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Torii gates swept away by tsunami restored at Aomori shrine

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NHK’s Aomori station reported on Monday that a ceremony was held on Monday at a shrine in Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, to celebrate the reinstallation of two “kasagi” (wooden crossbeams on torii gates) that were swept away by the tsunami in 2011. The kasagi were found about 7,000 kilometers away on the Oregon coast in 2013 and returned to Hachinohe last October to be reinstalled in their original location. About 60 people, including officials from the shrine and a U.S. organization that helped save the structures, took part in the event.

Stephen Bloom, the CEO of the U.S. organization, said in a speech that it was a miracle that the owner of the kasagi was found, adding that he would like to continue to foster deeper ties between the U.S. and Japan. A local woman at the event said that she shed tears when the gates were washed away, but her heart was filled with gratitude for their restoration.

 

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The regional Kahoku Shimpo and Too Nippo and Asahi’s Aomori edition also reported on the event. Too Nippo and Asahi quoted Sapporo Consulate General Principal Officer JoEllen Gorg as expressing hope that the torii gates will watch over the people of Hachinohe for many years to come as a symbol of friendship between the U.S. and Japan.

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