I recently learned that Arahama Elementary School in Sendai has been preserved to continue to tell the tragedy of the tsunami of March 11, 2011.

The four-story concrete school building became the evacuation place for 320 people (residents, schoolchildren and school staff). The seawater came up to the second floor of the school, yet they were able to make their way to safety on the rooftop. Everyone on the roof saw the terrifying scene as the tsunami attacked and destroyed their beloved homes and everything else in their town. And they had to stay overnight until they were rescued.

I am reminded of my connection with the Arahama district. When I lived in Sendai, I frequently visited Arahama Beach with my wife and two children. The beach was so beautiful, the unique sounds of the sea waves comforted and encouraged each one of us every time, and the people of Arahama were so friendly. We still treasure this and it shall never disappear from us.

It was so sad that Arahama Elementary School had to close down in 2016 after a history of 142 years.

It seems that because the Arahama area is so close to the coastline, it is considered almost impossible for people to decide to live there again. What sad news!

I understand the painful situation, and as I pray for the repose of the victims I still have a dream that Arahama can someday be revived as a beautiful town where people again live in peace.


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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