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6th Anniversary of Earthquake/Tsunami to Be Commemorated

Flowers and incense are offered at the 2016 Love to Nippon. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

The sixth annual Love to Nippon, a commemoration of the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, will take place on Sunday, March 5, from 1 to 3 p.m. at LAPD Headquarters’ Ronald F. Denton Civic Auditorium, 100 W. First St. in Downtown Los Angeles.

At last year’s gathering, former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta and his wife Deni were among the dignitaries who honored the memory of those who perished in the earthquake and tsunami that struck the Tohoku region, recorded as the worst natural disaster in Japan’s history.

“To celebrate the resilient spirit of those rebuilding their lives, we will come together once again as a community to fill the day with an optimistic energy of hope and joy,” said Masako Unoura-Tanaka, a survivor of the tsunami, founder of the Love to Nippon Project, and a member of the Japan America Society of Southern California’s Board of Governors.

In addition to updates from the Tohoku region, participating organizations share the lessons of 3/11 and the importance of natural disaster preparation in Southern California.

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Shinto Service

Rev. Izumi Hasegawa leads a Shinto service at a previous year’s Love to Nippon event in the LAPD.

Ahead of the main program, a Shinto memorial service will be conducted to properly honor the spirits of those who perished in the disaster. Beginning at 12:30 p.m., Rev. Izumi Hasegawa will lead the service on the park lawn on the eastern side of LAPD Headquarters.

Each year since 2014, representatives from Shusse Inari Shrine of America have performed a requiem service at Love to Nippon. In this service, prayers are offered that the spirits of this tragedy’s victims may find peace.

For this year’s Love to Nippon, time constraints are requiring the Shinto service to either be shortened to about five minutes or performed at another time. To fully respect the spirits of the thousands of victims and their families, the requiem will be held before the main event begins. The public is asked to come and pray for the victims’ spirits. The altar will remain in place until 3 p.m.

Shinto is the basis of Japanese culture and customs. From ancient times, the Japanese have believed there are deities in everything, and paid respect by building jinja (Shinto shrines) in places where those deities are believed to stay.

Japanese fishermen, whose livelihoods depend on the ocean, strongly believe in the spirits of the ocean and pay their respects following this Shinto tradition. Many fishermen and their families were victims of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011. The Shinto priests say it is their duty to calm their spirits.

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