Recently on the Asahi Shinbun newspaper, I read a really touching article about seven yellow handkerchiefs that were sent to Kumamoto after the recent earthquakes. The handkerchiefs were sent to Kumamoto City by one man named Kanno Keisuke (菅野啓佑),1 age 74. Mr Kanno lived in Iwate Prefecture, and lost his older sister and his home to the tsunami following the Great Tohoku Earthquake in 2011. To aid searchers after the disaster, he hung yellow handkerchiefs at the site of his demolished home. The yellow handkerchiefs were inspired by a famous Japanese movie called “The Lucky Yellow Handkerchief” (幸福の黄色いハンカチ).
In 2013, he was visited by volunteers from Kumamoto Prefecture who came to help with the restoration efforts. He told them his story, how to escape a tsunami, etc. The volunteers cheered Mr. Kanno and returned home inspired.
But now, things have come full circle. Mr. Kanno sent yellow handkerchiefs to Kumamoto to express gratitude and cheer them on after disaster and now they hang in the flower garden of downtown Kumamoto City.
What a nice gesture. 🙂
1 The given name 啓佑 was pretty difficult to read for me. I searched a number of Japanese sites and even other Japanese people asked in forums how to read this name. The consensus was that it’s commonly read as “Keisuke”, though it’s possible there are other readings. I mention this only because I am not 100% sure myself.