Pre-Symposium Dialogue

Because this symposium aims to stimulate critical dialogue – amongst our speakers, audience members and everyone involved in the event coordination – we asked each speaker to engage in a pre-symposium dialogue by asking the following question:

What do you hope will come out of this symposium?

Jake Price:

Dear all,

I’m very much looking forward to Sunday as well and amazed that two years on we have gained such a packed audience. That so many have signed up signifies to me a commitment that goes beyond simply a once a year remembrance but a desire to make things better in the long term.

Jake Price
I set out for Tohoku from New York two days after the tsunami struck when the black waters still engulfed the land. Despite the bleakness of that time I witnessed great kindness amongst the survivors who held onto a quiet sense of hope amidst the indescribable loss. Two years on people have had some time to process those events and strengthen their hope. I believe, therefore, that the present moment is when the true rebuilding begins.

Through this gathering my hope is that we play a central role in rebuilding communities in the most innovative ways that both hold onto the deep traditions Tohoku has cultivated over its long history and combine that with the most environmentally progressive ideas for future living.

Looking forward to meeting you all on Sunday,

Shimpei Takeda Shimpei Takeda:
Dear all,
I am very much honored to be a part of this symposium, and look forward to meeting all of you.

As the Tohoku region still needs a lot of help to heal and rebuild, this event will be a great opportunity to remind us the tough situation and at the same time, to appreciate all the good souls who dedicated to support the community.


Susan Onuma:

I am honored and very excited to be a part of this symposium and look forward to meeting those I don’t know already on March 10. What I would like to get out of this symposium is to make new connections for future collaborations that will develop into sustainable people to people projects and/or events for years to come.



yuheisuzuki Yuhei Suzuki:

Dear all,

Hello, I am Yuhei Suzuki, one of the speakers. I feel honored to be invited to the symposium. My answer to the question is that I want to find some connecting points with other speakers, CJR members and
people in NYC. Although each person lives their own unique life, with different backgrounds, beliefs, values and personal experiences, I still hope we can find common ground.

Sincerely yours,
Yuhei Suzuki

Dr. Shunichi Homma:

Hello, this is Nick Homma. I am a cardiologist at Columbia and a founding member of CJR. I am very happy to see that the organization is growing with tremendous energy generated through its leading members. I look forward to the symposium being a catalyst for collaboration that will make everyone’s efforts stronger and to create new venues to assist Tohoku on a longer time scale. I also very much hope to see the attendants become more involved in activities that help others, not only in Tohoku, but as one human-being helping another.


Dr. Shunichi Homma

Robert Yanagisawa Dr. Robert Yanagisawa:

Dear All,

I am a physician co-leading Japan Program through Mount Sinai Global Health / JAMSNET / JMSA. I am honored to be a part of this symposium and I hope to share and learn from everyone’s creative responses. Together, we can help bring courage and inspiration to aid recovery of Tohoku and beyond.



Dear all,

Hello, my name is Edward Fox and I’m attending the CJR event at Columbia with Ryuta Ushiro from the artist group Chim↑Pom. On behalf of Ryuta I would like to share Chim↑Pom’s answer to the previous question.

“We wish everyone to realize and acknowledge that we are never powerless even against despair.” –Chim↑Pom

Looking forward to seeing you at the event.



shun kanda mit Shun Kanda:

Hello, I am Shun Kanda, joining you from Boston. I feel very privileged to be
invited to this Symposium and thank all those who are making this event possible.
What I know will come out of this symposium, I am sure, will be a renewed synergy
among all of us attending. Heading into the third year after 3.11, only those who
are committed for the long-strethch are still around. An opportunity such as this,
will strengthen each of our efforts and expand our ongoing need for mutual support
and collaboration. I look forward to meeting all of you!

Matthew Bunza:
Dear all,

Thank you for the opportunity to take part in this symposium. I’m very much looking forward to meeting all of you.

What I know is that the dialogues from this event will allow us to share some of our personal stories from Tohoku, and introduce each other to our ongoing work. Since we all approach this from vastly different perspectives in our respective fields, we can learn a lot from each other.

matthew bunza
But, what I hope is the outcome, is that beyond this moment in time it can serve to remind us of the enormity of the work still left to be done.

Matthew Bunza
MIT Japan 3.11 Initiative

Kirsten Homma:

Hello everyone,

My name is Kirsten Homma and I work at Columbia University Medical Center as a research assistant. I’m looking forward to this symposium because, coming from a medical and analytical background, I’m excited to see the creative, artistic, and imaginative ways people have responded to 3/11.

Just as I look forward to broadening my horizons, I hope that this symposium can expand people’s understanding of the multifaceted ways individuals and groups can respond to a devastating natural disaster. I hope that audience members will have the opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds, and talk about topics new to them and perhaps outside of their comfort zones. Ultimately, I hope that our event on Sunday can make individuals feel connected to Tohoku and realize that there is so much more to disaster recovery and the healing process than physical rebuilding.




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