Back in April at the Blossom Festival on Salt Spring Island, I invited people to weave a “Blossom Banner” to send to the people of Japan as a message of hope for their recovery from the earthquake and tsunami.
When I went to Hawaii later in April, I met with Kenzo and Naoto Jo of SAORI No Mori and presented the Blossom Banner to them to take back to Japan. Sendai was the place that we kept hearing about in the news from Japan after the earthquake and tsunami. I also had a connection to Sendai as I had sent a Peace Banner there in the past for SAORI Peace Weave 2008.
When the banner arrived in Japan, Akiko Jo asked me if it would be alright if the banner went to some other SAORI studios before finally going to Sendai. She told me about one of the SAORI studios in a smaller centre, Ishinomaki (see note below), that had been devastated by the tsunami.
Of course, it would be totally fine with me – and all those who wove it too I’m sure. The intention in the weaving of the banner was to bring hope and good wishes for recovery to the people in Japan – so wherever that may be needed was certainly a good thing and I felt very honoured.
Akiko translated the posts about the banner from my blog into Japanese and Kenzo took the banner to the grand re-opening of the studio.
The owner of the studio had a very difficult time during the tsunami, but really wanted to re-open her studio. From Akiko’s email:
The owner of the studio is Ms. Emiko Oikawa.
The name of her studio is SAORI Weaving Studio “Yokisha”.
“Yokisha” is made of three Kanji (Chinese) characters, and each character means “give”, “joy” and “building”.
So they mean that “the studio gives joy to the visitors”.
Ms. Oikawa is so energetic to re-open her studio only 3 months after the disaster. As you can see on some of the photos, the streets of her neighborhood are still filled with the remaining wreckage, including some boats. The wreckage carried around by the Tsunami reached the height of the traffic lights, and damaged them.
Photos from the opening….
Akiko also says in her note:
Everyone who attended the reception looked at them and were impressed by
the kind thoughts brought with the banner all the way from Canada.
This is a weaving done by Kenzo Jo and his colleagues at Saori no Mori in Osaka, Japan also for the opening. They did double-cloth weaving on both looms, so the width of this tapestry is 240cm (four times 60cm).
We wish Ms. Oikawa and all of the visitors to the studio much hope and joy.”
Now the banner will travel to other studios before going to Sendai.
Thank you to all the weavers who participated in weaving the Blossom Banner – it now continues on it’s relay through Japan!
My website: www.saorisaltspring.com
You can read more about the creation of the Blossom Banner here:
Blossom Festival Weekend
Blossom Banner for Sendai, Japan
Note from Wikipedia on Ishinomaki:
The city was among the most seriously affected by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.] A tsunami about 10 meters high traveled 600 meters inland and destroyed around 80% of the 700 houses in the coastal whaling port of Ayukawa and district of Kadonowaki. Approximately 46% of the city was inundated by the tsunami. One elementary school, Okawa Elementary, was completely destroyed, killing 74 of 108 students and 10 of 13 teachers and staff. As of 17 June 2011 a total of 3,097 deaths had been confirmed in Ishinomaki due to the tsunami, with 2,770 unaccounted for. The earthquake shifted the city southeast and downward, lowering it by as much as 1.2 m in some areas and causing it to flood twice daily at high tide.