On the second anniversary of the tragic earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011, San Francisco’s George Washington and Abraham Lincoln High Schools teamed up to honor the lives lost and affected by the disaster and to promote the understanding of Japan’s revival efforts.
The schools Japanese clubs: Lincoln’s Japanese Culture Club and Washington’s Japanese National Honor Society hosted a reception to welcome 50 Japanese students from the Kizuna (bond/friendship) youth exchange program, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and organized a speaking program to discuss current recovery efforts. The program aims to encourage greater understanding between the youth of Japan and the United States and foster long-term and ongoing interest in one another by providing firsthand experiences with the culture of the other.
The reception drew over 150 people and took place inside the Asian Art Museum’s Samsung Hall on March 11. The museum was bustling with lots of noise and excitement at having students from Japan based Hachinohe Kosen High School and Misawa High School in attendance.
As the program commenced, students from each school gave slide show and video presentations, showing scenes of the aftermath in which took the lives of over 15,000 people and what work is being done now to repair the country, while students from Japan who witnessed the tragedy first hand, shared personal stories about their experiences after the disaster.
“I think the Kizuna a project is a great way to exchange cultural understanding and to learn more about the situation in Japan,” said Joey Yasuhiro, a senior at Lincoln High School. “As a Japanese American, this program is a great way for me to connect back to my heritage.
Tomokazu Morikawa, a teacher at George Washington High School said when the earthquake happened, everyone paid attention, but as time has gone by, people have started to forget.
“People lost their families, house, and are still facing troubles every day,” Morikawa said. “It is important that we remind people that the earthquake and tsunami happened and that those in Japan still need help.”