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Photo Exhibit “Kizuna 3: Unbroken Circle
Testimony of Friendship and Commitment
Three years have passed from the great earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, and the tragedy may have been forgotten. But Chicagoans’ commitment to help recovery efforts in Tohoku area never fades away.
A photo exhibit “Kizuna 3: Unbroken Circle” was held at the Daley Center from March 10 to 21, and an opening ceremony took place on March 11.
Yoko Noge, Chair of the Osaka Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International (CSCI), took the initiative to hold the Kizuna photo exhibit in 2011 and made an effort to bring it the second and the third year to share the resurgence and human connections in the disaster area of Tohoku.
The exhibit consists of three parts: a great tragedy and hope for reconstruction; interactions and friendships between Chicagoans and the people in Tohoku through JET alumni association and Kakehashi project; and a women’s group of Yarn Alive, who supports the victims of the typhoon in the Philippines from Tohoku.
Governor Pat Quinn proclaimed March 11, 2014 as Japanese Earthquake Commemoration Day of Illinois, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel declared the day as Japanese Tsunami Commemoration Day.
The ceremony started with the vibrant sound of taiko drumming by Tsukasa Taiko. The MC Leroy Allala, Executive Director of CSCI, led the audience to observe a moment of silence. Harpist Emily Ellyse Toetcke beautifully played a Japanese song of Sakura on her harp.
J.D. Bindenagel, president of the Japan America Society
of Chicago, spoke about the need for continuous support for restoring prosperity
in Tohoku, and the importance of deepening bonds between the people of the
State representative Robyn Gabel said that she was very
impressed by the photo exhibit to see the youth exchanges and the women’s
group, the latter of which was knitting blankets for the victims of the typhoon
in the Philippines.
Consul General of Japan Masaharu Yoshida expressed his gratitude,
saying, “This exhibition is very special because the people of Chicago continue
to remember and care about the people in Tohoku.”
Two youths, Adam Adachi and Eric Yamane, who visited Tokyo
and Hiroshima through the project, spoke about their first hand experiences.
Adachi said that he learned the traditional background of his heritage.
Wesley Julian from JET Alumni Association of Chicago talked
about a documentary film “Tohoku Tomo”, which was screened on March 12 at
the Adler Planetarium.
Yoko Noge said, “Human kindness is unbroken. That is a duty of human beings. We have to remember it as our memory fades. We all came together to do something for Japan, and I wanted to do something as a Japanese who lives in Chicago.”
George Vitek was watching the exhibit diligently. He said that his daughter was in Japan and was going to work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Iwakuni Air Base, so he was taking his first Japanese language course at college to learn some Japanese and culture. He heard of the exhibit at the college and attended the ceremony. He said, “I’m very happy to see what they did.”
The photo exhibit “Kizuna 3: Unbroken Circle” will be held again at Japan Festival in Arlington Heights from June 7 to 8, 2014.