“Updates from Tohoku” Event in Boston Draws Big Crowd

The US-Japan Council’s New England Members commemorated the Great East Japan Earthquake with an inspiring night of “Updates from Tohoku & A Night of Remembrance: A Journey to a New Life,” on March 31. Hosted by the Fish Family Foundation, where Member of the USJC Board of Directors Atsuko Fish serves as a Trustee, the evening’s program offered reflection, insights and inspiration to a packed house at Boston’s Berklee College of Music.

USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye opened the program with an explanation of USJC’s work to support Tohoku, and an update on her participation in the recent 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan. Consul General of Boston Tsutomu Himeno offered warm greetings, with a moving reminder of the losses suffered on March 11, 2011.

Shun Kanda sharing his plan for rebuilding Tohoku

The program continued with three Tohoku updates. Council Member Shun Kanda, Director of the MIT Japan 3/11 Initiative, offered his vision for an innovative rebuilding plan that would better serve the community’s needs based on his deep engagement in the Minamisanriku community.

Council Member Anne Nishimura Morse, William and Helen Pounds Senior Curator of Japanese Art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, provided fascinating insights into artistic responses to March 11th through work she collected and curated at the museum’s new exhibit, “In the Wake: Japanese Photographers Respond to 3/11.”

USJC Friend of the Council, Megumi Ishimoto, next inspired the audience with an update on the work that the NPO she founded, Women’s Eye, has accomplished to support women in Tohoku, especially those in temporary housing. Megumi credited both the TOMODACHI NGO Leadership Program supported by J.P. Morgan, as well as the Japan Women’s Leadership Initiative supported by the Fish Family Foundation, for providing the resources to expand her NPO’s work within the community, and to launch an International Grassroots Women’s Academy in Tohoku.

Consul General Himeno & Shun Kanda

Consul General Himeno & Shun Kanda

Upcoming event for the 4th anniversary of 3.11

Today we mark the fourth anniversary of the 3.11 disaster.  To commemorate this milestone, we invite those local to Boston to attend:


Updates from Tohoku & A Night of Remembrance

Tuesday March 31, 2015
6pm – 8pm
The Red Room at Cafe 939

Berklee College of Music
939 Boylston Street, Boston

Free and open to the public
Register at Eventbrite.

“Updates from Tohoku, a journey to new life,” is a commemoration of the fourth anniversary of 3.11, the disaster that occurred on March 11, 2011 in the Tohoku region of Japan and affected nearly 500,000 people.

The event highlights individuals and projects working in northeastern Japan since 3.11, including our own Shun Kanda in a talk titled “Beyond 2020_nx: A Vision for the Next Generation.”  He is joined by Anne Nishimura Morse, curator of Japanese art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Megumi Ishimoto, founder and executive director of the NPO Women’s Eye.  There will also be performances by Berklee student recipients of the TOMODACHI Suntory music scholarship.

Hosted by the Consulate-General of Japan in Boston, Berklee College of Music, Fish Family Foundation, Japan Society of Boston, and the U.S.-Japan Council/TOMODACHI Initiative

“MIT Perspectives on 3.11″ Symposium online

On March 25th, MIT Professors Joseph Sussman, James Wescoat, and Richard Samuels spoke at the “MIT Perspectives on 3.11″ Symposium hosted by the University of Tokyo.  The event was chaired by Architecture Professor Toshio Otsuki and the discussant was Urban Engineering Professor Takashi Onishi, both of the University of Tokyo.

Below you will find the audio recording of the symposium, focusing on the professors’ research and findings in fields from civil engineering and systems research to landscape architecture to political science.  The latter portion of the event, a discussion with Professor Onishi, will be posted soon.

BEYOND_3.11 @ Gallery A4


The Work of MIT Japan 3.11 Initiative 2011-2012
an Exhibit at Gallery A4 TOKYO
February 2013

Visitors to the exhibit listen to Goto Kazuma, one of the residents of Minamisanriku, tell the story of his experience during and after the earthquake tsunami.

 Take a virtual tour of the exhibit :

For more information, read the introduction to the BEYOND 3.11 exhibit, in English.

Shun Kanda and Matthew Bunza speak at Columbia University / Barnard College in New York

On the 2nd anniversary of the Great Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, MIT Japan 3.11 Initiative director Shun Kanda, along with Matthew Bunza (Lecturer in Architecture at MIT) took part in a symposium at Columbia University / Barnard College entitled, “The Great East Japan Earthquake: Creative Responses & Social Imagination.”

Great East Japan Earthquake March 10, 2013 Symposium, Part 2 of 8 – Matthew Bunza & Shun Kanda (MIT) – YouTube

Alongside other speakers such as Chim↑Pom, Jake Price, Shimpei Takeda, Yuhei Suzuki, Alisa Prager, Kirsten Homma, Susan J. Onuma, Dr. Robert Yanagisawa, and Dr. Shunichi Homma; the symposium highlighting the diverse ongoing efforts of the respective speakers, asked questions about role of creative response, and reminded us all of the enormity of the work still left to be done in Tohoku.

Special thanks to Daiyu Suzuki, Nat Andreini, and the Consortium for Japan Relief for making the event possible.

More info can be found at:

About the Symposium | NYJAPAN311 | Consortium for Japan Relief

Event at MIT: BEYOND 3.11 on Thursday 3/14 at 6pm

Please join MIT graduate and undergraduate students and the Japanese Society of Undergraduates (JSU) for a talk and reception at MIT to hear updates from Tohoku as we observe the 2nd anniversary of the 2010 earthquake and tsunami.

When: 6:00 pm on Thursday, March 14, 2013
Where: MIT Student Center Room 407 (Building W20)
Open to the general public 
RSVP: Link (http://goo.gl/DeTUJ) or Facebook page
(Space is limited, so please RSVP) 


  • Richard J. Samuels, Ford International Professor of Political Science; Director of the Center for International Studies, MIT
  • Shun Kanda, Senior Lecturer, Department of Architecture; Director, MIT Japan 3.11 Initiative
  • Mio Yamamoto, Co-Founder and Director of World in Asia; Class of 2013, MIT Sloan School of Management

“Using 3.11 for Policy Change” by Richard J. Samuels

Japanese political entrepreneurs used the catastrophe in Tohoku to nudge national policy in their preferred direction by constructing narratives and assigning blame for 3.11.   Battles among competing perspectives on change and contested appeals to leadership, community, and risk have defined post-3.11 politics and public policy in Japan, particularly in the areas of national security, energy policy, and local governance.

“BEYOND 3.11″ by Shun Kanda

3 INSIGHTs_Toward Disaster-Resilient & Sustainable Futures for Minamisanriku; a report on the on-going work by the US and Japan-based MIT 3.11 Initiative team as we apprise our assistance continuing into the third year of recovery in Tohoku.

“Social Innovation from Tohoku” by Mio Yamamoto

How social entrepreneurs are addressing pressing social problems such as education, job creation, healthcare in Touhoku in collaboration with the private and public sectors. 

For more information, contact: Mio Yamamoto, mioy AT mit DOT edu 

‘Power of People’ looks to Minami-Sanriku’s future

Shun Kanda recently gave a lecture at MIT to a group of students from Tohoku entitled “Power of Place, of People, as One.”  He showcased the recently completed Garden Pavilione in Baba-Nakayama and the community-driven initiatives that have developed in the wake of 3/11.  Also featured were creative ideas and new typologies for the future of coastal towns in Tohoku as they move to higher ground.

The students are all survivors of the 3/11 disaster who have joined the non-profit organization, Beyond Tomorrow.  They are visiting the US to obtain first-hand accounts from leaders in New Orleans, New York, and Washington D.C.  Their Boston visit was sponsored by the Fish Family Foundation.

A similar lecture was also given at University of Tokyo on July 29th, at the start of the Japan 3/11 Design Workshop.