March 11, 2012 marks the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake and
tsunami that struck the northeast region of Japan. Many commemorative events are being planned by American and Japanese organizations to reflect on what happened one year ago and honor the victims who lost their homes, towns, loved ones, or their own lives in the disaster. The following list is a selection of events to commemorate the anniversary, but it is by no means a complete list. Please check back regularly as the list will be updated when new events are added. For further information on the individual events, please contact the event organizers.
Feb. 28 – March 10 – Tohoku Today: Rebuilding for a Better Tomorrow
An exhibition of photographs documenting the Tohoku Region’s recovery since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami is on display at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The photos document the steady pace of progress and recovery that has taken place in even the hardest-hit areas. Additional details are available here.
Feb. 16 – March 25 – “2:46 and
Working in collaboration with Tokyo based artist collective DANDANS, Transformer presents “2:46 and thereafter,” an exhibition highlighting emerging Japanese artists’ responses to the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Through installation, painting, video, sculpture, photography, and drawing, the eighteen artists featured in “2:46 and thereafter” address issues that many of the people of Japan are exploring as they adjust to life following Japan’s most powerful earthquake since records began. The exhibition will be held at Pepco’s Edison Place Gallery in Washington DC as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival and sponsored in part by TOMODACHI. Additional details can
be found here.
March 2, 2012 – Overcoming the Disaster: Arigato from Japan
Some of Japan’s top performers in several musical genres will tour several cities in
three different countries to express the gratitude of the Japanese people for the
immense response received from all over the world after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The tour will open in Los Angeles at the Ahmanson Theater. This event is organized by the Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles and the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles. Click here for more information.
March 6, 2012 – Kokoro: Heart of Japan
A public symposium featuring Madoka Mayuzumi, one of Japan’s leading contemporary haiku poets, will be held at Merkin Concert Hall of the Kaufman Center in New York City to commemorate the first anniversary of the March 2011 disaster. The symposium will be followed by the world premiere of a choral work dedicated to the people of Fukushima. The event is hosted by the Tokyo Foundation in collaboration with the Weatherhead East Asian Institute of Columbia University. Contact the Kaufman Center for details.
March 10-11, 2012 – Japan All Students Project in Fukushima
This event is about gathering university students from all over Japan to show Japan and the rest of the world that Fukushima is not just a nuclear plant. The day will include music, food, the final leg of a relay around the country, and other activities. The event will not only help reflect on the year gone by, but also show what the future holds for Fukushima. Local JET participants will be selling “I love Fukushima” t-shirts at a booth during the event. Contact JASP (Japanese only) for details.
March 10-11, 2012 – Indelible Images: 3/11 Captured on Film
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan presents a very special two-day commemorative event in Tokyo that pays tribute to filmmakers and documentarians that have helped us make sense of the 3/11 tragedy and raised awareness of ongoing concerns through their work. Volunteer organizations, Tohoku artists, musicians, craftspeople, sake brewers and other vendors have also been invited to participate in the weekend. Contact FCCJ for details.
March 11, 2012 – Winds for Hope: Tomodachi through Music
The University of Washington Wind Ensemble and Seattle Symphony prinicipal trombonist
Ko-Ichiro Yamamoto are among Northwest and Japanese classical and jazz musicians
joining forces at Benaroya Hall in Seattle to present “Winds for Hope: Tomodachi
through Music,” a benefit concert for Japan. Proceeds for the concert will go toward
the purchase of musical instruments for Japanese children affected by the March 11,
2011 earthquake and tsunami. Click here for details.
March 11, 2012 – SHINSAI: Theaters for Japan
Theaters everywhere will participate in a nationwide theater event to commemorate the
first anniversary of the earthquake. A menu of 10 minute plays and songs has been
commissioned from American and Japanese artists, who have donated their work for this
one-day only event. Theaters nationwide will be able to craft their own events,
drawing from their own resident artists. Audiences everywhere on this day can donate
relief funds to the Japan Playwrights Association to disburse to the Japanese theater
community affected by the disaster. In New York City, all the plays and songs will be
presented in the Great Hall at Cooper Union. Additional details are available here.
March 11, 2012 – A Day of Remembrance, A Day of Preparedness, A Day of
SeattleJapanRelief.org and the Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle will hold a
special community event at the Fisher Pavilion and Kobe Bell in Seattle. The program
will feature musical performances by singer Fumi Tagata and koto ensemble Silk Strings
as well as exhibits and presentations by local and national emergency management
authorities and non-profit preparedness groups. There will also be a special screening
of the documentary “Gambappe Hula Girls!,” an exhibition of photography focusing on
the disaster and recovery, and a presentation of children’s messages of hope from the
Tohoku area. Following remarks by dignitaries, and a Buddhist ceremony honoring the
victims, the public will have an opportunity to ring the Kobe Bell. Contact the Consulate-General of Japan in
Seattle for details.
March 11, 2012 – One Year Later: A Day of Reflection
The Japan Society in New York will host a number of commemorative events. Visitors can
view and respond to artwork produced by children in the Tohoku region after the
disasters of March 11. Children will also be invited to design and create Happy Dolls,
smiling ambassadors of hope, to be sent to children in Tohoku. Screenings of the
Oscar-nominated film “The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom” directed by Lucy Walker, the
documentary film “Pray for Japan” directed by Stu Levy, and the film “Can You See Our
Lights?” produced by NHK WORLD will also be shown. Contact the Japan Society for additional details.
March 11, 2012 – Run for Japan 2012
A run/walk charity event will be held at Shoreline Park in Mountain View, California,
to not only collect donations to help the victims in Japan, but to also provide Bay
Area residents a means of sending to Japan a message of encouragement for continued
perseverance and hope for a full recovery. All proceeds of Run for Japan 2012 will be
used to purchase and deliver much needed equipment for primary grade schools in areas
devastated by the earthquake and tsunami in Northern Japan. More information can be found here.
March 11, 2012 – Postscripts from Japan: Stories that Endure after the Earthquake and Tsunami
Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, will host the Taylor Anderson/Japan Foundation Lecture, “Postscripts from Japan: Stories that Endure After the Earthquake and Tsunami.” This lecture will commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake which took the life of Randolph-Macon College alumna Taylor Anderson. This program is made possible through a generous grant from The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership. Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki will attend the program and deliver brief remarks. The keynote speaker for this lecture is National Public Radio correspondent Yuki Noguchi. More details available here.
March 11, 2012 – Remembering Tohoku: Looking Toward a Brighter Future
Members and visitors to the Portland Japanese Garden will gather in the Pavilion on the
first anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami to remember the victims of this
terrible disaster. The event includes Koto music, a memorial book, and a community
building project led by textile artist Hiroshi Sato. Contact the Portland Japanese
Garden for details.
March 11, 2012 – Japan in a Day
Filmmaker Ridley Scott and Fuji Television are teaming up to make a documentary about
how people spend the first anniversary of last year’s devastating earthquake and
tsunami. The project is dedicated to those who lost their lives or are still suffering
from the March 11 disaster. The resulting film will premiere in theaters and be
screened internationally. See the Japan in
a Day channel on YouTube for information on how to participate in this project.
March 12-16 and March 21-31, 2012 – Kizuna: The Bonds of Emotion
The months after the March 11 disaster brought to the forefront incredible stories of
resilience and generosity. The Nikkei, the leading Japanese business newspaper,
chronicled the devastation and recovery efforts through an extensive collection of
photographs. The Osaka Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International and Japan
America Society of Chicago will exhibit forty-six of these photos at two downtown
galleries: March 12-16 at the State of Illinois Thompson Center and March 21-31 at The
Chicago Photography Collective Gallery at Block 37. Contact Chicago Sister Cities International for information.
March 17, 2012 – The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom
The Oscar-nominated film “The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom” will be shown at AFI
Silver Theater in Silver Spring, Maryland, as part of the National Cherry Blossom
Festival. Director Lucy Walker set out to make “a visual haiku about cherry blossoms”
in Japan but changed her plans radically following the devastating earthquake and
tsunami that hit the country on March 11, 2011. Interviews with survivors in a
northern Japanese village in the heart of the disaster, whose residents share their
traumatic personal experiences of the tsunami, are framed by the metaphor of cherry
blossoms, a symbol deep in Japanese culture that suggests rebirth. Click here for details. “The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom” will also be screened at the National Archives in Washington on Feb. 26 as part of the 8th Annual Showcase of Academy Award-Nominated Documentaries and Shorts.
March 23, 2012 – Hana Hou Showcase Fundraiser
Children from areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami will engage in cultural
exchanges in Wahiawa, Hawaii. The children will be visiting Hawaii from March 18 to 26
through Rainbow for Japan Kids for rest, recuperation, and physical/psychological
relief through educational and cultural programs funded in part by TOMODACHI. They
will be hosted by Wahiawa Kokua for Japan, which is planning a fundraiser as the
second part of their effort to help the children of the disaster areas as an
anniversary event. Contact Wahaiwa
Kokua or Rainbow for Japan Kids
for more information.
March 25, 2012 – Rainbow for Japan Kids Charity Talk Live
Japan-based renowned musicians, Muneyaki Sato and Taizo Koshiba will be featured in a
fundraising event for Rainbow for Japan Kids at the Hawaii Convention Center. Hawaiian
family trio Manoa DNA will also perform and Japanese children visiting Hawaii in the
Rainbow for Japan Kids program will sing together with local children and play
ukuleles made during their stay. Contact Rainbow for Japan Kids for more
March 30, 2012 – Hollywood Night
Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk, in association with the U.S. Consulate in Fukuoka, is organizing “Hollywood Night” – an evening of live music, California wines and food, special guests, silent auctions, and more. All profits from the night are being donated to TOMODACHI, a public-private partnership that supports Japan’s recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake. Contact Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk or the U.S. Consulate in Fukuoka for more information.
April 16, 2012 – Yamakiya Taiko Group
Twelve members of the Yamakiya Taiko Group from Fukushima will be visiting Washington,
DC and the surrounding area as a part of this year’s centennial National Cherry
Blossom Festival. Among other performances, Yamakiya Taiko will play at Washington’s
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The group’s program is being sponsored
under the banner of TOMODACHI by the Japan-America Society of Washington, D.C.,
working with U.S. alumni of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET). More information is