Ten Years Later: Japan Society Remembers the Great East Japan Earthquake (3.11)March 9, 20214 min read
To Mark the 10th Anniversary of the Triple Disaster, Japan Society Will Present Programming Reflecting Upon the Aftermath, Recovery and Spirit of Resiliency
After the Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster devastated the Tohoku region of northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011 (3.11), Japan Society's Japan Earthquake Relief Fund (JERF) raised over $14 million from more than 24,600 donors from all 50 U.S. states and 55 countries, the largest amount raised by a nonprofit not specializing in disaster and emergency relief and the 7th largest fundraising campaign by a U.S. nonprofit organization.
Through a series of events and videos leading up to the 10-year anniversary of 3.11, Japan Society invites our community to remember those who were lost, and to look toward Tohoku’s continued recovery. We also extend our sincere appreciation to all who donated to the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund (JERF), which was launched by Japan Society the day after the tragic events of 3.11. Since 2011, JERF has funded more than 65 grant projects and 45 organizations supporting Tohoku’s immediate relief and reconstruction efforts as well as the mid- to long-term recovery of these communities.
In 2021, Japan Society has earmarked the remaining funds to support additional projects facilitating community-building and economic recovery in disaster-hit areas where challenges have become further exacerbated by the onset of the global pandemic and additional disasters that most recently struck the region on February 13. More information on these organizations and projects is available here.
To mark the 10th anniversary of the triple disaster, Japan Society will report back on how JERF grants have contributed to Tohoku’s recovery, and highlight stories of what was witnessed in the aftermath of 3.11, including Tohoku’s resiliency, the bravery and initiative of all who responded to unprecedented challenges, the strength of U.S.-Japan relations, and the spirit of human generosity and goodwill. As we remember and draw lessons from the events of 3.11, we hope to nurture hope for the future of Tohoku and the world.
“2021 is a year to reflect on resilience and recovery as we navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and remember not just the tragedy of 3.11, but the strength of the Japanese people and the generosity of the world in its aftermath,” said Japan Society President and CEO Joshua W. Walker, Ph.D. “As we mark the 10-year anniversary of these events, we honor those who were lost, and extend our gratitude to the individuals and organizations who offered their support, including the donors to our relief fund.”
Events include a contemporary theater performance “Ludic Proxy: Fukushima,” held live on March 6, 7 & 11 and available on demand from March 12 - 16. This video adaptation of Brooklyn-based theater-maker Aya Ogawa’s play Ludic Proxy follows a woman visiting her older sister, who lives on the outskirts of the Fukushima nuclear evacuation zone. The interactive play, which features a unique element of audience participation, explores the theme of human survival in the face of disaster.
Taking advantage of our expertise in bringing together American and Japanese experts, a live U.S.-Japan symposium on March 9, 7-9pm EST, “Resilience & Recovery: A U.S.-Japan Dialogue Ten Years after 3.11”, will feature leading voices from Tohoku, Japan and the U.S. to discuss lessons learned from 3.11 on resilience and recovery from catastrophes. The symposium will be co-hosted with JERF recipient, ETIC., a Japanese nonprofit dedicated to nurturing social entrepreneurs and recovery efforts in Tohoku.
As its first exhibition upon reopening to the public, Japan Society will also present When Practice Becomes Form: Carpentry Tools from Japan opening on March 11th. The exhibition celebrates the resilient spirit of Japanese architecture and craftsmanship through woodworking tools, architectural patterns, and models. The site-specific exhibition design, conceived by the esteemed architect Sou Fujimoto in collaboration with Brooklyn-based Popular Architecture, introduces major themes from the exhibition and is in dialogue with the gallery’s spaces, highlighting an enduring connection between traditional Japanese wooden construction and modern architecture. Viewing is available every Thursday through Sunday with advance timed-entry ticket reservations online.
Further digital features include:
- Testimonials on the impact of JERF’s support from recipients and participants in fund-supported programs;
- A special season of Japan Society’s Tea Time series featuring six short interviews with key leaders from the U.S. and Japan including former U.S. Ambassador John V. Roos and retired General Ryoichi Oriki on their responses and lessons learned from the disaster;
- Dialogues between social entrepreneurs from Tohoku and their counterparts in New Orleans, LA and Wilmington, OH to discuss their work in using data, nurturing social entrepreneurship, and rebuilding communities recovering from natural disasters and economic crisis. These conversations feature alumni from “U.S.-Japan Leaders Exchange: Three-Year Training & Networking Program for Leaders in Tohoku’s Recovery and Reconstruction,” a multi-year program organized by Japan Society and ETIC from 2013-16.
For a full list of programs and more information about JERF and the fund recipients, visit the Japan Society webpage.
About Japan Society
Founded in 1907, Japan Society in New York City presents sophisticated, topical and accessible experiences of Japanese art and culture, and facilitates the exchange of ideas, knowledge and innovation between the U.S. and Japan. More than 200 events annually encompass world-class exhibitions, dynamic classical and cutting-edge contemporary performing arts, film premieres and retrospectives, workshops and demonstrations, tastings, family activities, language classes, and a range of high-profile talks and expert panels that present open, critical dialogue on issues of vital importance to the U.S., Japan and East Asia. Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street between First and Second avenues (accessible by the 4/5/6 and 7 subway at Grand Central or the E and M subway at Lexington Avenue). www.japansociety.org
Joshua W. Walker, PhD President & CEO
Walker leads Japan Society to create deep bonds between the US & Japan through programs in culture, education, business, policy & technology