Ten years gone by of "2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tōhoku": Flowers has bloomed

10 years has gone by since March 11, 2011 at 16:20 (14:20 Hanoi GMT), the "2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tōhoku" - the second most severe earthquake in Japan's history, struck, leading to the death and missing of 22.000 people and countless loss in both human resource and property.
March 12, 2021 | 07:19
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Ten years passed since "2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tōhoku": Flowers has bloomed
A large banner is hung in front of the Embassy of Japan in Hanoi since March 2011

However, due to the bravery and solidarity of the government and people of Japan, as well as international aids, Japan has turned the disaster into a strength to rebuilt and re-emerge spectacularly and humanistically. At the same time, the friendship between Vietnamese and Japanese people shows considerable value. The song named "Hana wa Saku" (Flowers will bloom) by a Japanese singer - the source of inspiration, positiveness, sharing, affections, and the will to head towards the future - used to be played across Japan, as well as other parts of the world. Ten years have passed. Now, flowers have bloomed on the land of sunrise.

Vietnam Times would like to introduce an article written by Prof. Nguyen Ngoc Binh, former Vice President of the Vietnam-Japan Friendship Association on this issue:

Since the beginning of this week, among Japan's press and among the lives of people, the memories of the 10-year-ago disaster have been called back with pain yet strong belief towards a soon-recovering future. On the afternoon of March 6, 2021, Japan's television NHK devoted all of its time to reports and documentaries about the earthquake, especially about people who have experienced, survived, and now looking back on the event.

Vietnam: "The Bonds of Friendship"

Many countries have shared with Japan the pain and loss in the disaster. In particular, right on March 12, 2011, in Vietnam, there was a spontaneous movement among the people, organizations, social classes, from elementary school children to retired elderly, to express a close sharing and donation to support the people of disaster-hit areas in Japan... "A little of gift, a great deal of love" - it was the precious affection that showed the deep friendship between the people of Vietnam and Japan.

Exactly a month after the earthquake, on April 11, 2011, the Prime Minister of Japan at that time, Mr. Naoto Kan, sent a letter of thanks to the Vietnamese people entitled "Kizuna - The Bonds of Friendship". The letter opened with words of thanks:

"The Japanese people sincerely thank the Vietnamese people for their support and kind regards. Your encouragement and friendship have given us the strength to soon revive from the disaster."

At the end of the more-than-400-word letter of more than 400 words, Prime Minister Naoto Kan wrote: "On behalf of the people of Japan, I extend my heartfelt thanks for such assistance". "A friend in need is a friend indeed"

A large banner is hung in front of the Embassy of Japan in Hanoi since March 2011, printing:


Với lòng biết ơn của nhân dân Nhật Bản.”


With gratitude from the Japanese people.)

Ten years passed since "2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tōhoku": Flowers has bloomed
Photo taken by a Vietnamese reporter on the earthquake scene. (Photo: VNA)

"Flowers will bloom"

We have witnessed many of the noble qualities of the Japanese people that help them overcome the difficult times caused by natural disasters. Since 2011, NHK Television has established "Project to Support the Reconstruction of Tohoku Disaster Area" and called for charitable works.

In 2012, there was a song called "Flowers will bloom" (花 は 咲 く - Hana wa Saku), whose lyrics was written by Mr. Shunji Iwai (poet, musician, and director; born in 1963), and melody composed by Ms. Yoko Kanno (playwright music director, director; born 1963). Both of them were born in Miyagi - the damage center of the earthquake. The song immediately gained the attention and sympathy of the Japanese people. The first recording and CD appeared in 2012. Since then, "Flowers will bloom" has become a song promoting strong spirit and perseverance for sports players, social activists, singers, artists, students,...

Especially, "Flowers will bloom" has become an inseparable part of the childhood of students in the disaster-hit schools and other schools heading towards the damaged regions. March is the month when schools in Japan end the school year with their farewell ceremony, maturity ceremony, all of which play "Flowers will bloom" as a reminder of gratitude and determination to rise above struggles. Many letters were sent to the loved ones who have died because of the disaster so that the writers could feel their loved ones standing by their side to motivate, and at the same time promise to try their best to live a worthy life, just as "Flowers will bloom” said on behalf of all.

"Hana wa Saku" has been chosen to be the number 1 song in the sports & technology category of "NHK Viewers' Choice Award 2014" organized by international broadcaster NHK. Furthermore, the song was also performed at international events held in Japan, such as at the 2014 NHK Trophy I. The song's lyrics author Shunji Iwai said: "I write the lyrics based on the perspective of someone who died in the earthquake. I hope it will be a song that will survive no matter who is the author".

Ten years passed since "2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tōhoku": Flowers has bloomed
Mr. Daisuke Endo represented Fukushima province to sed the Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Vu Hong Nam the province's cherry blossoms to express his gratitude to Vietnam's support after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March 2011. (Photo: VNA)

There are several recording versions for "Flowers will bloom". For example, a 2012 version with many singers and celebrities participating, a 2012 version performed by female vocalists, a version of schools, collectives; a 2012 version performed by the choir in the classic style; a 2012 version performed by the Hakone Symphony and Choir No. 9 as an added part to the end of a program in response to the NHK "Charity Song" campaign. Because they were just composing at that time, the singers did not learn the lyrics by heart yet, and they had to hold the music sheet while singing. Yet the music and the mix were ​​great. The conductor said at the performance that this was an additional performance, not scheduled in the program. He asked the audience to sing along with the chorus: "flowers bloom, flowers will bloom ..." to support the recovery of the disaster-hit region.

Later, "Flowers will bloom" also has a recording in 2013 by international artists: singer Marisa de Silva (USA) and piano artist Megumi Okamoto (Japan). NHK's 2016 editorial with the idea that new "flowers" had been born by medal winners sparked across Japan at the 2016 Summer Rio de Janeiro and Paralympic Games. On the recording, fifty-five medal winners went to the disaster area to commemorate the victims, and let their singing voices blended in the region.

Besides, there was also an NHK report in 2012 that made a strong impression, which was a rehearsal by students of a junior high school combine with piano music. The group only took one rehearsal in the evening right before the day of recording. The piano accompaniment was Nobuyuki Tsujii - a pianist who was born blind. When the music was finished, both teachers and students shed tears because the song reminded them of their deceased friends and relatives, as well as the words they used to say.

Below are the lyrics of "Flowers will bloom"

"Flowers will bloom"

Lyrics: Shunji IWAI

Melody: Yoko KANNO

My heart goes out to you,

When the winter snows give way to spring.

My heart is longing now,

Longing for the town where happiness had been.

Been a place of hope and of dreaming too,

Been a home where my heart always went back to you,

But for now, I only dream of the people who I loved and knew.

Someone is singing, I can hear singing now,

Someone is weeping, I can feel their tears,

Someone is smiling, showing me why

And how to go on living for years and years.

Flowers will bloom, yes they will, yes they will,

For you who are here or yet to be born.

They'll bloom, yes they will

And they'll bloom again until,

There's no missing sorrow and no reason left to mourn.

My heart goes out to you,

When the morning sun lights up the pale blue sky.

My heart is heavy now,…

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