April 9, 2012
Peace Boat is this year carrying out its 50th voyage around the world, having also conducted many voyages throughout Asia and the Pacific. During Peace Boat’s 73rd Global Voyage, which departed Japan shortly after the disaster last year, a photo exhibition was held at each port of call to communicate the damage in Ishinomaki and surrounding area, and the activities of volunteer. This report shares some of the disaster relief related activities carried out together with partners in ports around the world – here in Barcelona, Spain.
A photo exhibition which was continued in the current voyage, “Standing Together! Standing Stronger!” has added photographs of life in Fukushima as well as the latest photographs from Ishinomaki and Onagawa. It intends to communicate gratitude to the countries around the world which gave support to Tohoku and the ongoing effort for the reconstruction.
Presentation on the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in Barcelona, May 2011.
For several months after the disaster when the information was confused even within Japan, we were asked about the situation in Tohoku in every country we visited. Although the images of nuclear accident or the tsunami swallowing the towns and surrounds are broadcast on TV around the world, the lives of people and the actuality of relief work were not adequately communicated. During the 73rd voyage between April and July 2011, the above photo exhibit was held in 16 ports of call around the world. The photo panels used in the events were donated to partner organizations at ports along the way to provide further opportunities to know about Tohoku beyond the period of our visit.
A photo exhibition held in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
The donated photo panels are at these partner organizations’ disposal to use in charity events or other programmes. We have since received several reports from Barcelona, Spain, one of the places where the panels were donated.
The first is on a charity classical concert for the reconstruction, organized by “Forza Japo” which consists mainly of Japanese musicians in Barcelona.
The concert was held in cooperation with the city of Terraza in Catalonia, at the city music hall on December 4, 2011. As time has passed since the disaster, the intention was to provide “an opportunity to think of the disaster affected areas in Japan from Spain”. They showed a video that introduced works of “Project Fumbaro Eastern Japan (PFEJ)” where the funds raised were to be sent, set up a booth to write messages of support along with a space to talk about the disaster hit areas with a glass of Cava (sparkling wine from Catalonia) in hand.
The photo panels donated by Peace Boat were also on display. The Consul General of Japan who attended the event also offered to use the panels at the one year commemoration of the disaster in March.
The other report was on the memorial service “Un año después” held on March 11 this year. At 14:46 Japan time (6:46 am local time), a minute of silent prayer was offered on the beach, La Barceloneta. Although no big announcement was made in advance, more than 100 people gathered and thought of the disaster hit areas as the sun rose.
Reports from around the world on March 11 were broadcast in Japanese TV. Indeed we have received a lot of support from all over the world. We would like to report on other examples of support provided from overseas through Peace Boat including the works of international volunteers.
A further interesting activity has been taking place during the current 75th Global Voyage, in addition to the photo exhibits. It is called the“On the Road WORLD Genki Mikoshi (cheerful portable shrine)”.
This is organized by the NPO On the Road, with whom Peace Boat works together in Ishinomaki. The members in Ishinomaki hand crafted a portable shrine with messages, which is now being carried aboard Peace Boat’s Global Voyage, gathering messages from people around the world to pray for the reconstruction of Tohoku.
Those who use Facebook can also take a look at their reports uploaded regularly with images and stories from around the world. For now, here is the link to the images from Tahiti.
This portable shrine will be carried with spirit at the ports remaining in the final month of the voyage as it approaches Japan. Stay tuned for more reports!