Ceremony of Remembrance to mark one year after the Great East Japan Earthquake


12 March 2012

Almost 400 people gathered at the Embassy of Japan in London for a ceremony of remembrance to mark one year after the Great East Japan Earthquake. The guests, who were invited by Ambassador Keiichi Hayashi, were members of the British public that had all contributed to the cause of aiding the people of Tohoku in their respective ways.

During the ceremony, the guests were addressed by Ambassador Hayashi, The Rt. Hon. Lord Howell of Guildford, Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, and Mr Roy Wilsher, Chief Fire Officer of Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (and a member of the UK Search and Rescue Team, Japan 2011). The speakers offered their condolences to the people whose lives had been irrevocably changed in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami. Ambassador Hayashi expressed his gratitude for the overwhelming support of the British public over the last year. "Buoyed by the support of our friends in the UK and elsewhere around the world, we in Japan will keep fighting on for a successful rebirth of the communities and the nation", said Ambassador Hayashi before he led the guests in a minute silence of remembrance. Click here to read the Ambassador's speech in full.

Ambassador Hayashi

Rt. Hon. Lord Howell of Guildfrord

Mr Roy Wilsher and members of the UK Search and Rescue Team, Japan 2011)

There were performances from Mr Dudley Bright (Principal Trombone of the London Symphony Orchestra) and Mr Shinichi Ishikawa (Embassy of Japan) who performed a trombone duet entitled A Song for Japan which was written by bass trombonist Mr Steven Verhelst after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Then UK-Japan Music Society provided a beautiful rendition of the song Asu to iu hi ga (As long as there is tomorrow), led by Mr Jonathan Gregory, who last year received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette for services to music and Japan-UK relations.

Mr Dudley Bright and Mr Shinichi Ishikawa

UK-Japan Music Society

After the ceremony, refreshments were served and guests were invited to try specially prepared Tohoku cuisine including rice from Fukushima. There was also a rare performance of Tora-mai (Tiger Dance) performed by dancers from the town of Otsuchi in Iwate Prefecture, which was severely affected by the earthquake and tsunami last year. The group lost its leader and its costumes and instruments were all washed away. Yet with help from generous donors to provide new instruments and costumes, the group were able to perform again in September last year and travelled to London to participate in a series of events for the first ever time in Europe in order to express their gratitude for the support and help extended to the people of Tohoku. They were supported by drummers led by Mr Joji Hirota, who received the Ambassador's Commendation in 2003.

Tora-mai dancers and Mr Joji Hirota

Japanese cuisine including rice and vegetables from Tohoku