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Every morning before work, Kenichi Kurosawa refuels a kerosene lantern at an altar beside a large billboard that reads, “Ganbarō! Ishinomaki,” which can roughly be translated as, “Let’s keep going! Ishinomaki.”

Kurosawa created the signboard after his two-story house was smashed by towering waves set off by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck off the nation’s northeastern coast on March 11, 2011.

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