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2021/03/12

【Great East Japan Earthquake】 Online Memorial Ceremonies

On March 11 at 2:46pm, memorial ceremonies were held at the exact time when the earthquake struck ten years ago.

Civic Force's three organizations hosted online memorial ceremonies.

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【Gannbarou Ishinomaki (Ishinomaki, Miyagi)】

A memorial ceremony was held in Ishinomaki, Miyagi in front of a sign that read Gannbarou Ishinomaki (Working with perseverance, Ishinomaki) and many people joined to remember the lives lost. After the disaster, the sign was made by a man who had lost his house in the tsunami in hopes of cheering up the local residents. Ishinomaki was one of the worst hit communities.

People began to gather around the sign and a memorial ceremony organized by residents is now held every year. On March 11, 2021 at 2:46pm, 1,000 residents and volunteers gathered around the sign and paid silent tributes.

Blue and white balloons were released for the victims and lanterns were lit throughout the evening of March 11.

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【Memoire de Yuriage (Natori, Miyagi)】

In Yuriage Ward in Natori, people released balloons with messages on them to pay tribute. Yuriage Middle School lost 14 students to the tsunami. Stage on Earth has been supporting the victims families group as part of their psychosocial support program. A memorial service is held each year and attended by victims' families and people across the country.

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【Sanriku Hitotsunagi Nature School (Kamaishi, Iwate)】

Sanriku Hitotsunagi Nature School offers experience programs focusing on the people in Kamaishi, after school programming, a disaster preparedness program, and other community activities. The nature school hosted a memorial ceremony with community groups. Children played the violins and school participants gave speeches followed by fireworks in the Otsuchi Bay.

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Memorial Ceremonies led by Civil Society Organizations

Memorial ceremonies have been held yearly by government offices, civil society organizations, and volunteer groups. Due to COVID-19, ceremonies are held with the utmost precaution and also held online for people across the country. Civic Force has been supporting Tohoku since 2019, focusing on community revitalization, retreats for Fukushima residents, and storytelling activities. Memorial ceremonies are often paid for by local organizations. Civic Force supported the additional costs needed to host the ceremonies online and other costs arising from COVID-19.

https://www.civic-force.org/emergency/higashinihon/dream/