March 11 respectfully remembered as Great East Japan Earthquake Press Photo Exhibition concludes in London

The Great East Japan Earthquake Press Photo Exhibition’s London event concluded last weekend (Sunday March 17) following a 13-day run that attracted a total of nearly 7,000  visitors.

IMG_1655Held at Southbank’s gallery@oxo, the exhibition consisted of 57 powerful images captured in the immediate aftermath of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and during the two years of rebuilding that have followed. The stark nature of the photographs moved many attendees to tears as the reality of the tragedy and its long-term after-effects were made painfully clear.

But the overriding emotion generated by the exhibition was one of hope, with the spirit of perseverance and determination that has carried Japan into a brighter tomorrow shining through the darkness of the disaster.

Visitors were also given the opportunity to write their own words of support to those affected by the tsunami and hang them on the exhibition’s ‘message tree’. By the end of each day the branches were weighed down by the public’s good wishes, a small selection of which can be read below.

Organised by The Asahi Shimbun newspaper, from which many of the photographs were taken, and Mitsubishi Corporation, the exhibition ran alongside concurrent events in Hanoi and Paris. All were held as a thank you to the global community for their support during Japan’s time of need as well as marking the second anniversary of the disaster, which fell on March 11.

Goodwill Messages

  • “My little brother was living in Japan when the earthquake struck. The kindness and generosity shown to him by Japanese people in the aftermath will never be forgotten by me and my family. Thank you. Your courage is an inspiration. With love.”
  • “Nothing can shake our enduring spirit, the bravery and hope shines on through dark of wonder and mists of rain, the new dawn brings hope again.”
  • “The people of Japan are a shining example to the world. With peace and solidarity.”
  • “In one of the photos it says “I won’t let sadness defeat me”. A wonderful tribute to wonderful people and a wonderful country.”
  • “The human spirit to fight to survive and reach out to help all those in need never ceases to amaze me.”
  • “I cried with you and I hope with you now. You have all been so brave in such tragic circumstances.” 

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March 11 remembered 2 Years After

It has been two years to the day since the world helplessly watched on as Japan suffered its greatest natural disaster of modern times. The Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami has forever changed the lives of thousands of Japanese people whose loss, but also courage, are being remembered in a special London exhibition.


Since opening on March 5, more than 3,500 visitors have viewed the 57 powerful and moving images that make up the Great East Japan Earthquake Press Photo Exhibition at gallery@oxo on London’s Southbank.

It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words and there is no better illustration of this than the images included in the exhibition, which offer a profound insight into both the devastation and subsequent strength of the people left behind to deal with the disaster’s consequences. Indeed, their determination and resolve has brought tears to the eyes of many visitors.

After experiencing both the destruction and hope displayed in the pictures, visitors have been offered an opportunity to write a message to all of those affected by the disaster. Their note, along with an origami crane – a symbol of well-wishing in Japan – is then added to the thousands of other warm-hearted, encouraging and hopeful thoughts that decorate the exhibition’s ‘message tree’ (main image above).

The free exhibition remains open to the public until Sunday 17 March.

The spirit of perseverance that helped Japan face its darkest hour

‘The revival of Japan depends on us’

The Great East Japan Earthquake Press Photo Exhibition opens in London next month (March 5) as the second anniversary of the natural disaster that struck the nation is observed across the globe. Held at Southbank’s gallery@oxo, the event has been organised by Mitsubishi Corporation and The Asahi Shimbun newspaper from which many of the images are drawn.

Among the most poignant is that of teenager Ruri Sasaki mournfully playing her trumpet beside the rubble of her former home. The instrument had been a gift from the youngster’s grandmother who, along with Ruri’s mother, aunt and cousin, perished in the disaster. Her grandfather remains unaccounted for.

The moving scene, captured by a photographer from The Asahi Shimbun, would gain national attention and lead to Ruri receiving an invitation to play alongside professional musicians at a charity concert in aid of disaster-struck areas. Following the performance of Makenaide, a popular Japanese song, she left the stage to rapturous applause, promising: “I will not let sadness defeat me. I won’t give up.”

The song she performed outside her ruined home and at the concert delivered that same message of enduring hope, with Makenaide translating as ‘Don’t Give Up.’ This determination to persevere in the face of unimaginable tragedy encapsulates the spirit that carried Japan through the disaster and into the fresh sense of optimism that prevails today.

In support of the rebuilding effort, Mitsubishi Corporation created the Great East Japan Earthquake Recovery Fund to provide assistance to the devastated areas. The photography exhibition forms part of its relief programme for the disaster.

Two Years After: Remembering the Devastation and Celebrating Hope

The Great East Japan Earthquake Press Photo Exhibition Comes to London in March – Presented by The Asahi Shimbun and Mitsubishi Corporation

The Asahi Shimbun and Mitsubishi Corporation will co-host The Great East Japan Earthquake Press Photo Exhibition in London from Tuesday 5 until Sunday 17 March. The exhibition was held in three Asian cities during 2012: Bangkok, Jakarta and Seoul. Now, the 2013 exhibition marks the second anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, offering an opportunity to both remember the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Tohoku region and gain a sense of the progress made towards recovery. The exhibition will also be held simultaneously in Paris and Hanoi.

Two years on from the destruction caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake, the affected areas of the Tohoku region are steadily working towards recovery. The messages of support and practical assistance received from people around the world have been welcomed and put to good use in the areas affected, ensuring that today the region continues to improve thanks to generous cooperation and global collaboration.

But exactly what happened that day? What has happened since? And how have the areas affected begun to recover? The exhibition is intended to remind London of the terrible events of two years ago, to encourage them to turn their thoughts again to the Tohoku region and provide visitors with an opportunity to chart the progress made towards recovery.

The exhibition will be launched on Monday 4 March with a press viewing, opening ceremony and reception as well as a presentation. It will be open to the general public from Tuesday 5 March.

The exhibition is also being held simultaneously in Paris and Hanoi, as per the schedule below.


Great East Japan Earthquake Press Photo Exhibition
Dates: Tuesday 5 – Sunday 17 March 2013
Opening hours: 11:00 – 18:00 daily
Venue: gallery@oxo
Organisers: The Asahi Shimbun, Mitsubishi Corporation
Supporters: Embassy of Japan, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the UK, Japan Society, Nippon Club

Presentation: “State of Recovery”
Date: Monday 4 March 2013
Time: 15:30 – 16:15
Venue: gallery@oxo
Speaker: Tomoaki Ito, The Asahi Shimbun

Press Viewing
Date: Monday 4 March 2013
Time: 16:15 – 17:00
Venue: gallery@oxo

Opening Ceremony
Date: Monday 4 March 2013
Time: 17:30
Venue: gallery@oxo

Opening Reception
Date: Monday 4 March 2013
Time: 18:30
Venue: OXO Tower Brasserie & Bar (8F)


Hanoi, Vietnam: Vietnam Fine Arts Museum
Wednesday 27 February – Monday 4 March 2013

Vietnam-Japan Human Resources Cooperation Centre
Tuesday 5 – Monday 11 March 2013

Paris, France: Maison de la culture du Japon à Paris (The Japan Cultural
Institute in Paris)
Tuesday 26 February – Saturday 9 March 2013



Gentle LightImage caption: The Miracle Pine

A single tree remains, having withstood the force of the tsunami, at Takatamatsubara, a scenic spot in Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture. The harvest moon shines down upon it, as if to show a little sympathy. Eventually the tree, battered and weakened, will wither. But grafts ensure it will bear new life elsewhere.

Photo taken on 12 September 2011 at Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture.

Photo credit: The Asahi Shimbun (*credit must be included where image is used).


The Asahi Shimbun
The Asahi Shimbun is Japan’s leading national newspaper, with a daily circulation of 7.78 million copies for the morning edition and 3 million for the evening edition. It was established in 1879 and today its business operations and social contributions have expanded far beyond the publication of its newspaper. In 1915 it established the Japanese High School Baseball Championship, which has become a much-loved national sporting event and a quintessential part of summer in Japan. It also sponsors the All Japan Band Competition in partnership with the All Japan Band Association, the most prestigious music competition for junior high and high school students. The Asahi Shimbun is also involved in significant social initiatives, as exemplified by its sponsorship of The Great East Japan Earthquake Press Photo Exhibition. In May 2011 the company established a digital news service, The Asahi Shimbun Digital, with a paywall in place. This service offers almost all the content found in the paper edition together with unique content and video news. The service is fully searchable and customisable, featuring a number of handy functions. For more details see

Mitsubishi Corporation
Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) is a global integrated business enterprise that develops and operates businesses across virtually every industry including industrial finance, energy, metals, machinery, chemicals, foods, and environmental business. MC’s current activities are expanding far beyond its traditional trading operations as its diverse business ranges from natural resources development to investment in retail business, infrastructure, financial products and manufacturing of industrial goods. With more than 200 Offices & Subsidiaries in approximately 90 countries worldwide and a network of over 500 group companies, MC employs a multinational workforce of nearly 60,000 people. For further information on Mitsubishi Corporation, see

Mitsubishi Corporation’s Support for the Tohoku Region
Mitsubishi Corporation has been involved in providing support to recovery efforts in the Tohoku region in a number of ways. In March 2012 it established the Mitsubishi Corporation Disaster Relief Foundation, through which it has provided financial support in the form of Emergency Scholarships for students in the affected areas and Recovery Support Grants for local businesses. Mitsubishi Corporation staff have engaged in volunteer activities in the affected areas and have also helped to run events with local children. Mitsubishi Corporation is sponsoring The Great East Japan Earthquake Press Photo Exhibition as part of its recovery support programme.

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For media enquiries please contact James Weeks at Pole Ltd:
tel: +44 (0)20 8605 9797

gallery@oxo is owned and managed by Coin Street Community Builders:

Great East Japan Earthquake Press Photo Exhibition to visit London in March


March 2013 will mark the second anniversary of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that devastated eastern Japan. In the months since the disaster struck, and through much pain and suffering, a spirit of hope has prevailed. Now, The Asahi Shimbun newspaper and Mitsubishi Corporation will celebrate the nation’s courage by hosting The Great East Japan Earthquake Press Photo Exhibition in London.

“Remembering March 11
Opening at Southbank’s gallery@oxo on March 5, the event represents the British leg of a world tour that will showcase the moving selection of photographs detailing the journey undertaken by those left to rebuild their lives.

Beginning with the initial devastation, the exhibition then charts the country’s subsequent rebuilding process and today’s air of fresh optimism for the future. Indeed, these images encapsulate the light that continues to shine through the tragedy.

Any press interested in attending the event should contact James Weeks on +44 (0) 208 605 9797 or

Open to the public: 5 – 17 March 2013 (11am – 6pm)

Follow the exhibition on Twitter: @2YearsAfter

Follow the exhibition on Facebook

gallery@oxo is owned and managed by Coin Street Community Builders: