Monday, March 14, 2011

Missing Friends in Japan

When I was a young boy in the 1980s, my family used to host Japanese students at our home, and we even had one stay with us for a year.  In 1989, my parents and I visited Japan for a month and stayed with some of their families and met many wonderful people.

As you can imagine, last week when the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, I was immediately concerned about all our old friends there.  Thankfully, Google Person Finder was quickly updated to include a registry for people seeking information (or able to provide information) about people in Japan who might have been affected by the disasters.  At the time I'm posting this, there are over 161,000 name records in the registry.

So far I've only received information about one person that we've added to the registry, who thankfully was in Peru at the time of the disasters (although I suspect her house in Sendai may have been damaged).  I have not yet heard anything about three families that we added to the registry a couple days ago.  If you have any information on the following people, please submit an update to Google Person Finder via the links below and post a comment here on this blog.

  • Hisako Abe from the Aoba-ku area of Sendai
  • Yuji and Mari Mori from Natori City (Miyagi Prefecture)
  • Yuji and Erika Hayasaka from Ishinomaki (Miyagi Prefecture), who have at least two young children: a boy about age 9, and a girl about age 5 or 6
    UPDATE, 5 June 2011: All of these names have been removed from Google Person Finder, but I still have not heard anything about these families.  If you have any information about these families, please leave a comment.  I review all comments on this blog before publishing them, so please specify if you wish for your comment to remain private.
    UPDATE, 8 October 2011: We heard from Erika this week! She and her family are fine, but her car and her workplace were destroyed and about 7,000 people from their city lost their lives.

We know many other people from Japan, but these are the only people for whom we have a mailing address who live in the area of Japan most affected by the disasters.  We have not had contact with these friends within the past couple years, so they may have moved since we last spoke with them.

If you have any information about other people from Japan, please check Google Person Finder and submit the information you have.

Please consider making a donation to a reputable organization participating in relief efforts, for example the American Red Cross or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here are direct links for making secure donations online:

Also, if you are a religious person, please keep the people of Japan in your prayers.  It is easy for those of us who have not been directly affected by a disaster to forget about what has happened, but many people are suffering due to the loss of everything they had, including and especially their loved ones.