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Lost & Found items from Japan’s 311 earthquake

On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tōhoku, Japan, hit the country. It triggered tsunami waves that devastated the eastern shores sweeping 25 million tonnes of debris into the Pacific Ocean. Toronto-based filmmakers John Choi and Nicolina Lanni have developed the film LOST & FOUND that looks to reunite recovered belongings with their original owners.

The first image of a soccer ball was found by Steve Weilman with the Ikkatsu Project. He obtained the object at the Chilean memorial in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary site. It came from the town of Otsuchi and belonged to the local soccer club where 10% of the population was washed away in the tsunami.

David Baxter found this buoy on Middleton Island, Alaska. It was retrieved over a year ago and belonged to a restaurant owner, Sakiko Miura, from the coastal community of Minamisanriku in northern Japan. When Miura learned of the discovery, she took it as a sign to re-open her family restaurant.

This is a little girl’s sandal by the name of Watanabe Kaori. It was found by Noni Sanford a few weeks ago on the Big Island of Hawaii on the isolated Kamilo Point, aka “Junk Beach”. The LOST & FOUND team are actively trying to find the young child.

This was recently found by John Anderson’s near Fork, WA. The helmet says “Fukuyoshi Maru” which was a fishing vessel from Kesennuma, Miyagi. The town that docked the vessel was washed away by the tsunami.

This was a small fishing boat found by Marcus Eriksen (seen in the photo) which was found floating near Hawaii just over a year ago. Marcus was on a journey sailing from Japan to Hawaii to track the course of the tsunami debris when he found the vessel. He is still trying to locate the owners.

The filmmakers of Lost & Found are currently seeking funding on DocIgnite, a crowd-funding platform for Canadian documentary works-in-progress, to create the documentary that will follow individuals who have found lost objects, and will return them in person to its original owner. 

Photos by Steve Weilman, John Choi and Nicolina Lanni
Video by John Choi and Nicolina Lanni

Richelle Sibolboro is Managing Editor of OpenCity Projects

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