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Community Screens Tohoku Documentary

By Maiya Gessling
The North American Post

From left, Elaine Ikoma Ko, Diane Fukami, Debra Nakatomi and Dale Kaku at the film event on Oct. 31. Photo by Maiya Gessling/The North American Post

“Stories from Tohoku,” a documentary examining “stories of inner strength and resilience, grace and acceptance, differences between East and West, and the enduring bonds between the people of Japan and Americans of Japanese ancestry” in the face of Japan’s recovery and rebuilding following the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster was screened at the NVC Memorial Hall on Oct. 31 to an audience of almost 100 people.
Produced by Dianne Fukami and Debra Nakatomi of San Francisco and Los Angeles, the touching movie follows the individual stories of restaurant owners, parents and single adults, many of whom still, more than three years later, are utterly uncertain about their future.
Originally intended to show how funding raised by Japanese American non-profit organizations in the United States was helping Tohoku survivors, the film quickly became about the people of Tohoku themselves, instead; as the filmmakers realized how few of their stories had been told and how much is left to be rebuilt, even as the tragedy fades from popular memory.
Fukami and Nakatomi also screened a four-minute trailer of their next documentary, a feature on Secretary of Transporation Norman Mineta.
More information can be found at www.storiesfromtohoku.com

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The North American Post is a community newspaper that celebrates Japanese culture in the Greater Seattle area. Founded by 1st generation Japanese-Americans in 1902, the publication is one of the oldest minority-owned newspapers in the region. Today, with bilingual articles in English and Japanese, the publication connects readers with diverse cultural backgrounds to Seattle’s Japanese community. Our articles include local news, event calendars, restaurant reviews, Japanese cooking recipes, community interviews, and more.