The Japan America Society of Minnesota is co-sponsoring a screening of the independent film, “Pray for Japan” to commemorate the second anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on March 11, 2011.
The screening will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 11, 2013, in Room 1-142 of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, 321 — 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455.
JASM joins the N-Dimensional Japan and the Saint Paul-Nagasaki Sister City Committee in inviting the public to mark the second anniversary of the March, 11, 2011 Tohoku earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster with a special screening and discussion of Pray for Japan. The film takes place in the devastated region of Ishinomaki, Miyagi – the largest coastal city in Tohoku with a population of over 160,000 people.
Filmmaker Stu Levy – an American living in Japan – filmed the tsunami aftermath during his trips to Tohoku as a volunteer and over a period of six weeks, captured over 50 hours of footage. Find out more about the film at prayforjapan-film.org.
The earthquake and the tsunami caused enormous destruction on a level that Japan had not experienced with such force ever before. For the many who remain filled with sadness over the tragic events that took place on that day in Tohoku, the anniversary screening offers an opportunity to pause and remember those who have experienced loss and devastation.
With an original theme song written and performed by Okuda Tamio, one of the most popular rock musicians in Japan, as well as poetry written by Fukus, the film focuses on four key perspectives of the tragedy – School, Shelter, Family, and Volunteers. With each perspective we meet victims who faced significant obstacles and fought to overcome them.
Through these four vantage points, the audience is able to understand the vast ramifications of this large-scale natural disaster. The battle that these real-life heroes fought and continue fighting is on behalf of their loved ones and their hometown.
High school student and drummer Kento Itoh lost his grandparents, his mother, and his five-year-old brother Ritsu to the freezing waters of the tsunami. Just as deep depression and survivor’s guilt pushed him towards taking his own life, Kento found hope in a small blue koi-nobori (carp streamer) covered in mud amongst the debris.
Remembering how he used to fly the koi-nobori with little brother Ritsu, Kento vowed to live on and honor his lost loved ones with a very special ceremony and the help from a group of highly talented taiko drummers.
Yoshiaki Shoji-san is a City Councilman in Ishinomaki. In the midst of the crisis, he took charge of the Minato-sho Shelter, the local elementary school. His wisdom and quiet justice led the survivors through the most difficult first few days after the tragedy, and prevented further tragedy.
It is only in crisis that you find the mettle of true leaders. In a desperately hopeless situation, Shoji-san showed his true colors as one of our heroes.
Hideo Otsuki had lost just about everything in the tsunami. His home was gone, he had somehow managed to relocate to an intact apartment building, but nothing was the same. Instead of despairing, he became one of the leaders of the volunteer effort in Ishinomaki City. Setting his feelings aside, he helped establish and lead the Ishinomaki Volunteer Center. “This job is my duty to others,” he humbly explains.
The screening is also a chance to share admiration for many around the world, and especially Minnesota, where people contributed financially to support the relief efforts in areas most affected in Northern Japan.
Parking is available in Washington Avenue Ramp.