Tohoku 2 Years On – A London Round Up

The Great East Japan Earthquake Press Photo Exhibition



It has been two years since the earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck the coast of Eastern Japan.  On March 11, 2011, I was still reeling from the sudden death of my father, who had died on February 11, 2011, when the tragic news streamed in from Japan.

My dear old dad’s death I was just beginning to accept by thinking thoughts such as: ‘it was just his time’ and ‘he had really lived his life to the full, and had done so many things’ and ‘he is no longer suffering’.

Then the tsunami hit.  It was far, far too much death to think any rational thoughts about.  An individual coming to the end of their natural lifespan is so different than thousands upon thousands being snatched away all at once.  The mind cannot create any sense out of it at all.

Two years on, I decided not to commemorate my father’s passing.  I decided to instead follow the ways of my Catholic in-laws in Peru by celebrating his birthday, later on in the year, rather than the day of his death.

It has only been two years since the Great East Japan Earthquake.  It is still early days and the feelings of sufferers are still so raw.  But it is my fervent hope that the awful March 11 anniversary will begin somehow to feel more, with each passing year, like a new beginning… with fresh hope for spring, rebuilding, and healing.

Gambatte Japan.

Here in London, we have not forgotten you…

If you would like to mark this anniversary in a meaningful way from across the miles, please see the round-up below.

Great East Japan Earthquake Press Photo Exhibition –  4-17 March 2013

'The Miracle Pine', image from The Asahi Shimbun

‘The Miracle
Pine’, image from The Asahi Shimbun

The Asahi Shimbun and Mitsubishi Corporation present this powerful exhibition in the gallery at OXO.  Entering from the Southbank, one sees a set of photos taken on the afternoon of March 11 2011.  At 3.04, everything appeared normal. At 3.15 and 20 seconds, an incoming wave was visible. 11 seconds later, the wave loomed massive.  At 3.16 and 38 seconds, the area was unrecognisable.

Jumbles of twisted rubble are contrasted with the fleeting glee on children’s faces as they visit their crumpled homes again to recover their schoolbag or another treasure.  Photos taken just after the disaster are juxtaposed again photos showing the progress of the clean-up.  The huge boat which had landed on top of an inn has been dismantled.  The ‘miracle lone pine’ which somehow remained upright has been preserved to stand as a monument.

A stunning glimpse into the reality of people’s lives and the rebuilding of the Tohoku area, this exhibition is well worth a visit.  For a detailed write up of the exhibition, including images in the exhibition, as well as the opening ceremony and speeches, read HaikuGirl’s post here.

‘Broken Things’: A Fundraising Photo Book  – Available Now

Sam Seager recently launched his first photo book, ‘Broken Things’ at ICN Gallery.   The images in this book explore the rural Japan affected by the Tohoku diaster, and all proceeds from the sale of the book are for charity.

Tsunami Art Relief: 2nd Anniversary  – On Sale Now

To mark the second anniversary of the Tōhoku Earthquake & Tsunami on March 11th, the London-based supermarket  has set up an Art Relief mini event in conjunction with Japanese and British designers. This event showcases Japan-inspired prints, cards and apparel for sale exclusively online at Proceeds from items bought will be donated straight to the Hatachi Fund. Japan Centre chose this charity out of many as it supports surviving children of the earthquake and tsunami until they reach 20 years old, by offering financial, educational and emotional aid until the Japanese age of maturity.

Plaque Unveiled at Fukushima Garden in Holland Park – 11 March 2013

On the 11th of March 2013, exactly two years since the great east Japan earthquake and Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, a ceremony will be held at the Fukushima Garden in Holland Park (adjacent to the Kyoto Garden), to unveil a plaque engraved with words of gratitude from the Emperor of Japan to those who helped in supporting the relief and recovery efforts. This event marks a turning point after two years since the disasters and will also be an opportunity to wish a speedy recovery for the affected areas and re-consider the value of the bonds between people everywhere. Everyone is welcome to attend.

(Editor’s note: this spot is the perfect place for some quiet solitude to pay respects…)

Lunchtime Memorial Recital at St. Dunstan in the West – 13 March 2013

For this special Lunchtime recital, the Green Chorus will perform a mixed programme of Japanese and Western songs including Sakura or “Cherry Blossom”, which may be one of the best known Japanese melodies outside the country.

The Green Chorus will also introduce “Hana-wa-saku”  which literally means ‘Flowers are blooming’, created as rehabilitation support song for the sufferers of the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck the country on 11 March 2011.

Earthquake Charity Live: Revive Concert  – 14 March 2013

To mark the two year anniversary of the Tohoku Earthquake in 2011, Imperial College Japanese Society and Universities of London Japan Society have worked in conjunction to hold a concert, in remembrance of those who suffered and are still suffering due to the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Tohoku region and to raise money for the Japan Society Tohoku Relief Fund.

Gakunowa Tohoku Memorial Band Night – 16 March 2013

GAKUNOWA presents Na mo Nai Kizuna (Unseen Ties) Project in aid of Tohoku, North East Japan!

As part of a worldwide project we’re going to kick off this event at 3pm with live bands, DJ’s and free sushi courtesy of our friends at TK TRading. Then at around 10PM we will sing the song Na mo Nai Kizuna (Unseen Ties) and upload our rendition to channels such as USTREAM in an effort to send our support to the people of the Tohoku disaster area.

Joji Hirota and  The London Metropolitan Orchestra – 16 March 2013

A fundraising concert in aid of the victims of the earthquake and tsunami disaster of 11 March 2011. Raising awareness of the need for continuing support in Tohoku.


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