Magazine article World Literature Today

Kesennuma, Japan

Magazine article World Literature Today

Kesennuma, Japan

Article excerpt

With its beautiful location on the Pacific coast, Kesennuma was among Japan's top fishing ports-until the March 11, 2011, earthquake. Miyawaki Shoten was the largest bookstore in the city, with 230,000 items and an average of a thousand customers a day. The tsunami washed away all the books, leaving only steel beams behind.

Due to popular demand, by May the founders, Mitsuho and Koko Chida, decided to start a makeshift bookstore, with the aid of major book distributor Tohan. Every Friday through Sunday, the Chidas opened a tent store with ten thousand books in the parking lot of an auto dealer. A prefabricated outlet was scheduled to open at the end of December 2011.

On October 29, the couple co-hosted an open-air festival for children, sponsored by Tohan. Under the clear skies, more than three hundred parents and children attended the event. The festival included numerous activities, including storytelling by children's book author Satoshin and the popular songwriter Takahiro Maeda. …

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