Japan’s Sanriku Coast is a 600 km stretch of coastline on the northern Pacific side of the island well-known for being an area of significant seismic activity. The irregular shape of the coast line is said to amplify the severity of tsunami, and the 15+ meter waves that hit Sanriku after last month’s earthquake were no exception. There are many regions along the coastline where entire villages were washed away, and recovery seems to be nowhere in sight.

Despite this devestation the people of these regions are doing what they can to rebuild their towns. A photographer from Morioka City in Iwate Prefecture, which lies along the middle of the Sanriku Coast, has created a series of posters that capture the unrelenting spirit and determination of these people who have sworn, “We’ll make this a better town than before.”

The series is called the Fukkou Noroshi (Beacon of Reconstruction) Project, and on the website the author writes why he decided to make them:

It started when I asked myself, “What can I do?” I knew I wouldn’t find the answer right away. Even if I came to the conclusion that there’s nothing I could do I wouldn’t blame myself. It’s just the magnitude of what happened.

But I couldn’t stand giving up. There had to be something. I had this unfounded conviction that there is something I could do from here in Morioka for the people on the coast. But no matter how much I thought, I didn’t find the answer.

My phone rang. It was my friend. I realized I wasn’t alone in feeling like this, and suddenly courage welled up within me. We sprung into action, and before I knew it I was surrounded with people acting with me.

‘Tell people what is obvious, in an obvious way.’ I’m still not sure if that’s entirely correct, but it’s the gist of what we need to do. Then we can have faith. Faith that there are thousands of people who feel the same way about this that we do.

The posters show people from the disaster-struck areas along with a short quote that shows powerful conviction. On the side of the poster reads the message, “Rather than grieving with us, we want you to do your own work as hard as you can. We believe that is what will help us revive Iwate, and revive Sanriku.”

The posters can be found on the Fukko Noroshi Project website.

See the video “I love you & I need you Fukushima” for another beautiful example of the strength and perseverance of the Japanese people.

“Until the day I can laugh loudly again.”

“So I can hold my head up in the future to come.”

“We’ve had enough. We’re rebuilding this town.”

“We’ll make this a better town than before.”

Translation: Steven