April 25, 2011

Update from Japan

For those of you who have been following the Burke Museum’s blog and news for a while, you are probably aware of how the museum led a cultural exchange last year between six local Native American tribes and the Ainu Association of Hokkaido. Members of the Burke community were devastated to learn of the damage inflicted by last month’s earthquakes in Japan. Fortunately everyone in the Ainu community is fine and we’d like to give our readers an update on how they are doing in the wake of the earthquakes.

Our friends at the Ainu Association of Hokkaido have reported that the March 11th earthquake and tsunami had little effect on their area, especially inland by Sapporo. The Ainu Association has found that the disaster damaged local fishing and packaging industries, but there are no specific estimates and it is not as severe as in other areas of Japan.

"As a Japanese citizen, this is a national issue," said Tatsuya Kawakami, who works at the Ainu Association of Hokkaido. "Personally, I've had no trouble in my life [because of the tsunami], and because Hokkaido and Tohoku are next to each other, I feel responsible in helping in whatever way I can."

The Tohoku region, where the earthquake happened, suffered the most damage; people lost family, and people don't have enough food to eat, said Kawakami.

Map courtesy of Web Japan

"Any help, of any kind, would be great," said Kawakami. "It's up to you, it can be anything."

The people of Japan have experienced unfathomable trials and tribulations over the past month, but their strength and resiliency has been an inspiration to us all. If you would like to help with the Japan earthquake recovery efforts, please contact the American Red Cross or another accredited 501(c)(3) nonprofit for more information.


For those interested in learning more about earthquakes and their impacts on the Pacific Northwest, click here.