Onagawa, similar to Minami Sanriku, is wiped out. Very few buildings exist to house survivors. This community is known for their strength and ability to face hardships quietly. We had the privilege of speaking with a group of survivors housed in Onagawa Elementary School, with 760 survivors (as of 5/12/2011).  Almost everyone in the audience sang to “Furusato” and “Ueo Muite” played by Steve Sacks.  Many stayed and spoke with us – it was the first time they had the space and time to grieve and process their emotions since the tsunami swept their village and family members.  (Below: view from the Onagawa hospital).


onagawa genpatsu

(Above: Steve Sacks performing at the Onagawa Nuclear Power plant evacuation site.)

1000 survivors were transferred here a few weeks ago. Now, only 80 remain – others have either moved to other evacuation sites or to their relative’s home. The evacuees here cannot go out freely, due to site regulations – the nuclear power plant is still operational.

One young evacuee surprised us by bringing her yokobue (flute) and playing it by the entrance as we walked out. The women who were listening quietly indoors came out to dance. For a brief moment, women laughed and danced to an upbeat Japanese tune.  It was by far the best ending  anyone could wish for.



One Comment on “Onagawa”

  1. Tara says:

    This is such a heartwarming story- keep up the great work!

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