"Pray for Japan" Documentary Marks Anniversary of Disaster

by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor

Although WV is not on the list of states with cities holding a charity premiere, "Pray for Japan" will debut in the U.S. next week.  Japan’s Tohoku coastal region was destroyed on March 11, 2011 , by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and devastating tsunami that followed.  PRAY FOR JAPAN takes place in the devastated region of Ishinomaki, Miyagi – the largest coastal city in Tohoku with a population of over 160,000 people. Filmmaker Stu Levy – an American living in Japan - filmed the tsunami aftermath during his trips to Tohoku as a volunteer and over a period of 6 weeks, captured over 50 hours of footage.

The film depicts four key perspectives of the tragedy – and with each perspective it introduces viewers to  victims who faced significant obstacles and fought to overcome them.  

Through these four vantage points, the audience is able to understand the vast ramifications of this large-scale natural disaster – and the battle these real-life heroes fought on behalf of their loved ones and their hometown. Due to the enormity of the disaster which caused world wide concern from the nuclear plant breaches and meltdowns at Fukushima, often, those suffering from the tsunami itself have been downplayed in world media.

Among the heroes of the aftermath are members of a group known as The Jieitai, a colloquial term for the Japanese Self-Defense Forces. Up until the Tohoku Earthquake/Tsunami, most people in Japan didn't take them very seriously. However, they sprang into action and showed their mettle, helping people all over the stricken area of the country. Even something as basic as a hot bath provides some comfort to people who lost everything

The producers invite clubs, schools, churches and community groups to host a "Pray for Japan" screening in April. To submit a request, visit:  http://prayforjapan-film.org/page/hostascreening.