Events were held on Tuesday morning to mark the 22nd anniversary of the Great Hanshin Earthquake in Hyogo Prefecture.
The earthquake, which struck at 5:46 a.m. on Jan 17, 1995, killed 6,434 people in Hyogo Prefecture and neighboring areas.
A ceremony was held in Higashi Yuenchi Park in Kobe where lanterns were lit and placed in the figures 1.17 (the date of the quake) and the kanji character “hikari” (light) in memory of the victims. About 5,000 people attended, including survivors of last April’s Kumamoto quakes and the March 11 Tohoku disaster.
A woman who lost her 6-year-old son in the disaster said the pain never goes away. She said her son would be 28 today, had he lived, and wondered what his life would have been like.
Shinji Otorii, 58, whose wife Yumiko, then 32, was killed, was quoted by Kyodo news service as saying, “I wish I could see her and talk to her, even if it is in my dreams. I also want to hear what she wants to tell me.”
Meanwhile, in a park in Itami, 6,434 candles were lit to honor the dead.
About 40% of Kobe’s residents were either born after the quake or moved to the city in the years following the disaster, according to city officials. One man attending the ceremony in Kobe said it was important to pass on memories of that day to the next generation.
Source: Japan Today Image: NHK