3.11 Tsunami Ozuchi Kirikiri news

  1. スポンサーサイト(--/--)
  2. APE…it will become the hub of local activities(11/06)
  3. The Hyoutan-Jima island…a symbol of revival in Ozuchi 2(10/25)
  4. The Hyoutan-Jima island…a symbol of revival in Ozuchi 1(10/18)
  5. APE...a place where people can gather in Kirikiri(09/28)
  6. Flowers blooming after the tsunami(09/19)
  7. Kirikiri Shrine-Festival(09/19)
  8. Hamayuri...a sightseeing ship on top of a hotel(09/15)
  9. Fukkatsu-no Maki...firewood for revival project(08/20)
  10. Special hometown Kirikiri(08/08)
  11. My hometown Kirikiri, Ozuchi(08/05)


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APE…it will become the hub of local activities

2013年11月06日 00:53

Ape celebrated its second anniversary October 2013. Ape became the place where people could meet casually and has been indispensable for the community. However, it has to move in the near future.


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Ozuchi town office had discussed how to design the new town after the tsunami with local people. Their basic thinking is that houses should not be built in the area that was hit by the tsunami. This is because if another tsunami strikes, the same destruction will happen again; and another tsunami will surely come someday.

As this region is composed of a special terrain called rias coast, there are only a few high and flat places available to build houses. So, Ozuchi town has proposed the following plan;

1. Build a seawall 12.8m in hight
2. Raise the ground level of the building site.

Ape currently is located at the building site. That's why Ape will be closed in December 2013. It will be temporary, as Norishige, Ape's owner, has declared that it will be relocated and restored.


On the other hand, Ape is trying to start a new project. Norishige is planning a tour to see the sea of Kirikiri in a sea kayak. On the tour, it will be possible to enjoy the scenery of a deserted island and the sea. It is a beautiful place that you can fully appreciate while paddling your kayak.

Ape Trek (Ape official site)

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Until now, it has not been fully utilized by locals despite there being a number of tourism resources available. It is difficult for the people who live locally to see how attractive it is. Norishige can now re-discover the beauty of the local because he had been living in Tokyo.


In the wake of the tsunami, volunteers and supporters; people with the imagination and ability to take action, have gathered in this town. Efforts to re-discover the charm of the countryside and community activism will go on increasing. It's very exciting. I am looking forward to Ape being revived for people not only to gather, but it will also become the hub of local activities.



The Hyoutan-Jima island…a symbol of revival in Ozuchi 2

2013年10月25日 00:19

Another event was the Hyokkori Jazz Festival held in 2004. The Meiji university jazz big band, "Big Sounds Society Orchestra" a well known band amongst universities which I also belonged to when I was a university student performed a this festival.

第一回ひょっこりJAZZ祭 official site

The band performed in a special location. The stage was made near the pier where the audience could see the island that was lit up. The lights used for hunting squids which are very bright were used around the stage. The stage was also decorated with a lot of fisherman's flags. Many people came to this special festival and enjoyed the music, I thought it was a great success!



Now, they are trying to make the island a symbol of revival. At the end of 2011, they held a design competition for the design of the lighthouse instead of replacing the original one. There were many applicants and new one was built. The embankment connecting the island and land will be completed soon.

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Mr.Makoto Ozone, who is one of the most famous jazz pianists in Japan, recorded the theme song "Hyokkori-Hyoutan-Jima", it is broadcast from speakers of the town every noon. I hope the Hyokkori Jazz Festival Vol.2 will be held someday. I want Mr.Ozone to join in the festival! If there is another jazz festival, it will be an opportunity to attract people from other towns to the island.

大槌のひょうたん島前でライブ 曲提供の小曽根さんら


The Hyoutan-Jima island…a symbol of revival in Ozuchi 1

2013年10月18日 00:27

There is an island in Ozuchi called "Hyoutan-Jima". As the shape of this island is quite unique; it is similar to a gourd, local people have called it by this name since a long time ago.

Before the tsunami, we could get to the island along an embankment. On and around the island are good places for fishing and I enjoyed fishing here with my friends when I was a child. There was a small shrine and a red lighthouse on the island. However, the embankment and the lighthouse were destroyed by a tsunami.





DSC00896 - バージョン 2

May.2011 (after the tsunami)

This small island became famous as a model of a TV puppet show program for children called "Hyokkori-Hyoutan-Jima" since it aired in the 1960's. The story of this show was about when the island suddenly separated from land and began to move towards the sea. Only a few people survived and remained on the island. These people all had unique personalities and each episode there was some type of drama and they had to solve the problem.

As the story was unique, satirical and amusing, it appealed to many people at the time so most Japanese people know this show. It had a catchy theme song that many people recognize. The story was written by the writer Hisashi Inoue, who also wrote Kirikiri-Jin. Although he did not say which island he modeled the story on, Ozuchi people believe it was their island. It seems very likely because his mother had lived in the neighboring city of Kamaishi.

Hisashi Inoue -wikipedia

Special hometown Kirikiri

Ozuchi town has used this island for sightseeing and sometimes held events related to the island. One example is when they were broadcasting at noon everyday the theme song of Hyokkori-Hyoutan-Jima. However, because of the tsunami, the Ozuchi town building sound system was destroyed.

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Aug.2013 Ozuchi town office

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Aug.2013 Ozuchi town

To be continued...

ひょっこりひょうたん島の今・・・2011年9月 大槌レポート

APE...a place where people can gather in Kirikiri

2013年09月28日 19:57

A few months after the tsunami, a musician whose hometown is Kirikiri moved back with his wife and daughter from Tokyo. His name is Norishige. His parents' house was lost to the tsunami; he also lost his memories of childhood.

When he came back to Kirikiri two days after the tsunami, he walked around the area where their house was and saw the situation with his own eyes. In this area, he discovered a broken guitar in the rubble. When he picked it up, he received inspiration. That night, while sitting around the fire with his family, a song was born.


The title of this song is "歩きましょう A-ru-ki-ma-shou" which means "Why not keep walking". This song gave hope and courage to many people.

He returned to Tokyo and stayed active supporting his damaged town. Many of his friends helped with these activities. However, he decided to go back to his hometown. He could not forget the scene of just after the tsunami and what he wanted to create was in Kirikiri.

He began to collect the materials available to use to build a hut from rubble. He started to build the hut on the foundation of his parents house destroyed by the tsunami with his family.
In October 2011, the hut was completed. He opened the cafe and bar named "APE".







There was nowhere for the people to gather in Kirikiri. This was because all facilities, restaurants and bars were lost. He thought it was important for the people to have a place available to come together. Also, there was no place where we could enjoy music freely in Kirikiri before the tsunami. He wanted to make his small cafe and bar, APE, so that there would be.



Now, many people visit his small cafe every day, not only local people, but also volunteers, supporters and tourists. He and his family run APE, they serve organic coffee and very good food. Sometimes they have live music at night time. APE became the place where people could gather as its name suggests; the meaning of "APE" is "a fire" in Hokkaidou's local language. People always like talking, singing, dancing around the fire. In a difficult situation, such as after the tsunami, people still do.




APE official website

Cafe & Bar ”APE”・・・吉里吉里に人の集まる場所を。

Cafe & Bar ”APE”・・・月食の夜。吉里吉里に響く音楽。

Flowers blooming after the tsunami

2013年09月19日 23:22

In early May, about two months after the tsunami, I walked around the damaged area in Kirikiri with my camera. I visited Kirikiri a few times after the tsunami to volunteer and help my parents, and also I tried to keep a record of the situation by taking photos. At that time, rubble was being cleared gradually so some rubble still remained.

In the damaged area, most of the houses were demolished so we could only see the foundations. While I was walking around the area, I found a flower blooming near the foundation of a house. I was surprised that it remained even though it was hit by the tsunami. This made me think just how strong that flower was and the life force of nature is amazing!



This is why I was interested in these flowers. After a while, I discovered that these flowers were planted by the people who lived in the area before the tsunami. These people lost all their belongings along with the house. The only thing remaining was the foundation of the house and the flowers blooming around the foundation. I think it has a special meaning for them. When they see these flowers, they can remind them of the days before the tsumami.





However, when the cleaning of the rubble has been completed, even the foundations of the houses will also disappear. Therefore, the memory of their houses will not be there in the future. That’s why I thought recording these flowers in photos was important and I took as many photos as I could when I found some of these flowers.

Someday I hope to hold a small exhibition featuring these photos in Kirikiri, and I also want to present these photos to the owners of the houses.






Kirikiri Shrine-Festival

2013年09月19日 23:21

Every summer there was a festival held in Kirikiri called the “Kirikiri shrine festival”. The summer after the March 2011, when the great tsunami hit the village, people were very hesitant to even mention the festival. The memories of broken homes and the sadness of many lives which were lost, brought out divided opinions among the people whether they should even hold the festival or not.


In the end, they decided to hold the festival. This is because the traditional dance has a role to comfort victim. In fact, at the time of tsunami 80 years ago, there are a record the ​​festival held.




One of the traditional dance, "Shishi dance".

The high light of this special festival is that there is a “Portable Shrine” which is carried by about twenty men on their shoulders who go through the town in a parade. This parade starts off from a point and also at the same point after going through the town, but the most important thing is that it is lead by and finished by three most unique traditional dances.

They are called;
1. Daikagura dance
2. Shishi dance
3. Tiger dance


A head of the "Shishi dance".


"Daikagura" and "Tiger" head.


Kirikiri Shrine (before the tsunami)

Children of Kirikiri also participate in these dances with the adults as it is part of the tradition. This festival is normally celebrated on 17th of August, but celebration start on the 16th night, when the shrine is carried out with lots of colorful lights and Bonfire. This beautiful situation not only has an emotional aspect, but its beauty touches each and everyone’s heart.

It was a very special experience for me, as I too joined the festival eve for the first time after the tsunami. I was very impressed by the traditional local dances especially the Tiger dance. When at the end of the dance, one of the leading man said, “Although it takes a long time for the revival from the tsunami, but let's do our best to match the power!".

This emotional experience left me with a very hopeful feeling to face life and its situations, no matter what the obstacle there is always a way to face it and move forward. I too believe in the power of the festival.



吉里吉里御霊祭り 前編
吉里吉里御霊祭り 後編

Hamayuri...a sightseeing ship on top of a hotel

2013年09月15日 00:08

On March 11th a great tsunami left a lot of incredible phenomenons. One of the most impressive was the Hamayuri ship. Hamayuri was Sightseeing ship which I had been on for sightseeing and took photo of it a few years ago before the tsunami when it was at the pier.


When the tsunami happened, the Hamayuri was swept away and came towards the land. After all the wave went away, the Hamayuri was stacked on top of a hotel building and has stayed in this position ever since. It's very miraculously. The Hamayuri showed us very big power of tsunami.

Soon, it became famous because it was in the newspaper.









After a while, local people began to clean up the rubbles, and they discussed whether to remove the Hamayuri or not. The discussion of this issue was expanded to scholars and to anyone else interested in the decision. Opinions between scholars and local people were divided.

Local people thought that the Hamayuri should be removed. They said it reminded them of the sad situation caused by the tsunami when they look at it. They also said they wanted to forget their sad memories as soon as possible.

On the other hand, the opinion of scholars was different. They argued that to save the Hamayuri is important for the future because after a long period of time, some people will forget the terrible nature of tsunamis. But if the Hamayuri remains in place, people will be able to remember the affects of tsunami.

They also mentioned there are some other world heritage sites remaining in memory of sad event. “Hiroshima Peace Memorial” is one good example the Hamayuri should also become a historic site too. Keeping the Hamayuri in place will remind people how strong the tsunami was and so in the future they will know how high the tsunami can reach.

I was very surprised and shocked when I actually saw the Hamayuri with my own eyes. I could imagine how strong the tsunami was.


Apr.2011 one month after the tsunami



In the end it was decided to remove and demolish the Hamayuri because the Ozuchi town office decided to clean up the area. In May 2011, the Hamayuri was removed. Now, only the hotel building remains. I think this decision was made too early. Temporarily local people might feel relieved but we must not forget the power of tsunami in the future. I think it was necessary to think about it in the long term.




Fukkatsu-no Maki...firewood for revival project

2013年08月20日 23:57

In Kirikiri, after March 11th great tsunami, about 300 people who had lost their homes were evacuated and relocated to the Kirikiri elementary school located on a hill. At first, they were worried about food and blankets, but as the days passed by they could get enough food from many other supporters.



Things had been getting better for them. Little by little various problems were solved. About a month later, it had become possible to use electricity but the biggest problem they faced was that of taking a bath, which was a necessity.

They began to make a simple bath with Drum cans by themselves. There was a lot of wood which could be used as fuel. They could get it broken homes. The bath was very small for them to enter.


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One of the supporters brought to everyone's attention especially the farmers who had big firewood boilers which they would use for agriculture. He and his companions remodeled the boiler into a new big bath which made the people very happy as they could enter the bath very easily.




This gave an unexpected effect to those who had evacuated. New jobs were born. They would pick up wood, cut and divided it. As a result, they had a lot of stock for the firewood which was used for the boiler. One day, one of the volunteers who came from Osaka, came up with a very good idea, he said "Why don't we sell these firewood to the wood stove users?"

Everyone agreed with this plan. They decided to sell and named it "Fukkatsu-no Maki" which means "firewood for revival". These people of this little town called Kirikiri had lost homes but also their main and only way of lively hood. They were all fisherman, but they could not go fishing. However they earned their new source of income by making this firewood.


This project attracted a lot of attention from the people of other towns. They volunteered to come to Kirikiri and help make some more firewood. This not only helped to create new jobs but also to sort out the garbage and clean the town. This project killed two birds with one stone. It gave them a new hope for a new beginning.

Fukkatsu-no Maki project CM


Special hometown Kirikiri

2013年08月08日 23:25

My hometown is Kirikiri, Ozuchi town, Iwate prefecture.

Ozuchi town is divided into several districts. Kirikiri is one of them. There are about 800 houses and 2,000 people live inside. This is quite small but very nice district. Kirikiri has a beautiful beach, very good seafood, and relaxing atmosphere. I love my hometown.


Kirikiri was known to many Japanese people in the 70's. The novel the title of which was "Kirikiri-Jin" was written by the famous novelist called "Hisashi Inoue". The story was about; The people who lived in this village declared independence from the Japanese government suddenly!

This village is situated in the country side of Japan, the people of this village did not like the sloppiness of the Japanese government, and therefore declared independence. The novel was very interesting and became very famous making this little village of Kirikiri very well known. I have heard from my parents that many tourist came especially to see this village.

Kirikiri was damaged by 3.11 great tsunami same as other seaside cities. It was a very hard situation, but the people were very brave and did not give up easily. They did their best, without the help of the Japanese government.





Even though the convenience-store was damaged, the manager would provide food for the people who had been evacuated. Although the shovels were damaged by the tsunami, the carpenters began to clear the roads with only one shovel and some other basics tools.

It was very unfortunate that both the gas stations were broken down, but it did not kill this one persons; courage to get the oil out from the underground tanks with a single hand pump made by himself. They used this oil to give warmth to the people in the shelter.

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Finally when the government people came to this little village after their help for the first time, they were amazed at all these activities. It was as if, the story in the novel had become a reality. Therefore this little Kirikiri who are very brave, very strong with a very sound mind to accept and face everything and anything happily attracted attention once again in the 70's.



There are many good communities post in other regions. I am very happy to be a very small part of the strong village of Kirikiri. At present I am living in Hong Kong with my family but I always carry these happy and special moment in my heart. I would always like to do something in any way I can for my this special hometown called Kirikiri.



津波被災地のリアル・岩手県大槌町吉里吉里レポート まとめ

My hometown Kirikiri, Ozuchi

2013年08月05日 23:09

My hometown is Kirikiri, Ozuchi, Iwate prefecture.

Ozuchi is known to many Japanese people because almost city area was broken by the Tsunami after the great earthquake on March 11th.


When I was in Japan, I had lived in Morioka City. Morioka is center of Iwate, if I go to Ozuchi, it takes 2 and half hours by car. I felt the distance between these two points are a little far. Sometimes I went to Ozuchi with my family to let my parents and my grandmother meet my children.

My children were looking forward to go to Ozuchi because my parents always bought some toys for them. Seeing my children's smiling face my parents were very happy. But after 3.11 great Tohoku earthquake, it was difficult to go to Ozuchi with my family.

When the earthquake happened, I was in the office. I had never experienced such a shake. It was very strong and long. The earthquake continued for more than three minutes. I have intuition that the tsunami is coming soon. Morioka does not have the sea, but my hometown Ozuchi is near the sea. I was worried about my parents and my grandmother, and their home.

I wanted to do something to help them, but I could not do anything because of the power failure. We stayed at my home 2 days, then I went to Ozuchi with my father. He was in Ofunato, he came to Morioka by his car 2 days ago. I screamed when I knew he was safe on the phone. As telephone line was still dead, we both decided to go to Ozuchi together to make sure the safety of my mother and grandmother.

Fortunately my parents home, my mother and my grandmother were safe! But I felt very sad to knew that a lot of things were lost and changed. After that I went to Ozuchi each weekend to help them.

Last May(2012) I came to Hong Kong, I can't go to Ozuchi. But now, I can know various infomations and news about Ozuchi. There are so many problems in there. I want many people to know what happen and keep noticing to Tsunami broken area.

I will go back to Japan at the end of August, and would like to know the latest situation. And then, when I come back to Hong Kong, I will transmit information with writing blog.

津波被災地のリアル・岩手県大槌町吉里吉里レポート まとめ