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Japan's children of the tsunami shaped by tragedy

27 Comments
By Hiroshi HIYAMA

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Media coverage emphasized polite evacuees and national solidarity, but Ganbe saw adults jump lines for food, pushing children aside. For several days after the tsunami he ate nothing.

Shameful behaviour.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Tsunamis royally SUCK.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

terrible sociology and mental health . Throwing everyone's emotions under the bus is not how to live or deal with grief. In the land of discrimination, discrimination against yourself is the ultimate. Japan really needs to develop a positive mental health strategy especially after disasters, but also just generally. And these were the postive stories. How many couldn't deal with it and lead to suicides afterwards? Just compounding tragedies

3 ( +5 / -2 )

These young people and many more like them suffered a hugely traumatic experience. They lost family members, friends, homes, in the most devastating of circumstances. Many of them saw people swept away in the water crying out for help.

There’s no mention in the story of any counselling at all - on the contrary many were told not to talk about it.

Many people in this country need help with mental health issues rather than remaining silent and being forced to deal with things alone. These young people in this most extreme of cases is the biggest example I’ve seen of this yet.

Japan is such a cold hearted place sometimes.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The media also didn't hold the government to account and was generally a PR exercise to maintain control and not inform people of what was really happening. Nice to see the survivors calling that out, so there's hope for change, but such a mountain of yes-men to get around

5 ( +5 / -0 )

PTSD is evident in much of the population here: whether it be a result of disasters, intra-family DV & chid abuse, bullying and ‘inhumane, archaic and systemic methods of societal ostracisation’; along with the government and media tolerated, continued sexual & power harassment against the labor force.

@HBJ 8:05a JST - “These young people, and many more, suffered the most devastating of circumstances... Yet, “There’s no mention of any counselling at all - on the contrary many were told not to talk about it.

Sadly, mental health issues and counseling are still an antiquated, illogical ‘taboo’ here.
7 ( +8 / -1 )

Remember the previous post? About the Sea Wall?

''Some of you argue against it, you said it's Ugly and takes away from the view, waste of money and resources.''

Those Sea Walls being built might be the only thing stopping the next Monster of a Tsunami from repeating what happened in 2011. Fact

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Those Sea Walls being built might be the only thing stopping the next Monster of a Tsunami from repeating what happened in 2011. Fact

Until there is another tsunami of 'unprecedented' proportions

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Remember the previous post? About the Sea Wall? 

''Some of you argue against it, you said it's Ugly and takes away from the view, waste of money and resources.''

Those Sea Walls being built might be the only thing stopping the next Monster of a Tsunami from repeating what happened in 2011. Fact

Remember that all the towns devastated by the tsunami had sea walls that turned out to be useless? Fact.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

This is only effect on a couple of prefectures. Corona virus has only just started in japan and will last 1-2 years more. The effect on children is hundreds more serious than a one time event. Tsunami and earthquake and radiation did unimaginable damage, but it was localized. This pandemic effects every single woman, child and man everywhere.

BTW. not playing the disaster down, I went there just after and it was the first time I cried in Japan.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

This is only effect on a couple of prefectures.

Which is exactly why the government thinks it can get away with not addressing the issues seriously.

If a tsunami had devastated Yokohama for example, or a natural disaster destroyed Shibuya, you can bet your bottom yen that not only would they have been rebuilt already, but they would've been revitalised, modernised, and the local residents would've been given first class treatment all the way through.

The people of Tohoku get an official visit every now and then, a few cheap words that actually mean very little, and a whole lot of ganbare.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Poor folks, especially the children who suffered through that horrendous disaster and still feel the effects. My heart goes out to them.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

"The people of Tohoku get an official visit every now and then, a few cheap words that actually mean very little, and a whole lot of ganbare."

and almost $309 billion to rebuild tohoku.

https://www.google.com/search?q=reconstruction+japan+after+tsunami+2011&gl=us&hl=en&pws=0&ei=8SlEYPihF_W80PEPiqCD2AE&start=0&sa=N&ved=2ahUKEwi43v3HgZ3vAhV1HjQIHQrQABs4ChDy0wN6BAgDEDQ&biw=1366&bih=657

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Can we assume the majority of commenters here are supportive of the need to care for All Japan’s people and less about the huge expenditure for this summer’s ‘Big Event’?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

re: The people of Tohoku get an official visit every now and then, a few cheap words that actually mean very little, and a whole lot of ganbare.

Which is why voting for the right people is so important.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The trauma for lost who lost a loved one or survived the deadly tsunami will last a lifetime. Watching it live on TV was horrific but how much more for those experiencing it. Watching people being swept away by one of the strongest tsunamis to hit the country sweeping inland by 6 km. The destruction was vast and beyond immediate comprehension.

The whole of the country's psychic was affected by the double disasters and then the nuclear disaster. It will take generations to heal. Survivors who are now unable to live next to the sea have moved to higher ground.

The scar of the tsunami spread across the pacific reaching the west coast of America. Even today, debris is still turning up on shores.

Similar traumas happened with the children who survived the Kobe earthquake and when they reached adult day, they remembered the ones who didn't make it.

Nature is beautiful but at times cruel and overpowering.

On the tenth anniversary, we will share their pain, a least for the day.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Where do you start about lack of mental health support in this country? It’s a massive bleeding wound in Japanese society that the government blatantly ignore. Just slide that shōji screen across and pretend it’s never happened. Awful.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

A decade after Fukushima nuclear disaster, contaminated water symbolizes Japan’s struggles

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/fukushima-japan-radioactive-water-anniversary/2021/03/05/b0515cd0-76b8-11eb-9489-8f7dacd51e75_story.html

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This is an extremely complicated issue, to balance the needs of recovery and remembrance while still moving on that the people can have a future. I say "the people" and not "the area", because the sea wall story yesterday said there have now been three tsunamis in 120 years. This means the pieces of land the towns happen to lie on, what may be called "the area", may not have much of a future. Lots of money has been spent on Tohoku, and my impression is that more should have been spent on people and less on extremely vulnerable pieces of land. Pieces of land are just material things and people should not be encouraged to project lots of emotions, least of all their identity, onto them. This linking of the self to a furusato strikes me as very restrictive and actually quite unBuddhist.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ember, the ancients put up large stones explains things and told people to never build or live below these stones. Ruthless land owners/politicians played it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Huh?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The people of Tohoku get an official visit every now and then,

By some strange coincidence, these rare visits coincide with political agenda. Full moon and werewolf stuff.

i don’t believe in kings, queens ,emperors etc. but the last Japanese emperor and his wife have my 100% respect. They visited so many times and showed love to them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The survivors not only had to suffer in silence but they also had to put up with their fellow citizens bullying them for supposedly being contaminated by radiation.

[Hazuki Shimizu’s] family was kept in the car park and monitored for radiation with Geiger counters when they came to register her for a new school.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Articles like this really illustrate just how VULGAR everything to do with the olympics really is!

The wasted resources that would have have MEANT something in Tohoku...........the games are obscene!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Totally heartbroken reading this article. It is a big wish to wish that the gov would do something more to help them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Media coverage emphasized polite evacuees and national solidarity, but Ganbe saw adults jump lines for food, pushing children aside. For several days after the tsunami he ate nothing.

Shameful behaviour.

Appalling. For many years Japan has always portrayed themselves as one big happy family, but I have known otherwise for quite a long time now.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A very brief trip to Tohoku in the summer of 2011, to do very minor volunteering to help the people of Ishinomaki clear up and start to pick up the pieces after the tsunami had a huge impact on me. First, it was like an awakening for Japan, with massive, spontaneous solidarity and community activism, a desire to just reach out and help fellow humans. Second, I was impacted by the massive pain and trauma when a whole community suffers so much, and although they have lost loved ones, they have no chance to mour, even though they have also lost livelihoods and homes and need to just get on and start trying to put their lives back together.

In moments with me, a complete stranger, some continued to bottle up and hold back their emotions. Others, the chance to unburden themselves to a stranger was like a dam bursting, and it all came flooding out. Horrific stories and searing memories that they hadn't been able to talk about because everyone in the community had their own horrors, so collectively they had to just hold it in. It was a humbling experience, to feel I was doing so little, but at the same time realise that it was of use for many.

We all celebrated a Bon matsuri in the neighbourhood. The first chance to enjoy do normal Japanese summer stuff, put on a yukata, wander round food stalls. Everyone piled onto a makeshift karoake stage on the back of a truck, and sang Ue o Muite Arukou together, and it felt unlike any other festival I have been to in Japan.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaHZs9Y6CDU

I feel for all the survivors who never got the support and counselling they needed, the displaced people forced to start somewhere else, those living in temporary housing for years, the families forced to split up, the discrimination against the children who moved to other areas and were treated as contaminated in their new schools. The efforts of the young people in this story to help others who went through all this are an inspiration, and remind us, as the messages and signs all over Tohoku said, 'please remember us'.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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