Emi Inomoto and Misato Abe from the Kizuna Project will share their unique experiences of living in Japan during the deadly earthquake and tsunami of 2011 in a presentation Monday, Aug. 5, 2013, from 10-11 a.m. at the Johnson County Crisis Center. The event is free and open to the public.
The two young ladies have been working with the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Iowa this summer as part of the Kizuna (bond) Project. Funded by the Japanese government, the project promotes international understanding of Japan's revival efforts in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake, which struck Japan on March 11, 2011.
Emi, who was born and raised in Fukushima and studies at Fukushima University, will never take basic necessities for granted again. After the earthquake, Emi’s water supply was cut off for two weeks, shelves at the grocery store were quickly emptied, and gasoline became unavailable at stations due to road closures. She says although the disaster and subsequent explosion of a nearby nuclear plant devastated her city, the people of Fukushima refused to give up on their homeland.
Misato, a student of Miyagi University who is originally from Minami Sanriku, didn’t hear from her family for five days after the earthquake. After she lost electricity in her apartment, Misato relocated to a relief shelter, where she nervously listened to reports of thousands dead in her hometown. Luckily, Misato found out later that her family was all safe, but their home and everything around it was completely washed away in the tsunami.
In addition to sharing their personal stories of struggle and recovery after the earthquake and tsunami, Emi and Misato will discuss food bank systems in Japan at their Monday presentation, as well as general similarities and differences between Japanese culture and American culture.
Emi and Misato will repeat their presentation Wednesday, August 7, from 5:30-6:30 p.m., also at the Johnson County Crisis Center.