This moving video shows the people of Kyushu on a happier day.

On April 14, 2016, Japan’s southern island of Kyushu was shaken by the first in a series of earthquakes that have resulted in the loss of at least 42 lives. As strong tremors continue to assault the region, thousands of people are living in evacuation centers amidst fears that aftershocks could cause further damage.

And so it’s with a bittersweet feeling that we bring you this commercial for the opening of the Kyushu Shinkansen.

The video below was released to coincide with the opening of the Shinkansen line between Hakata and Kagoshima-Chūō in March 2011. With the tagline “Congratulations! Kyushu”, it features people from all over the region celebrating the arrival of the much-anticipated high-speed train service. The official YouTube account (now defunct) on which the ad was shared recorded 3.5 million views, rocketing the video to the number one most-viewed spot, excluding music and earthquake-related videos, which was a truly unprecedented response. If you watch it, I’m sure you’ll understand why.

The video shows the masses of people gathered along the new bullet train line, all of whom turned out to celebrate the opening of the line in all kinds of crazy, eye-catching ways, from acrobatics and martial arts to a couple in their wedding get-up. It’s estimated that as many as 20,000 people, from families to farmers, participated all in all, resulting in a colorful and diverse procession all along the tracks. You can also see an extended 25-minute edition here.

Among the stations the train speeds through, you can see Kumamoto Station and Shin-Tamana Station in Kumamoto Prefecture, the area currently affected by the earthquakes. Seeing the smiling, excited faces of the people contrasts with the scenes we’re seeing on television at the moment, of families huddled together tired and scared in evacuation centers, wondering when the tremors will subside. I have to admit I had a hard time getting to the end of the video without tearing up, especially with the lyrics to Maia Hirasawa’s song “Boom!” ringing out more poignantly than ever; “I wanna go home, home, home, home.” At the same time, the video instills a strong sentiment that, with the determined cooperation of the local people, Kumamoto will recover.



If you’re wondering if there’s anything you can do to help with the situation, you might want to check out the links below:

Japanese Red Cross
Donate to Japanese Red Cross Kumamoto Emergency Relief Fund [Japanese only]

Source: JR Kyushu, ttee1999 on YouTube
Images: ttee1999 on YouTube

[ Read in Japanese ]