On March 11, an unprecedented disaster devastated many coastal towns and villages in northeastern Japan. As the damaging influence of earthquakes, tsunamis and nuclear power plant failures spreads throughout the nation, people here as well as all over the world have stepped forward to help Japan.
Friends, co-workers and neighbors have called to see whether our families back home are safe and have generously donated through their trusted venues. Relief fund boxes have been placed at schools by students. Local business owners have contributed merchandise and artists have donated art work for charitable sales. There have been prayers and charity events hosted by K-State, including a weekly Japanese disaster relief table, sales of the “Pray for Japan” T-shirts and the Sembazuru (1,000 origami cranes) Japan Disaster Relief Fundraiser. The Central Kansas Japanese Festival held on the K-State campus earlier this month was another heartwarming opportunity to appreciate how much the people here and elsewhere care.
As of April 17, 13,802 lives have been lost, 14,129 people are missing and 136,535 people are without their homes. When an old woman stands forlornly where her family house used to be, when a fisherman collects the debris of what used to be his boat, and when a little boy goes back to school where the lives of more than a half of his teachers and classmates have been taken away, what is left of human strength can quickly dwindle. It is the outpouring support from people and the nations around the world that sustains the lives and the spirit of the survivors. The U.S. military chose to call their Japan rescue mission “Operation Tomodachi (Friends).” Among other efforts, they played a major role in the reopening of the Sendai airport last week, a key air transportation hub that had been swallowed by the powerful tsunami. That and the naming of their mission symbolize the provision of both the physical and spiritual support desperately needed.
While we are horrified about the dire situation our home country is facing now and in the future, we have been greatly touched and encouraged. We, the Japanese people in Manhattan, Junction City and nearby communities, would like to express our most sincere appreciation for the heartfelt support from these communities including K-State, with our deepest bow. Thank you — Doumo arigatougozaimasu.
Japanese residents in Manhattan,
Junction City and surrounding