Events Commemorating the Fifth Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake

In observation of the fifth year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, USJC is holding and supporting several events to commemorate how much progress has been made and to assess what is still left to be done. Events are being held all over the United States and Japan. To learn more, find an event in your region below and click the link to learn more. 


Event List


"Share your message
       – Five Years after the Great East Japan Earthquake"

When: February 12 - March 11, 2016
Where: Online

TOMODACHI launched a social media campaign to encourage individuals to send photos with messages to the people of Tohoku, and to receive messages from the people of Tohoku in return. Everyone was encouraged to Tweet or Instagram their message of support by using #TOMO311 or emailing the photo to

Check out what others have posted on Instagram and Twitter on our Storify Page

**Note: This campaign was organized by USJC and the TOMODACHI Initiative.
For more information, please see this webpage.


Global Giving Campaign to support NPOs active in Tohoku

When: Ongoing
Where: Online

Global Giving has created a portal to list all of the groups they support that are still active in Tohoku. In addition, Global Giving will have a matching campaign that will start on Thursday, 3/10 10am EST and last until funds run out. Global Giving will match all donations at 50%.

**Note: The President and Founder of Global Giving, Ms. Mari Kuraishi, is a USJC Council Leader.
For more information, please see this webpage.


TOMODACHI 5th Anniversary Commemoration (By invitation)

When: March 4, 2016
Where: Tokyo, Japan

To commemorate the fifth anniversary of the 3.11 tragedy, to recognize the supporters of the TOMODACHI Initiative and their contributions to the next generation leaders, and to look forward, the TOMODACHI Initiative held a reception for key stakeholders and youth from the region. Senior Embassy and Japanese government officials participated.

**Note: This is a USJC-organized event.
For more information, please write to


TOMODACHI Global Leadership Academy Luncheon & Presentations (By invitation)

When: March 6, 2016
Where: Tokyo, Japan

To mark the completion of the two-day TOMODACHI Global Leadership Academy involving Tohoku high school alumni & university mentors drawn from TOMODACHI programs, a luncheon with student presentations was held. Students shared reflections on the past five years since the disaster, and looking ahead to the next five years to set a forward-looking agenda and personal goals.

**Note:  This is a USJC-organized event.
For more information, please write to 


The United States and Japan:  Reassessing 3-11 (By invitation)

When: March 8, 2016
Where: Washington, DC

To commemorate the fifth anniversary of the March 11 (“3-11”), 2011 “Triple Disaster” in Northeast Japan by holding a substantive, public discussion on the disaster and the joint response to it, Sasakawa USA held a one-day conference on March 8, 2016.  This conference included panel discussions with American and Japanese experts and officials, with an emphasis on presenting analysis of the actual events on 3-11 and Operation Tomodachi.

To view the Conference, please see the livecast footage.

** Note:  USJC is a co-sponsor of the event.  Speakers include TOMODACHI founder, John Roos & USJC staff member, Suzanne Basalla.
For more information, please see this webpage.


3.11 Five Year Anniversary Commemoration & Panel on Resilience

When: March 10, 2016
Where: Seattle, WA

The leadership non-profit iLEAP and the U.S.-Japan Council regional members partnered with the Nisei Veteran's Committee (NVC) Foundation for an event that marked the 5 year anniversary of the triple-disaster and memorialized the resilience of both the Japanese people of Tohoku and the Japanese American war veterans of World War II. The event featured young leaders from Japan who spoke about their vision of the future and Japanese Americans who were intimately connected to the events surrounding World War II. The event was held at the NVC Museum in Seattle, Washington. 

** Note: The President and Founder of iLEAP, Dr. Britt Yamamoto, is a USJC Council Leader & the participating Japanese youth are TOMODACHI participants on a leadership program in Seattle funded by TOMODACHI.
Please RSVP to


Lighting of Bamboo Lanterns (By invitation)

When: March 11, 2016
Where: Yamamotocho, Tohoku, Japan

First Lady Akie Abe participated in a bamboo lighting project in the Tohoku region to mark the solemn anniversary.  At her request, TOMODACHI alumni helped make the lanterns & some joined her in the lighting ceremony.

**Note:  USJC is supporting First Lady Abe and the organizers she is working with in the region.


The Role of JET Alumni in U.S.-Japan Cooperation (By invitation)

When: March 11, 2016
Where: Washington, DC

Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA and the JET Alumni Association of Washington, DC are proud to haved host Matthew Fuller, JET alumnus and former special assistant to Ambassador John V. Roos during 3/11, for a conversation moderated by Dr. Sheila Smith on the role of JET alumni in U.S.-Japan cooperation. This event featured Wesley Julian and his film Tohoku Tomo, a documentary about the story of friendship and commitment to Japan's recovery by the international community following the disaster.

** Note:  This is not a USJC event, but Matt Fuller is one of the founders of TOMODACHI and we’re very proud to see him featured in this event. 
For more information, please see this webpage.


Tohoku Today: A Celebration of Japan’s Food, Culture & Recovery After 3/11/2011

When: March 11, 2016
Where: Denver, CO

The Sakura Foundation and community partners presented an event with survivors and relief organizations in Tohoku, who shared inspiring stories of progress and resilience on the fifth anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the region on March 11, 2011. Mio Yamamoto, Managing Director of WIT World in Tohoku, shared stories of recovery from the people of Tohoku working to rebuild their communities. Attendees heard the story of the Nozomi Project, which crafts jewelry from the broken shards of pottery left in the wake of the tsunami. Sushi and the cuisine of Tohoku, prepared by Jun Nakajima, The Sushi Man, were also be available. RSVP by March 1st.

** Note:  Mio Yamamoto is a USJC Associate and we are proud to see her featured in this event. 
For more information, please see this webpage.


5th Anniversary Commemoration for Tohoku: Tohoku, 5 Years After

When: March 23, 2016
Where: Boston, MA

Four expert panelists will provide an update on the situation in Tohoku over the past five years.  Speakers include Mayor Toda of Ofunato.  The panel will be followed by a musical tribute by Japanese students from Fukushima currently studying on the TOMODACHI Suntory Music Scholarship Fund at the Berklee College of Music.

** Note:  This is a U.S.-Japan Council event, organized by Board Member Atsuko Fish in cooperation with the Fish Family Foundation.  USJC staff member, Laura Abbot, will participate on the panel, and the musical tribute will be performed by TOMODACHI participants.
For more information, please see this flier. To register, please click here.


Fukushima Youth Symphony in Boston 

When: April 3, 2016
Where: Boston, MA

To commemorate the 5th Anniversary of the Tohoku disaster, the Fukushima Youth Sinfonietta will travel to Boston to perform at the city’s Symphony Hall. The orchestra was created by students of Fukushima high schools who found music to be an essential vehicle for recovery in the immediate aftermath of 3/11. The students performed at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall in 2014 and gave a performance at the Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall in August 2015 which was attended by the Empress.

** Note:  The organizer for this event, Mr. Peter Grilli, is a USJC Friend of the Council.  TOMODACHI and the U.S. Embassy are both contributing funds to this program, which includes a series of exchanges for the Fukushima youth in Boston from March 24-April 4.
For more information, please see this webpage.