When the tsunami hit on the day of 3.11, in 2011, she grabbed an emergency backpack and ran to a hillock with her younger sister, and they escaped. The tsunami went over the sea wall and completely destroyed her house. Taro was filled with ruins. The death toll in the town rose to around 200.
Thirty-four years ago, she made the picture story cards titled Tsunami for the first time – in order to educate her grandchildren (whose family had moved to the coast) to seek higher ground in the event of an earthquake. Since then, she has continued storytelling to local children and students on school field trips on a freewill basis. Finding that many children had evacuated to hills and survived the earthquake, she heaved a sigh of relief.
At the root of her storytelling activities is the influence of her grandfather. He was one of the survivors of the tsunami in the Meiji era in which 80% of the townspeople were killed, (Meiji Sanriku Earthquake 1896.6.15). At the fireplace, she had been taught the inochi tendenko every evening.
She never dreamed that, like her grandfather, she would suffer from a tsunami twice in her lifetime. After this disaster, she stayed with her oldest son’s family living in Aomori City. Surprisingly, the Tsunami had been lent to the Board of Education just before the tsunami, so that it was returned safely. Believing that it was her mission to hand down the story to children as long as she was being asked, she continued to be active early on in various locations around Aomori City. Presently, she is devoting herself to finishing her new picture story, titled Tsunami Futatabi (Tsunami Again).

Yoshi Tabata

Born in Taro, Miyako City, in 1925. Built a family with her fisherman husband. They also ran a guest house for tourists. Received recognition of her contributions on the seashore from the National Association of the Seashore in 2006. In 2011, the Tsunami Chinkon no Uta (Tsunami Requiem) she wrote was set to music and performed by Sasurai Maker and adapted for a CD. Also, her Tsunami was published with the title, “Grandma’s Picture Story Tsunami,” from the Sankei Shinbun Publication.
Cooperation: Mr. Teruo Kon, Mr. Motoshi Takahashi, Mr. Takumi Takahashi

This is the ending scene of the picture story show. The girl, Yocchan is waching her
heavily wounded mother being carried to the hospital.

This article has been originally appeared in “Shinsei” magazine,
march 2013 issue, published by RINRI Institue of Ethics. Partially rewritten to
update for this internet relaesing.

Spirit and Spine

created by

project direction
Gaku Okubo (ISUKE INC.)
Yoshitomo Tanaka (Vivot)
site design
title calligraphy
Kenryo Hara (Kikkokai)