuation Centers.

Many of them have lost their loved ones, and have no home to return to.

Many of them are also desperate to find out the whereabouts of their families and friends.

Many of them have no idea how and when they can restart their normal lives.

For today and tomorrow, many of them do not have the basic necessities such as water, electricity, and gas.

What they need:

  • Water - to drink and to wash. 
  • Food - sharing very very limited food, whatever is available. 
  • Blankets and heating oil - it is going to be freezing cold in the affected area. Snow is expected from tonight. 
  • Towels, Toilets, and basics sanitary goods. 
  • Medicine. 
  • Milk, disposable diapers, and baby food for babies and very young children.

Many people are working hard to re-establish the delivery network to the affected area, but will still take time.

They would have to spend many more cold and painful nights in the evacuation centres.

In order to get them back into a warm, comfortable bed again as soon as possible, please donate to RedCross in your country.


Minamisanriku Cho (南三陸町)

This idyllic town was one of the worst hit areas by the Tsunami.

As people were trying to evacuate by their cars to the hill, the Tsunami was going against the natural flow of the river. On the left of the river, a fire engine was still trying to help cars to escape. Then, the Tsunami swallowed everything in town. One of the buses narrowly escaped the muddy waves.

The next morning, the town was found deep under the water and most of the houses were gone. Only several high concrete buildings were left in the water. On the rooftop, some people managed to survive overnight and were waiting to be rescued.

The mayor of the town was on the rooftop of the three-storey town hall to monitor the Tsunami with 30 people before it had reached them, but when the Tsunami arrived with an unexpected height, 20 of them were immediately wiped away. 10 people including the mayor survived the huge waves by holding onto a steel tower at the top of the building. After the Tsunami, the only remains of the building left was its steel frame.

When he was rescued, he learned that only 7000 people out of town's total population of 17,000 were in shelters. No information has been heard regarding the other 10,000 people.

This is a happy picture of the people in Minamisanriku Cho before the Tsunami.

Please help the people of Minamisanriku Cho to rebuild their lives by donating via the links on the right.