A weekend of remembrance for Japan tsunami victims also marked the start of an international partnership aimed at averting future tragedies.
The one-year anniversary of the Japan earthquake and tsunami disaster was commemorated in Sendai, Japan, during a March 10, 2012 event attended by University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Chancellor Virginia S. Hinshaw, representing the UH system and the people of Hawai‘i. UH Mānoa was joined at the Tohoku University event by two other U.S. invitees, Harvard and UCLA.
On Sunday morning, March 11, Chancellor Hinshaw attended the Forum for International Research Collaboration event at the Hotel Metropolitan Sendai. At the forum’s conclusion, attendees signed a Joint Statement that encourages collaboration on behalf of academia around the world in identifying issues and developing science and technology to mitigate disasters and build a resilient world.
Accompanying Chancellor Hinshaw from UH Mānoa were husband Bill Hinshaw and Dean of the College of Social Sciences Denise Konan. Also invited were representatives of Japan universities including Tohoku, Nagoya, Kyoto, Fukushima, Tokyo, Niigata and Kobe. Other international entities that participated were the German Aerospace Center (Germany), Tsinghua University (China), University of Florence (Italy), University College London (United Kingdom), and Istanbul Technical University (Turkey).
Also that Sunday afternoon, a one-year memorial service was held at Sendai Trust City in honor of those who perished in the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami disaster. Chancellor Hinshaw characterizes the day’s experiences as tremendously moving, including an impromptu ceremony at Sendai Airport as the Hinshaws were departing Japan. “There was a concert about recovery followed by several minutes of total silence to honor those who had lost their lives,” she recalls. “Everyone stood in place, in line, stopped everything and took those few moments of silence to remember—it was very touching. And, believe me, there was not a sound.”
Top photo: Commemorative candles are set up on a sidewalk in Sendai.