SAN FRANCISCO — One year after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco held a memorial reception on the afternoon of March 13 to remember the victims of the disaster, to thank the people of California and the U.S. for their boundless support and encouragement, and to provide an update on Japan’s recovery.
The reception was held at the Golden Gate Club at the Presidio of San Francisco, a site with important historical connections to the Japan-U.S. relationship. At the beginning of the event, Consul General Hiroshi Inomata expressed his continued condolences for those who were lost in the disaster, together with his thanks for California’s support, as well as Japan’s determination to recover.
Some 600 people gathered for the memorial, including Speaker John Perez of the California State Assembly, Kristi Yamaguchi, co-chair of the Project Aloha delegation to the affected areas, the Rev. Cecil Williams of Glide Memorial Church, Janice Mirikitani of the Glide Foundation, and approximately 20 members of the U.S. Navy who were involved in Operation Tomodachi.
Ikebana flower arrangements from Ikenobo decorated the venue, and the American and Japanese national anthems were performed by Bojan Knezevic and Miwako Isano. Beni Shinohara on violin and Shoko Hikage on koto also performed a solemn requiem.
After the main ceremony, a reception featured a slide show from the consulate; displays from JETRO (Japan National Tourist Organization), Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, Japan Society of Northern California, Give2Asia, and other organizations; and items from the Japanese Restaurant Association, three local sake makers, ES/EX, and Ito En.
Panel displays, information, and messages from the affected prefectures described the situation in Japan directly after the disaster, the generous assistance and relief efforts from around the world, the progress of Japan’s recovery, and the outlook for the future.