Kristi Yamaguchi visits a town devastated by the 2011 tsunami in a scene from "Stories from Tohoku."
Kristi Yamaguchi visits a town devastated by the 2011 tsunami in a scene from “Stories from Tohoku.”

SAN JOSE — “Stories from Tohoku” will be screened on Saturday, Sept. 6, at 12:30 p.m. at Camera 3 Cinema, 288 S. Second St., San Jose, as part of CAAMFest San Jose.

It’s hard to forget the images of giant waves leveling the northeastern coast of Japan, sweeping up buildings and cars and leaving nothing but debris in their wake. Over two years after the 2011 tsunami and resulting nuclear crisis, the world has largely turned away from the survivors and their efforts to rebuild.

“Stories from Tohoku” urges us not to forget. The documentary gives a voice to the survivors — many still living in temporary housing, struggling to make ends meet — while skillfully interweaving their stories with those of Japanese American leaders continuing to raise money and organizing trips to the region. The endurance and frustration of the survivors and the hope inspired by their visitors are explored in this complex portrait. Uplifting footage of the first foreign delegation, led by Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi, to visit this trans-Pacific community is also shown.

Directed by Dianne Fukami and Eli Olson and produced by Fukami and Debra Nakatomi, “Tohoku” is a heartfelt, inspiring testament to the traditional Japanese value of gaman (perseverance). At the same time, it acknowledges the many challenges that still face the residents of Tohoku.

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