From Iwate Prefecture With Love

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.


Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

One thought on “From Iwate Prefecture With Love”

  1. I once worked for a newspaper. There was a sign over the door which said, “The only bad news is NO news.” If one looks, one can see a bright spot, a flower growing even in the most desolate environments. And one flower can satisfy someone who believes there is no life anywhere. So, the One, on closer inspection, is better than the Zero. In my truly humble opinion, the underlying task, is, “Sustaining a concentration on the one flower while going about everyday tasks, not to mention month by month, but just week by week.” I would suspect that the long lasting effect of the yellow handkerchiefs has already happened within the heart of Mr. Kanno. What we are seeing, in the newspaper, is the tail of the comet, the aftereffects of something that happened long before he sent the handkerchiefs, attracting the attention of the national news media.

    Liked by 1 person

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