DREAMERS IN TOHOKU
In 2011 a magnitude 9.0 Great Tohoku Earthquake struck the northeastern coast of Japan, triggering a tsunami and major nuclear accident in Fukushima. The disaster became the fourth largest earthquake in recorded history since 1900, and the largest in the history of Japan. 15,896 people died, 6,157 were injured, and 2,537 were still missing four years later as of 2015. The humanitarian crisis as a result lingers today, as 340,000 were displaced from their homes, many of whom are still waiting for permanent residences. The citizens of Tohoku are rebuilding, though the process is arduous to this day.
In 2011, Shunzo Ohno went to Tohoku and has returned annually to support the Tohoku rebuilding efforts. Namely, he has supported the continuation of music programs which have been wiped out. Playing music and creating art from natural disaster and the loss of life has been a vital part of the restoration efforts.
Immediately after the devastation, one man ventured to the piles of homes, mangled belongings, debris, cars, and ruins, and assembled a sign. On the wood, he painted a messaged, “Gamabre Tohoku!” which translates to, “Stay Strong Tohoku!”