asahi shinbun, memorial, otsuchi, psychosocial

Overturned phone booth used to ‘contact’ tsunami victims to be repaired, asahi shinbun, 1/9/15

OTSUCHI, Iwate Prefecture–A nonworking telephone booth used by grieving family members after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami is set to undergo repairs after it was toppled by strong winter winds that buffeted the coastline on Jan. 7 and 8.

The “Kaze no Denwa Box” (phone booth of the winds) was set up following the Great East Japan Earthquake for survivors to “call” loved ones lost in the disaster.

The rotary-dial telephone box was used by roughly 10,000 people in the three years since it was installed. Many visitors were also seen this year.

Immediately after the incident, Itaru Sasaki, 69, the owner of the installation, said, “I cannot face the many scarred people who come here with the phone booth in such a condition.”

Sasaki set up the phone booth in his garden shortly after the disaster. After examining the damage on Jan. 8, he feared the structure could not be saved, but carpenters and others who rushed to the scene the following day concluded that it could be.

“I received offers of support from people across Japan,” Sasaki said. “I’m relieved to hear that it can be repaired and put back up.”

Repairs are scheduled to begin Jan. 10.

As the booth’s door was destroyed, a new one will be made and installed at a later date.

About liz

from the u.s., recently moved from kobe to sendai, japan, researching community-based housing recovery after disaster.

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