Thursday, June 23, 2011

Collection of photo magazines at Toronto's Japan Foundation capture the Tohoku Earthquake

by Chris MaGee

It's summer time. The weather is nice, the days are long and if you live in North America you have a wealth of film fests across the continent that are showcasing Japanese film. It's a good, but we can't forget about the over 15,000 people killed, the the over 5,000 injured and the nearly 8,000 people who are still missing after the March 11th Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. We also can't forget about the continuing struggle to get the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant's malfunctioning reactors under control.

I was reminded of this recently when I visited the Toronto branch office of the Japan Foundation. Programming Director Toshi Aoyagi took me aside and asked "Do you have a bit of extra time. There's something I want you to see." I said I did and he took me into the board room where he had a collection of photo magazines recently published in Japan. All of them were dedicated to capturing the destruction of March 11th, 2011. Yes, we have seen the news reports where trucks are dwarfed and out-run by the awesome power of the tsunami. We've seen boats and houses being washed down stream by the punishing surf. We've also seen power plants in Chiba bursting into flames. Most of these images and videos were taken from the air though, by helicopter crews far from immediate danger. The new collection of photo magazines that Aoyagi-san has collected at the Japan Foundation Toronto Library show a whole new face of this historic event. The images left me speechless.

So, at some point during the long, hot, fun-filled days of summer here in Toronto make sure to visit the Japan Foundation Library located at 131 Bloor Street West, Suite 213 to remind yourself how lucky we are that we can enjoy our city and Japanese films while so many continue to struggle to overcome this tragedy. Click here for the hours of operation for the Japan Foundation Library.

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