Five years have passed since the Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Disaster.

Eastern Japan was struck by a huge earthquake and tsunami, which left more than twenty thousand people dead or missing on 11 March 2011.  We can never forget the image we saw on television that day of the black wall-like tsunami rushing over the Sendai Plan at tremendous speed. The image of many fishermen bravely heading out to sea in order to safeguard their vessels is also etched deeply in our minds.

The nuclear power plant accident, which followed the earthquake and tsunami, has forced many people to leave the places where they used to live because of radioactive contamination. Efforts are being made to improve the situation, but our hearts ache to think of the people who are even now unable to go back to their own homes.

The Japanese community (Japan Club of Sydney) organised to have a special commemorative ceremony as part of the “Rainbow Project” on 11 March at St Mathews Church in Manly where over two hundred people gathered.

 

After a special violin recital by Ayako Ishikawa, Rev Watanabe delivered a message and chanted a sutra. Then he lead a minute’s silence at 4:46pm (2:46pm Japan time) sharp, the exact moment the 9.0 magnitude undersea earthquake hit.

During the ceremony, we all extended our deepest sympathy to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami, and we sent our thoughts to Japan where people are still struggling with issues around nuclear radiation.

This ceremony was followed by speeches made by Mr Kim Reeson, leader of the rescue team in 2011, students from Fukushima, Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard (video), Senator Scott Ludlam, Mr Andrew Vickers of CFMEU, etc. There were also some visual presentation and performances, such as Japanese dance, calligraphy, choir, and Taiko (drum).

 

At HBMA, we observed the Fifth Year Memorial Service of Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on Sunday 13 March and once again we thought about Japan.

 

More than 750 years ago, Shinran Shonin said, “May peace and tranquility prevail throughout the world”.

In accordance with his wishes, let us hope that people of the area affected by this earthquake will keep their strong wish to live, and re-establish their hometowns. And may we all continue to remember the pain and sorrow of all the victims.

Namo Amida Butsu

In Gassho,

Shigenobu Watanabe

Hongwanji Buddhist Mission of Australia,(Sydney)