Candlelit memorial services will be held simultaneously in Taiwan and Japan today to mark the second anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011.
The services will take place tonight in Taipei’s Dadaocheng area and in Matsudo in Japan’s Chiba Prefecture, Japanese artist and event organizer Lily Ikeda said yesterday in Taipei.
The Taipei venue is also hosting a photography exhibition showcasing the daily lives of the residents of Fukushima Prefecture — one of the areas hardest hit by the disaster — Ikeda said.
After the earthquake and tsunami led to meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, many people have come to equate Fukushima Prefecture with radiation, she said.
“I want to call for more empathy for the residents of Fukushima” with the service and exhibition, the 30-year-old Fukushima native said.
Many of the 40 photographs — taken by locals who are not professional photographers — chronicle the reconstruction efforts made by residents trying to rebuild their lives, while others show post-disaster scenes, said Ikeda, who is on a months-long trip to Taiwan.
Visitors will also be able to fold paper cranes to offer symbolic blessings to those affected by the natural disasters.
Last night, visitors were invited to light one of about 700 candles offered as a blessing to Japan.
The Japanese artist said she decided to hold the events in Dadaocheng and Matsudo because both areas are undergoing renewal projects.
Ikeda, who is based in Matsudo, said she came to Taiwan in early January for tourism and will return to Japan early next month.
The Taipei event is being organized with the help of Alex Chiu, who was born in Dadaocheng and works as a tour guide and a bed-and-breakfast owner to promote tourism in his hometown.