On March 11, 2011, Ninomiya survived the Great East Japan Earthquake. She was at a rehabilitation center that she attended regularly. She was not injured, and her home was not damaged. But Kattobi Wide!, a popular program on Radio Fukushima that she had appeared on as guest every Monday since 1995, stopped airing. Immediately after the earthquake struck, a live special program on the disaster began airing and continued for 350 hours and 14 minutes.


While the power was out, Ninomiya continued to be distressed by the information on the disaster she heard on the radio, particularly concerning the nuclear disaster at a power plant, a terrible situation for the people of Fukushima Prefecture. She wondered if she could be of any use. But when she visited an evacuation center, women rushed over to her in tears and embraced her. "Chie chan!" they exclaimed. Kattobi Wide! was back on the air the following month.


Her witty dialog with Tatsuya Kagamida, the main radio personality for the program, relaxes listeners. The main segment of the program is “Chie-chan’s Diary.” Chie, in Fukushima dialect, modestly shares with the listeners what made her happy that day. Her path to being chosen as the host for the program began when she formed a chindonya (traditional street performance) group, with her friends while in her 60s. The name of the group was Happy Kai (happy group). It began when her volunteer activity aimed to energize the community was covered by the media.


She endured economic hardships as a child, and while her business had been a success, she had a difficult marriage. She says that what has always been on her side, in the past as well as in the present, has been “otentosama” (the sun). The sun rises and a new day begins. Tomorrow will come and so will the day after tomorrow. It is an optimistic state of mind she has arrived at after overcoming many hardships.


Chie Ninomiya

Chie Ninomiya was born in 1927 as the eldest daughter of a silk-raising farmer in Fukushima City. In 2014 she received the Radio Fukushima Award for Cultural Merit. She wrote the book “Tomorrow will Come and So will the Day after Tomorrow!: an 84 year-old Radio Personality” (Eastpress).

Cooperation: Radio Fukushima

Translation: Media Research, Inc.

Spirit and Spine

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