Documentary profiles children in post-March 11 Japan


Communities in northeastern Japan are still struggling to come to terms with last year’s compound disasters. But what about the children of the region? Are they able to move on and look ahead to the future? That is the question behind the upcoming short documentary “Kore Kara” (meaning “from now on” in Japanese).

The 30-minute film brings together profiles of children and teens living in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, one of the many areas that were hit hard by the March 11 tsunami.

“Originally, the purpose of the film was to point out the necessity for more attention to children’s needs and counseling following a natural disaster,” says Tokyo-based journalist Kevin Mcgue, who is producing the film. “But after meeting some kids in the affected areas, we discovered they have a powerful message to share not only with other children in Japan, but with the world.”

The focus of the documentary changed to a more positive stance. Rather than having the children recount their traumatic experiences of March 11, 2011, the filmmakers asked them to talk about their hopes and dreams for the future.

“Meeting these brave kids was an eye opener,” says director Ivy Oldford. “Most of the responses we got from them were different from what I expected—in a good way.” Having survived the disaster, many of the children express wishes to become nurses or rescue workers in order to help others.

Despite living in an area that is still rebuilding more than a year after the devastating tsunami, the children featured in the film urge a positive attitude. “I want people to treasure each day,” says a high school student in the film. “People want to put things off until tomorrow, but for some people ‘tomorrow’ didn’t come because of the natural disaster. So you have to value today.”

The filmmakers plan to make the documentary available with multilingual subtitles to schools both in Japan and around the world. They hope teachers can share with their students the powerful message that even the youngest members of society can overcome a natural disaster and see beyond to the bright future they create for themselves.

The filmmakers also plan to hold screenings in affected areas in Tohoku and in Tokyo. They are raising funds to cover costs relating to holding screenings and making DVDs and teacher guides at

Screenings are planned for Tokyo in December and January. Screening dates will be posted on the Facebook page as they are set. For more information on the documentary, visit

  • 3


    These precious children of the Tsunami disaster will have a million times more wisdom and courage than I'll ever have as a grown man.

    I'm really happy to read that many of the children are focusing on their hopes and dreams for the future.

    One particular quote from a high school student.

    I want people to treasure each day, says a high school student in the film. People want to put things off until tomorrow, but for some people tomorrow didnt come because of the natural disaster. So you have to value today.

    It's so meaningful and such a powerful message.

  • 1


    I still hope these children (and adults) receive the counseling and attention they deserve. As we know, some Japanese people put on a happy smile and repress their feelings. Sounds like a good documentary though and I look forward to watching it.

  • 1


    I guess locations hit by tsunami can still be rebuilt but what about the kids in the radioactive areas? :(

  • 2


    I still can't really get over this traumatic incident not because I was directly involved in a life or death situation but because there has been many changes in life and the people around me owing to this disaster. Compared to these people, my experience was probably nothing, but still, it has been pretty difficult. I will surely want to see this documentary, but if I'm going to find myself wiping tears before the opening scene, I may decide not to see it in public...

  • -1


    Few in the outside world understood or understand how different life and the attitude about life is for Japanese. The Western news coverage was, i am sorry to say, patronizing and superficial. The new figures of Western media fell over each other to be seen at the water's edge in the towns destroyed by the events and then just as quickly returned to their chrome palaces in New York. The impact of having life change suddenly and almost totally, with many people from any town in the area gone for ever, and lives forever changed is huge, yet for people like the Japanese who live in each day much more realisitcally and more fully than most westerners, it was not unbearable or life ending. It was very sad, and almost terrible for many to be sure, yet the amazing support for any and all possible was superb and not really understood still. in one school where some children were safe but lost most of their families, the students stayed together, and then as the days past, one by one, they were picked up by relatives and friends for new lives until they were all in new homes. During that time together, they maintained their discipline and their togetherness and that image still stays with me and will always. We all can learn from such solidarity and such courage ...and it is very common and very true to Japan and Japanese.

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