We Will Always Remember You

Screen shot from Kenji Araki's video conveying thanks to donors from the people of Tohoku.

In October, Kenji Araki, a director from NY came to Tohoku to film a video as part of another project, and joined the It’s Not Just Mud crew for a couple days. This video is addressed to international citizens as a thank you message from the people of Tohoku, and really conveys a warm and encouraging message.

To the people of the world: there is a video we would like you to see.
On March 11, 2011, at 2:46pm, the Pacific coast of the Tohoku region ofJapan was hit by the most powerful earthquake the country had everexperienced. As the overwhelming scale of the destruction from thequake and resulting tsunami became clear, and the number of livesreported lost continued to climb to reach over 10,000, the people ofour country were devastated with grief and a sense of dejection.

It was during this time that you, the people from different countriesacross the world, called out to us with a message of strength andsupport: “Ganbare Nihon!”—Be strong Japan! You lifted out spirits andgave us the courage to keep our heads up and move forward.

Nowhere is this feeling of appreciation stronger than it is with the people ofTohoku. Anyone who has spent time helping with the rebuilding effortsknows how strong these people are, and how thankful they are.

This video by Kenji, titled “We WillAlways Remember You” begins with a series of video footage showingthe terrible disaster the earthquake wrought.It then turns the spotlight to Taylor Anderson (then 24), anAmerican assistant language teacher (ALT) in Ishinomaki City, MiyagiPrefecture—one of the areas hit hardest by the disaster.

Anderson,was teaching at an elementary school when the earthquake hit, stayedwith the frightened children until they had all been safely evacuated.However, on the way home, Anderson herself fell victim to the tsunamithat came rushing in after.

Anderson’s students appear in thevideo and speak of their memories of their teacher: “Taylor sensei wasreally nice. She really cheered us up when the earthquake struck.”

There were many other touching scenes in the pre-productionfootage that Kenji showed the It’s Not Just Mud crew when he stayed with them in October, and it’s great to see the wonderful final product. As Jamie ofINJM puts it “If you have been to Tohoku post disaster on any kind ofrelief mission, this video is relevant to you. Feel free to share.”

It’s only 7 minutes, but definitely worth watching. I’d recommend having a box of tissues handy nonetheless.

Update: Since the video was pulled from YouTube by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York due to copyright infringement, despite the wish of the director for the video to find as large an audience as possible, we have embedded a version shared on a Japanese video sharing site below. Please check it out. 

Here is an earlier video also by Kenji Araki filmed on March 17th, and conveys a message of support and solidarity for Japan. Ice T and Robin Williams also make appearances in the film.

2 Comments

  1. Unknown says:

    Such a pity JCCI NY is pulling the video from YouTube.

    More people should be able to view it, not just the few who were able to attend the Annual Dinner.

  2. Foreign Volunteers Japan says:

    Thank you very much for your comment. I have found another post of the video on a Japanese video sharing site, and have edited the article to reflect the new video location. Please continue to share this story. Thank you.