Voices of Tohoku-visual community archive project

by IsraAID
Nov 18, 2013

Aug-Nov 2013

Project Volunteers with family from Watari
Project Volunteers with family from Watari


During the last 3 months our work with new communities have generated more then 60 new interviews. Our scope of subjects have now expended into stories covering people who have evacuated from their community because of radiation concerns around the Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. We are collecting more stories every week from the various communities we operate. Our volunteer interviewers and camera operator staff are working diligently to collect these stories and create a positive experience for the participants.



Futaba Machi of Fukushima – This town received an evacuation order from the government after the radiation leak at the Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Power Plant. All 7000 residents are scattered across Japan, in almost every prefecture. With the help of local volunteers we have gathered 15 stories as of now, and we are currently building an archive with the municipality to preserve the town’s history and memories for the next 50-80 years while this area remain vacant.


Osaka- We have connected with a support group of mothers from Tohoku, that decided to evacuate from their communities to Osaka to protect their children from the effects of radiation. The partners of most of these mothers remain in Tohoku for work, and the mothers are struggling to raise their child alone. With the help of local volunteers in Osaka, we are interviewing these mothers and creating an archive at their support center.


Kyoto- Since 2011, almost 700 families have evacuated to Kyoto. We have partnered with an NPO in Kyoto that supports these families to create an archive for these people. We visit Kyoto every month to collect interviews with cooperating locals.


Ishinomaki City- We have collected over 25 stories in Ishinomaki, and through partnership with the local newspaper and local archive museum, we have connections in various fields. As result, we have a close connection with government workers, volunteers, psychologists, fishermen, and other community groups. Our archive currently has a diverse range of experiences and stories that depict the disaster, and some of the most moving interviews come from this archive. We have partnered with a local archive museum and plan to exhibit these interviews here.


Yamamoto Town- We are continuing to collect stories here, and we have received support and photos from the Yamamoto local government to use in the archive.


Watari Town- We are continuing to collect stories from residents, and since the archive event in May, the level of awareness of the project has greatly increased.



Wako University is integrating our videos as part of a discussion course about posttraumatic effects and growth, led by Professor of Psychology, Ito Takehiko.


Further, Prof. Ito Takehiko has collaborated with Meiji Gakuin University Emeritus Professor Inoue Takayo, to explore psychological research regarding posttraumatic effects in communities, using the archive.


Professor Lei-Mei Julia Chiu and students from Musashino Art University’s social design class have worked with us to create an official book about the Voices of Tohoku project. This image book will contain text versions of specific interviews, with an essay by Professor Ito and Professor Inoue. This will be distributed to our current communities, as well as new communities, and hopefully this book will inspire more communities and volunteers to join.

Furthermore, the student volunteers from Musashino Art University have been providing support for all aspects of design in VOT, such as improving our logo, building our website which is due at the end of the year, and documenting our work backstage.



In the next 3 month our website will go online, and will contain most of the interviews we have collected until now. The videos will have various tags, and can be searched via communities, occupations, etc.

The website development is a joint program with the students of Musashino Art University.

Website Meeting with Musabi Art Students
Website Meeting with Musabi Art Students
Interview with High School Teacher in Ishinomaki
Interview with High School Teacher in Ishinomaki
Interview with Ishinomaki Resident
Interview with Ishinomaki Resident

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Organization Information


Location: Tel Aviv, Merkaz - Israel
Website: http:/​/​www.israaid.org
Project Leader:
Shachar Zahavi
natanya, Japan

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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