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Fifth year anniversary PART ll : Remembrance of 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. The letter to my friends in America.

Updated on December 31, 2016
Yukiko Takemoto profile image

Native of Japan, Yukiko lives in New York City. She is a bilingual vocalist, healer, Japanese language teacher, and professional organizer.

I continue to dedicate my writings to my home country, Japan.

This is my second Hub writing and it is a continuation of the first one. In my Hubpages debut in March, I shared the letter I wrote to my friends in America just two days after the unthinkable calamity took place in Japan. At the close of the fifth year anniversary, I would like to share the excerpts from two letters; one from the letter I wrote a month after the event and the other from the year end letter. Further, I’d like to share with my hub readers the video message I made for the people in Japan for Christmas. After expressing my thoughts, feelings, and prayers for the victims of the great catastrophe, I close the message with my singing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

Miyagi 2011 and 2016

Natori city in Miyagi prefecture is seen being engulfed by a huge wave as the tsunami hits on 11 March 2011. The same area is seen on 18 February 2016. (Kyodo/Reuters)
Natori city in Miyagi prefecture is seen being engulfed by a huge wave as the tsunami hits on 11 March 2011. The same area is seen on 18 February 2016. (Kyodo/Reuters) | Source

Excerpt from my April 12, 2011 Newsletter, a month after the disaster occurred in Japan:

Dear Friends in America, April 12, 2011

People & Life

April 11 marked one month since the devastating 9.0 earthquake and tsunami hit northeastern Japan on March 11. As of April 11, more than 13,000 people are confirmed dead. The total number of deaths ad registered missing is nearly 27,000. This figure increases every day by the hundreds. Many people have lost their homes, belongings, and jobs. It’s heartbreaking to know that 82 children lost their parents instantly, and many parents lost their children. Many families died together. 450,000 people fled to shelters. More than 151,000 people from the disaster areas are still living in evacuation centers in 18 prefectures. Prime Minister, Naoto Kan has pledged to build 70,000 temporary houses. (So far 13% have been built.) Now some evacuees are beginning to move to temporary houses. Although the loss and destruction covers an area as big as the state of New York, as some say, “Japanese people will come back strong.” Bullet trains have been back in business for some time already, and the hardest hit airport in Sendai is scheduled to open tomorrow – I’m amazed and excited at some of the fast recovery.

Nuclear & business issues

The problems of Fukushima nuclear power plant are still not resolved. Many farmers and fishermen have lost their businesses because of the radio active contamination of water, air and soil. The economy has fallen as some countries block food import from Japan, and the number of tourists has dropped dramatically. In the largest natural disaster in Japanese history, the world has watched over Japan with tears and helping hands, and has begun to question if their own nuclear power plants are safe. On April 10, a large demonstration was staged in Tokyo to call for the closure of all nuclear power plants in Japan. On the same day in France, thousands of protesters gathered near their oldest nuclear plant.

Excerpt from my 2011 Year end letter:

Greetings! Holiday, 2011

Another year is coming to its completion. New York is sought-after as the place where people around the world gather to celebrate America’s most cherished holiday. While many New Yorkers spend the holiday in the same way, there are those who turn inward and reflect on the events of the year – of the world and of the personal – and their thoughts and deeds surround them. Some may do both.

It is not difficult to see, regardless of difference of faith, the never-ending cycle of beginning and ending. Through the seasons, nature teaches us birth and death are natural. What seems to be a loss can be a chance for a deepening of our trust, courage and commitment. It can be an opportunity to practice strength and spiritual understanding that helps us grow into triumph in this temporal existence.

For the US, 2011 was the 10-year anniversary of 9-11, a man-made disaster. For Japan, 2011 brought a once-in-a-thousand year s massive natural disaster. It was on March 11th, a date no one in Japan could ever forget. Although the scale of loss is beyond comparison, there is no difference in depth and level of grief when we lose our loved ones where we are not at all prepared.

Sharing with Hope

Within hours after the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami hit northeast Japan, the US joined in the rescue effort. 20,000 US troops were dispatched to work with Japan’s Self Defense Force. It was called “Tomodachi” meaning friends. Shortly after the tragic event, mothers in New York City quickly took action to raise money in Times Square. As I write this letter, there is an auction in Manhattan to promote the works of artists in northeast Japan who struggle to continue their work. The relationship between Japan and America has deepened for both government an citizenry. If you are an American citizen, you should be proud of your country.

USS Essex (LHD 2) in Support of Operation Tomodachi 3/21/2011

operating off the coast of Hachinohe in northeastern Japan in support of Operation Tomodachi.
operating off the coast of Hachinohe in northeastern Japan in support of Operation Tomodachi. | Source

Donations and supplies have poured in from 126 countries and regions to Japan. By the end of March, 2011 – only three weeks after the event – the total donations from inside and outside of Japan exceeded $1 billion. Japan’s largest business group have also donated cash and relief supplies worth nearly 1.3 billion dollars for those affected by the disaster. As of December, Japan has received more than $4 billion in donations.

The last nine months taught me this: so many people from so many countries took the tragic event on March 11th in Japan to heart. It’s been an ongoing question in my mind, “What can I do?”

Those of you who have remained on my email list have received updates of Japan in the form of short clips of NHK news. What I try to select out of 80 clips I go through each day is something that touches our hearts – something that reminds us of the presence of love and compassion that exist deep inside of every one, and their need to be expressed. To those who thanked me for the information, I want to thank You back for giving me the opportunity to share. I hope that you are benefiting as much as I am from the examples of love, compassion, and courage.

As I was about to complete this letter, one reader sent me a link to a YouTube video. The eight minute video vividly depicts the earthquake and tsunami, and further, the people from the Tohoku area expressing their thanks to all of the international aid that has helped them. Please be prepared, you will need a box of tissue when you visit the site.

My Renewed Commitment

I closed the fifth year anniversary of 2011 Japan Northeast Earthquake and Tsunami with my renewed commitment to my prayer of hope and healing, by singing for the people in Japan on December 24, 2016

Thank you for reading my second Hub.

May all your dreams come true in the new year.

Yukiko Takemoto


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