Great East Japan Earthquake commemoration events and fundraisers


NINE MONTHS LATER — This is the view of the Ishinomaki coastline from Kashimamiko Shrine, Dec. 20, 2011. Piles of debris surround the shipyard as people continue to recover from the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami and ongoing nuclear disaster. photo by Chad Uemura

Editor’s Note: This is not a comprehensive list.

Saturday, March 10
Tatsumaki Taiko will perform at Berkeley Bowl, at 920 Heinz Ave. in Berkeley, Calif., from 1 to 3 p.m. Info: (510) 548-3508.

Inori 311/Rise Japan presents “‘Akashi’: Candlelight Vigil Ceremony” from 8:30 to 10 p.m. at the Peace Plaza at Post and Buchanan streets in S.F.’s Japantown. The Japanese American Religious Federation will say a prayer, and observe a moment of silence at 9:46 p.m. (2:46 p.m. in Japan, the time on March 11, 2011, when the earthquake struck). Info: (415) 260-7910.

The San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival will commemorate the disaster — through music, dance and other live events — from noon to 5 p.m. at the Peace Plaza in S.F.’s Japantown, as well as hold the San Francisco Bay Area premiere of Oscar-nominated documentary short: “The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom.” Info:

The San Jose Remembrance Vigil will be held at 5 p.m. in front of Yu-Ai Kai Japanese American Community Senior Service, at 588 North Fourth St. in Japantown. Donations should be made out to the Japanese Community Congress of San Jose, with “Earthquake/Tsunami Relief” in the memo, and will be forwarded to the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco, and then sent to the Japanese Red Cross. Info:

Music at the Mission, a classical chamber music series and Design2Market, a Silicon Valley-based design firm, will co-produce “One Year After: A Benefit Concert for the Children of Tohoku, Japan” at the Old Mission San Jose, 43300 Mission Blvd., Fremont, Calif. Concert will raise funds for the “Smiles and Dreams: Tohoku Kids’ Support Project” and feature the Somei Yoshino Taiko Ensemble, the Music at the Mission Chamber Players and mixed media artist Kathy Fujii-Oka. Pre-event activities start at 6 p.m. and the concert at 7 p.m. Reception: at the Mission Coffee, 151 Washington Blvd. (across from the Mission), after the concert. Project serves youth who have lost their homes, schools and belongings. Tickets: $35 adults, $25 students and seniors and $5 for children under 12. Info: (408) 232-0440.

The Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles and the Japan Business Association of Southern California will host “Japan. Endless Discover” from noon to 8 p.m. at The Grove, 189 The Grove Drive, in Los Angeles. Booths will feature Japanese cutting edge technology, food, traditional culture, Hello Kitty, fashion and pop culture. Info: (213) 617-6700.

The “Sunset Vigil: Memorial of HOPE for Tohoku, Japan” will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Golden Gardens Park Beach, at 8498 Seaview Pl. Northwest Seattle, and include: a bonfire, a water blessing, silent prayers and taiko and flute music by Seattle Kokon Taiko. Info:

Saturday, March 10 (and through Sunday, April 15
The Fowler Museum at UCLA, at 308 Charles E. Young Drive North Los Angeles, presents the “ Moving Forward: Life after the Great East Japan Earthquake” exhibit. On Saturday, March 10, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. the museum will host a symposium. Presenters: Malka Older, specialist in disaster risk reduction and emergency preparedness, Save the Children; Hideya Terashima, editor, The Kahoku Shimpo; Masashige Motoe, associate professor, department of Architecture and Building Science, School of Engineering, Tohoku University; Toshio Hirano, deputy director, Overseas Program Department, JEN, a non-governmental organization; and Junko Mabuchi, Adventist Development and Relief Agency. Hitoshi Abe, director of the UCLA Paul I. and Hisako Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies and chair of UCLA Architecture and Urban Design, will serve as the moderator; Christopher Hawthorne, Los Angeles Times architecture critic, the discussant. Reception will follow. Museum opens at noon Wednesday through Sunday. It closes at 5 p.m. each day, except for Thursday, when it closes at 8 p.m. Admission is free. Info: (310) 825-4361,

Sunday, March 11

The S.F. Japantown community will hold “A Community Remembrance: Our Hearts to Japan” at the S.F. Japantown Peace Plaza at Post and Buchanan streets from 2 to 4 p.m., which will include: an update from the Tohoku region; an interfaith remembrance, performances by GenRyu Arts and Nihonmachi Little Friends’ After School Program. Consul General of Japan in San Francisco Hiroshi Inomata and San Francisco officials will speak. NBC Bay Area reporter George Kiriyama will emcee the event. A moment of silence will be held at 2:46 p.m. Info: (415) 567-5505.

Omotosenke Domonkai will perform a tea ceremony from noon to 4 p.m. on the second floor of the Kinokuniya Building, 1581 Webster St. in S.F.’s Japantown. Info: (415) 731-0622.

People with Disabilities will play the piano from noon to 1 p.m. at the Peace Plaza in S.F.’s Japantown. Magic Makers, and Masayuki Koga on the shakuhachi, will join them. Info: (916) 933-6054.

Aoi Yamaguchi of the Inori 311/ Rise Japan will give a calligraphy demonstration from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Peace Plaza in S.F.’s Japantown. Info: (415) 260-7910.

The ABC Preschool will hold a charity concert, bake and craft sale from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Pine United Methodist Church, at 426 33rd Ave. (at the ABC Preschool Hall, B1F) in San Francisco. Doors open at 1:45 p.m. Concert begins at 2 p.m. Benefits the Ashinaga scholarship fund and Takata Child Care Center in Rikuzentakata city. Info: (415) 387-9111.

Tears of the Earth: Memorial Concert and Photo Exhibit for the Great East Japan Earthquake,” will be held at 1 p.m. at Herbst Theatre, at 401 Van Ness Ave., S.F. Benefits the Japan Recovery Project. Performers: Alexander Barantschik, Shoko Hikage and Brenda Wong Aoki and others. Tickets: $35 adult, $20 student at door, or $30 adult, $15 student: (415) 392-4400.

The Oakland Fukuoka Sister City Association’s 50th anniversary fundraiser, “Sushi, Sake & More! Japanese Food Festival & Silent Auction,” will take place at the Sequoyah Country Club, 4550 Heafey Road, Oakland, Calif. from 5 to 7:30 p.m. A portion of the profits will be donated to relief efforts. Highlights: food and beverage stations. Toshi, a recognized international cosmetology authority, will present a “Nippon-esque” inspired makeover. Saki Kono and Ayako Tanaka will provide entertainment. Dress code is “resort casual,” no denim. Cost: $50 per person ($60 at the door). Info: (510) 482-5896.

Ai Love Japan is searching for restaurants and stores to participate in a nationwide fundraising campaign, “Eat Drink Shop Play for Japan.” Merchants are being asked to donate 11 percent of their sales on March 11 to help the people in northern Japan. Ai Love Japan aims to document the stories of the survivors and to provide direct aid to the people in the hardest hit areas of Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures.

Run for Japan 2012, a 3.5 kilometer Fun Walk or 8 kilometer Fun Run, will take place at Shoreline Park in Mountain View, Calif. at 8:30 a.m. Proceeds will be used to purchase and deliver equipment for primary grade schools in areas devastated by the earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan. Registrations will be accepted (as available) Saturday, March 10 at Sports Basement, at 1177 Kern Ave. in Sunnyvale, Calif., as spots are available. (408) 732-0300. Info/register (including cost).

A gathering to commemorate the March 11, 2011 disaster in northern Japan will take place at the Strawberry Park Shopping Center, at the corner of Moorpark Ave. and Saratoga Ave. (just off I-280) in San Jose. Event includes: traditional martial art demonstrations and music and cultural exhibitions from noon until 4 p.m. The “Tranquility Garden” will be dedicated. Attendees will observe a moment of silence at 2:46 p.m. The rock garden will serve as a memorial and commemorate the goodwill and friendship of Americans. Info: (408) 418-3535,

The Japan America Society of Southern California and the Love to Nippon Project will co-present the “LOVE TO NIPPON 2012 – 3.11 Memorial Event – Lessons learned from the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami” at the Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters’ Ronald F. Deaton Civic Auditorium, at 100 West First St. in Los Angeles. Participants can give offerings of flowers or incense from 2:30 p.m. Program begins at 3:30 p.m. Highlights: tribute by the Asia America Youth Orchestra String Quartet and a panel discussion by Southern Californians who volunteered after the disasters. Info: (213) 627-6217,

The coalition and the Consulate General of Japan in Seattle will hold “A Day of Remembrance, A Day of Preparedness, A Day of Rebuilding” beginning at 10 a.m. at the Seattle Center Fisher Pavilion, 305 Harrison St., Seattle. Opening ceremony, exhibits, presentations and films will be followed by a memorial ceremony at 2 p.m. with the ringing of the Kobe Bell and a moment of silence at 2:46 p.m. Info: (206) 682-9107.

Wings for Hope: Tomodachi Through Music,” a benefit concert for Japan, will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Benaroya Hall, at 200 University St. in Seattle. Performers: Ko-ichiro Yamamoto (principal trombone, Seattle Symphony), Eric Miyashiro (trumpet), Toshiko Akiyoshi (jazz composer and pianist), Lew Tabackin (flute, tenor saxophone), Timothy Salzman (UW Wind Ensemble conductor) and the Winds For Hope Jazz Orchestra. Proceeds will be used to replace musical instruments the Japanese students lost in the disaster. Tickets (depend on seat): (206) 215-4747.

SHINSAI Theaters for Japan will hold a presentation at the La MaMa Rehearsal Studio, at 47 Great Jones St. (between Lafayette and Bowery) in New York, NY at 2:30 p.m. Theaters nationwide will present works by major American and Japanese theater artists. The Japan Playwrights Association will disperse the proceeds to the Japanese theater community affected by the disaster. Kurotama Kikaku will give a reading of original Japanese scripts by Yoji Sakate, Toshiki Okada, Toshiro Suzue and more. Suggested donation: $10. RSVP: Info:

Sunday, March 11 (and through Sunday, May 27)

The Japan Society, at 333 East 47th St. New York, NY will hold a variety of events (1155 “Children’s Artwork from Tohoku” will be on display from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (admission’s free); youth may design and create “HappyDolls for Tohoku” from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Dolls will be sent to youth in Tohoku. Pre-register: (212) 715-1275; “Can You See Our Lights?” (2011, 48 min.) will be screened at 2:30 p.m. in Japanese (English subtitles). The NHK WORLD-produced film shows the community in Rikuzen-Takada, Soma and Minami-Soma forging ahead after the disasters, to hold the summer festivals, which serve as memorial services for the souls of the departed. A moment of silence will be observed at 2:46 p.m., following remarks by Ambassador Shigeyuki Hiroki and Consul General of Japan in New York, at 2:30 p.m. Tickets will be distributed at 12:30 p.m. on March 11; “Pray for Japan” (2011, 85 min.) will be screened at 4 p.m. in Japanese (with English subtitles.) There will be a Q-and-A-format session with director Stu Levy. Levy – an American living in Japan – filmed the aftermath during his trips to Tohoku as a volunteer. Tickets: $7/$5 Japan Society members, seniors and students; “The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom,” by Lucy Walker incorporates, footage from observers, survivors and victims the film, which depicts the true power of nature and the true resilience of humanity. It will be screened at 6:30 p.m. Tickets: $7/$5 Japan Society members, seniors and students; “Memory: Things We Should Never Forget,” an exhibition of 47 photos taken in the Tohoku region, will be on display through Sunday, May 27. Admission is free; the “Tohoku Post 3.11: What’s Happening Now” conference will take place Tuesday, March 13 at 6:30 p.m., and feature three nonprofit organization leaders: Hitoshi Abe, co-founder of Archi+Aid and chair and professor, architecture and urban design, UCLA; Keiko Kiyama, secretary general of Japan Emergency NGO; and Haruo Miyagi, founder and president, Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities, will speak on the challenges they face and the future of Tohoku. Ken Belson, business reporter, The New York Times, will moderate the reception. Followed by a reception. Tickets: $12/$8 Japan Society members, seniors and students; The one-hour “Teaching About March 11 and Japan’s Recovery” webinar will be held Tuesday, March 20 at 7 p.m., and provide insight into the disaster and recovery efforts, and ideas for teaching about these disasters. Panelists: Robert Fish, Japan Society and Kerianne Panos, president of MCML Consulting. Event is free. Register: Info: (416) 585-3748.

Wednesday, March 14

“Pray for Japan” will be screened throughout the U.S., in Canada and London, with the proceeds going to JEN, a non-governmental organization. Director Stu Levy — an American living in Japan — filmed the aftermath during his trips to Tohoku. Info (including on screenings):

Saturday, March 17
The San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin, Noriko Takeda-Rovner, Kree_Ayt {cre.ate} and the Japantown Business Association will hold the first Zumba Party for Japan from 7 to 9 p.m. at the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin’s gymnasium, at 640 North 5th St., San Jose’s Japantown. Nathan Blake, master class teacher at Zumba Conventions and local Zumba and VivAsia instructors, will lead an evening of dance fitness. Net proceeds will go directly to the ongoing relief efforts. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets: $20 cash only or $20 online pre-sale (fees apply); $30 cash only, at the door; Info:

Saturday, March 24

The Chicago Botanic will host “Resilience: Lessons from Japan” from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, Ill. Program will discuss how Japan’s traditions, teachings and cultural arts can “strengthen the human spirit.” Highlights: dance, taiko and garden-inspired lectures. Presenters: Fujima Shunojo, founder and master teacher of Fujima Ryu of Chicago, Tatsu Aoki, artistic director and executive producer of Tsukasa Taiko, Calvin Manshio, attorney and principal of Manshio Law Firm, P.C., Dennis Makishima, master bonsai and tree pruner, wellness consultant and Chicago Botanic Garden volunteer Donna Kobayashi. Register for the free program: Parking: $20 for non-members. Info: (847) 835-5440.

Through Sunday, March 25

Transformer, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit and DanDans, a Tokyo-based artist collective, present “2:46 and thereafter,” an exhibition (Pepco Edison Place Art Gallery, at 701 Ninth St., NW, Washington, D.C) that highlights 18 emerging Japanese artists’ responses to the disasters. Closing reception includes a performance by On Megumi Akiyoshi, and will take place Saturday, March 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. Gallery’s hours: Tuesday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m., Thursdays, noon to 7 p.m., Saturday, March 10, 17 and 24, noon to 4 p.m. and Sunday, March 25, noon to 4 p.m. Info: (202) 483-1102 or

Tuesday, March 27

Shige Higashi, publisher of Cultural News will be featured at the Nibei Foundation’s Japan Study Club’s “Tohoku Report: People and Lives in One Year after the Disaster,” at the Terasaki Foundation Laboratory Building, 11570 West Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles at 7:30 p.m. Reception and dinner will start at 6:30 p.m. Admission includes dinner; costs $10 per person. RSVP by Friday, March 23; or (310) 479-6101 ext. 134.


2 responses to “Great East Japan Earthquake commemoration events and fundraisers”

  1. […] a comprehensive list of events from Great East Japan earthquake commemorations and fundraisers. Filed under: Natural Disasters, San Francisco Tagged: japan earthquake, Japan tsunami […]

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  2. Katie KopeikinKatielovestick Avatar
    Katie KopeikinKatielovestick

    Hi I am one of the Magic Makers and I sing back up look out for me on this Sunday if u go to Japantown in the city SF at 12:00 noon to 1:00pm in the peace plaza outside. Katie K 🙂

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