On March 11, I went to Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, to deliver an address at a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the awful tsunami it caused, which inflicted terrible destruction and loss of life along some 400 km of the Tohoku region’s Pacific coast.

There, I met a remarkable man, though his narrative was unrelated to the tens of thousands of tragedies being commemorated that day. Nonetheless, I was deeply moved, and retell his story here, aided by materials I’ve been able to obtain subsequently.

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