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October 8, 2018 at 12:19 pm

Japan’s Mainichi Notes Ohio University’s Role in Tsunami Relief

Thompson with a photo taken of participants in the 2015 September edition of the OHIO-IPU Tsunami Relief Project.

Dr. Chris Thompson with a photo taken of participants in the 2015 September edition of the OHIO-IPU Tsunami Relief Project.

Japan’s national daily paper, the Mainichi, noted the involvement of Ohio University and Dr. Chris Thompson in a story headlined “Japanese, int’l students still delivering water, energizing Iwate residents over 7 years on.”

Thompson, Associate Professor of Linguistics, is in Japan this fall representing OHIO as the 43rd Kohei Miura Visiting Professor at Chubu University.

RIKUZENTAKATA, Iwate — Japanese and foreign students from around the world joined together in a volunteer project in this city in northeastern Japan heavily hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster, delivering bottled water and smiles to residents still living in temporary housing.

A total of 100 students, teachers and staff from Iwate Prefectural University, based in the city of Takizawa, Chubu University in Kasugai, Aichi Prefecture, in central Japan, Ohio University in the United States and current and past Honjo International Scholarship Foundation recipients from around the world distributed boxes of bottled water to those still living in temporary housing scattered around Rikuzentaka and newly built prefectural disaster housing on the final weekend of September.

Ohio University associate professor Christopher Thompson, an anthropologist specializing in folklore in Tohoku, met (Keiko) Chiba in the fall of 2012 while also working on recovery efforts with his students desalinating rice fields, cleaning up rivers of debris, visiting kindergartens and joining in events for residents of the temporary housing along the Iwate coast in tandem with Iwate Prefectural University. When she told him about her work, he immediately requested they work together. Corporate sponsor Ito En Ltd. began supplying water and tea and getting Honjo students involved from the next year, participating in mizubora activities as often as twice a month.

Read more in the Mainichi.

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