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For those affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, three and a half years still might not be enough time separating the event from the present day. Each slight tremble in the earth, any loud alarm can be a painful reminder of all that was lost that afternoon. While the saying goes “time heals all wounds”, a bit of light-hearted fun always helps the process along. On August 11, 2014, on the 3 ½ year mark of the disastrous event, the LIGHT UP NIPPON event will be celebrating in remembrance, as it has for the past four years.

For people around the world, and especially for Japanese people, the Great East Japan Earthquake is something they can’t forget; something they won’t forget because of the unprecedented amount of damage. In memorial as well as to support revival of the area, the Tohoku Prefectures began a great fireworks festival called LIGHT UP NIPPON in 10 cities along the coast in August 2011. This event captured the hearts and minds of Japan as cities in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima Prefecture, lit up the night sky, all at the same time near the Pacific Ocean.

This year will be the 4th year of the event, and LIGHT UP NIPPON will be celebrated in 12 different cities in the Tohoku area. The participating cities are Noda Village, Miyako City, Otsuchi City, Kamaishi City, Ofunato City and Rikuzentakata City in Iwate Prefecture. Kessenuma City, Minamisanriku City, Ishinomaki City and Watari Town will hold events in Miyagi Prefecture. Lastly, Aizumisato Town and Iwaki City in Fukushima will take part.

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In addition to these cities in Tohoku, a special fireworks event for LIGHT UP NIPPON will occur for the first time in Sapporo City, Hokkaido on August 10. Last year was the first year to see a city support the event outside of Tohoku. Having Japan’s 4th biggest city showing their support for the event truly shows how powerful and meaningful the event is for people.

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LIGHT UP NIPPON will begin with a special event that starts at 7:00pm and lasts for three minutes. The fireworks all across Tohoku will be synced to the rhythm of Sakamoto Ryuichi’s “Aka Tombo” (Red Dragonfly) and everyone will join together in a memorial prayer. Following that, the show will continue with more fireworks and a “Revival Prayer” with a beautiful and emotional set of fireworks called “Fireworks of Hope”. People interested in this event grow every year. Maybe someday soon, LIGHT UP NIPPON and August 11 will illuminate all of Japan.

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▼The back of the kid’s shirt says “One heart”.

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LIGHT UP NIPPON is a fantastic event that can’t continue without our support! Most of the money for the event is raised through donations from around Japan and the world. The Tohoku area still needs the continued support and reminders that they are not forgotten and that there are still wonderful and miraculous things in the world. What better way is there than to support the Tohoku community than with an event that brings such happiness and hope to those who lost so much on March 11, 2011.

▼An amazing song sung by musicians all around Japan for the event

Images: Facebook (LIGHT UP NIPPON)
[ Read in Japanese ]