Kobe, Japan Forum

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The Pacific Tsunami Museum (PTM) was honored to attend and participate in “The International Forum on Telling Live Lessons from Disasters” in Kobe, Japan in 2010. Tsunami museums from Banda Aceh, Sri Lanka, Western Washington University, and Japan were also represented. The forum included a fascinating spectrum of topics including other water-related disasters.

A wave approaches Miyako City from the Heigawa estuary in Iwate Prefecture after the magnitude 8.9 earthquake struck the area March 11, 2011.

The following opening statement from the forum best describes  its  purpose, and it explains why the oral history program of PTM was cited: “Natural disasters have the power in mere moments to destroy the livelihood and human societies built over generations. And yet, the saddest memories engraved on our minds also help us move forward to further understand the threats of nature while realizing the preciousness of life and the importance of communal living.”

Former PTM Director Donna Saiki discussed the validity and value of collecting tsunami survivor oral histories and discussed how they are shared in exhibits and programs like the annual Tsunami Story Festival. Additionally, story teller Mildred Uchima shared her experiences as a docent in the Museum.