This Sunday will mark a year since what's become known as the Great East Japan Earthquake struck off the northeastern coast of Japan. The magnitude 9.0 quake, and a massive subsequent tsunami, left more than 15,000 dead and thousands more injured. More than 3,000 people remain missing and many survivors are still homeless. The quake, one of the biggest in recorded history, also prompted the failure of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. It was far the worst crisis experienced since World War II by Japan, which is still recovering from the devastation.
I'm reposting this video from the days after the quake struck, filmed by KPCC's Grant Slater and Faun Kime. It captures the desperation felt by those with loved ones in Japan as experienced by Tony Tsukui, the employee of a Japanese company in Southern California who despaired in Los Angeles while his wife and children remained in Tokyo, far from the quake but affected nonetheless. It also features footage from a memorial service for victims held in L.A.'s Little Tokyo in the days following the disaster, in which the participants' shock and grief is palpable.
Los Angeles' Japanese American immigrant and business communities mobilized after the quake, raising funds for relief efforts and working to get immigrants in touch with loved ones in Japan. This Sunday, a bell will be rung at the time the quake struck during a memorial service at the Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist temple in Little Tokyo downtown.
It's one of many memorial events taking place this weekend, among them a Los Angeles exhibit of photographs that were salvaged from tsunami debris. The Nichi Bei website has a list of memorial events taking place in several cities, including L.A.