Tohoku Tomo: Film Screening & Panel Discussion

  • 06:00 PM
  • The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Room 407/412, 325 N. Wells Street

As the world marks the fourth anniversary of The Great East Japan Earthquake (March 11, 2014), Chicago-based filmmaker Wesley Julian will share his documentary film, Tohoku Tomo (translated: “Friends of Tohoku”) to bring attention to the ongoing efforts to rebuild the Tohoku region of Japan, which was directly impacted by the disaster.

Julian, a graduate of Hampden-Sydney College, was in Japan on March 11, 2011 when the earthquake struck. Seeing the devastation first-hand and losing a close friend in the tsunami, he returned to the USA committed to helping bring attention to the ongoing needs in the areas devastated by the tsunami. In 2013, with funding raised from Kickstarter campaign, Julian and a small team traveled back to Japan to interview individuals and organizations that have been working in the Tohoku region since March 11.

The film includes over a dozen interviews, footage from the impacted areas, and features J-Pop artist Maynard Plant from the band Monkey Majik; Stu Levy, producer of the film Pray for Japan; and host of Tokyofoodcast, Etsuko Nakamura. Tohoku Tomo is a story of true friendship and commitment to Japan’s recovery by the international community following The Great East Japan Earthquake.

The panel discussion will be based on the documentary, Tohoku Tomo and will explore how cultural and societal factors may have impacted the resilience and coping strategies among people in the Tohoku region of Japan.  In addition, the session will explore strategies for mental health workers to build cultural competency in disaster response.

The film, Tohoku Tomo, will be shown during the first hour, and the panel discussion will be hosted during the second hour.  For more information about the film, please visit

This screening is being shown in conjunction with the 絆 Kizuna 4: Through Our Eyes exhibition. To learn more, visit

絆 Kizuna 4: Through Our Eyes  has been made possible through the generous support of many. Special thanks go out to those who supported the trip to Japan’s Tohoku and Fukushima region by Osaka Committee Chair Yoko Noge and photographer and curator Jamason Chen to photograph and document the recovery process. Thank you Joji Takizawa for donating Jamason Chen’s flight to Japan, Nobuko Nakamura of United Works Corp. for serving as the trip’s driver and chief coordinator, Mizuki Nakamura of Gudonin Buddhist Temple for providing lodging. Thank you furthermore to Chief Priest Shoko Fujinami of Yaegaki Jinja Shinto, Yukihide Sato of ABL Co., Ltd., Souji Abe of Wild Road Choppers, Tsutomu Yamada of Hot Valve, Miki Yonekura, Kotaro Iizawa and Masafumi Yonekura for their invaluable support in Tohoku and Fukushima.

Thank you as well to our community partners the 113 Project, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Hekiun Oda, Loyola University Chicago School of Communication, the Office of City of Chicago Mayor Emanuel; the Office of Illinois Comptroller Munger; the Office of Illinois Representative Robyn Gabel; and the Office of Illinois Governor Rauner.

This exhibition is made possible in part by the generous cooperation of Nikkei Inc. Dedicated to The Nikkei’s collection Memory: Things We Should Never Forget

絆 Kizuna 4: Through Our Eyes corporate and individual sponsors include Barnes & Thornburg LLP; Grant Thornton LLP; Hana to Yoko Flower Shop; Matsutani America Inc.; Masuda, Funai, Eifert & Mitchell, Ltd.; Masuo Ogura; Mayumi Lake; M Square; Nagle Photography; OMRON; and Tsukasa Taiko.

絆 Kizuna 4: Through Our Eyes is presented by the Osaka Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International and co-presented by The Japan America Society of Chicago, the Consulate-General of Japan in Chicago, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Chicago and JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) Chicago.

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