People in Japan responded to the remark with a heartwarming hashtag that immediately went viral, showing support for the Tohoku region.

Masahiro Imamura, the Japanese cabinet minister in charge of reconstruction in the devastated Tohoku region following the 2011 tsunami and Fukushima disaster, made news recently after shouting at a Japanese journalist and storming out of a press conference while wearing an Evangelion anime necktie.

After apologising for the incident, Imamura made headlines again on Wednesday, this time for saying “It’s a good thing it (the tsunami) was in Tohoku, because if it had hit Tokyo there would have been massive damage”. Imamura was forced to resign after making the insensitive remark, with the Prime Minister apologising to the nation and the people in the affected region.

The offensive statement, which contained the Japanese words “東北でよかった” (“Tohoku de yokatta”, meaning “It’s a good thing it was in Tohoku”), quickly made news around the country through television, radio and newspaper reports. On social media however, people decided to bond together in response, using the hashtag #東北でよかった to show their support for the region with images that served as better representations of the statement “It’s a good thing it was in Tohoku”.

▼ For this Instagram user, a beautiful stretch of sakura in Aomori Prefecture is one of the many good things from Tohoku.

This Twitter user took the opportunity to remind everyone of the amazing rice field art produced in Aomori.

The famous Aomori Nebuta Festival, one of Tohoku’s “Three Big” festivals, featured heavily as one of the great things to happen in the region.

#東北でよかった まさに今、東北旅行中です! #福島 #宮城 #岩手 #青森 東北最高!

A post shared by のりっくま (@norikkkuma) on

▼ Another of the Three Big Tohoku festivals is the Tanabata Festival in Sendai.

Japanese Olympic gold-medal winning ice skater Yuzuru Hanyu also hails from Sendai Prefecture in Tohoku.

This stunning shot of Ginzan Onsen in Yamagata Prefecture is definitely one of the great things about Tohoku.

#東北でよかった #東北で良かった #流行りに乗ってみる

A post shared by misako nakaguchi (@gucchan.335) on

▼ As are the snowy slopes of Yamagata’s Zao Onsen Ski Resort.

This Fukushima devotee reminded us of the beautiful story of the hula-dancing troupe who saved the town of Iwaki City and inspired a popular movie.

▼ From bowls of Wanko Soba in Iwate Prefecture…

▼ To the fresh cherries of Yamagata Prefecture…

With all this love for the region, we’re sure Sendai’s feudal warlord Date Masamune would be looking down in pride at the gesture of support from people around the country.

Six years may have passed since Tohoku was hit by the disaster, but people around the country have not forgotten the cataclysmic events that happened on that day.

Despite the Reconstruction Minister’s gaffe, the heartwarming response of support for Tohoku from people online has only served to remind us of all the beauty the region has to offer. If you have any photos from the area, you can show your support by adding your image to the growing collection with the hashtag #東北でよかった. It truly is a beautiful region!

Source: Net Lab
Featured image: Instagram/g.yoshimura