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It’s been just over two years since a deadly earthquake and tsunami struck northern Japan, killing more than 15,000 people.
A former Aiea resident, who now lives in Japan where he owns a popular restaurant, says the problems aren’t over for the region.
The image of destruction and death is burned in Ryoji Soranaka’s memory.
“You never going forget that,” Soranaka said.
In 2011, the former defensive standout out of Aiea High School took KHON2 to one of the hardest hit areas in the Miyagi prefecture, Ishinomaki. One particular shelter changed his life.
“We went to ground zero right and you actually seen what’s going on and just that little area in Ishinomaki there’s like 150 smaller shelters where a lot of money was supposed to be dumped in all over the place. But these guys were eating nothing and living in cardboard boxes,” Soranaka said.
Initially, relief efforts poured in from across the world, but those donations have slowed.
“It’s not in the media anymore. You don’t see it not on TV, but like we said before, it’s a long-term thing,” Soranaka said. “What about the kids that got directly affected that loss their loved ones? What about them?”
According to the Japanese National Police Agency, 15,883 people died on March 11, 2011 and 6,144 people were injured. Officials say 2,676 people are still missing.
Soranaka has since hosted several fundraising concerts in Japan, raising nearly $20,000 for relief efforts.
On Sunday, he’s hosting another charity luau, but this time it’s at home at the Bishop Museum.
“It’s not a charity concert if there’s no money to be put into charity. About two weeks ago, three weeks ago, I turned back to these guys that supported and I raised about 80 percent of the cash to actually make this happen,” Soranaka said.
The benefit concert will feature seven former Na Hoku Hanohano Award winners.
“We got one crazy line up. It includes that, it’s the luau, full-spread luau and drinks included for $60. I mean, it’s a great deal,” Soranaka said. “Take some of that profits and provide awareness again.”
Providing awareness with hopes we never forget.
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