Humans of Minamisanriku: Joint Project by Students of Baylor University and Tohoku University

The Baylor in Japan (BIJ) Summer Intensive Japanese program began in 2012 one a year after the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. The BIJ program not only focuses on language immersion and learning, but also on community service. In the summer of 2012 following the tsunami disaster, a time when basic shelters were practically non-existent, Baylor students had the privilege of visiting the tsunami-stricken area owing to everyone’s support. They initially arrived at Minamisanriku in fear that their presence would be burdensome, but as they volunteered in the community, the people of Minamisanriku welcomed them with open arms despite the catastrophic devastation. The students realized that they needed to go back to Minamisanriku and continue their support.

And the students have been visiting Minamisanriku ever since. They were amazed by the resilience and determination displayed by the people of Minamisanriku as they witnessed the town’s reconstruction year after year. Despite their unwavering strength in the face of disaster, the people of Minamisanriku’s worst feared their story would be forgotten by the rest of the world. The students began to wonder what they could do to create a lasting impact and devised a solution: Humans of Minamisanriku.

Inspired by the photoblog “Humans of New York”, a photoblog which has touched the lives of eighteen million people, Baylor and Tohoku University students collaborated to establish the Humans of Minamisanriku project in 2017 only two-years after BIJ’s cultural exchange program was established with Tohuku University. Through Humans of Minamisanriku, the students showcase the town of Minamisanriku, its people, and their stories to the world.“

Building on their experiences in Minamisanriku, they aspire to grow as human beings and reflect on what it means to serve.

Follow the project on Facebook.


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