We received an English translation from the US Embassy of the Nikkei newspaper article by Hiroki Kuniya:
“There is a fund set up by the parents of a woman who died in the devastating tsunami following the Great East Japan Earthquake. Taylor Anderson came from America to teach English at local nursery, elementary and junior high schools in Ishinomaki. In remembrance of Taylor, who aspired to become a bridge between Japan and the U.S., her parents launched the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund.
The fund collects children’s books written in English, using contributions made to it and sets up the Taylor Anderson Memorial Reading Corner, or “Taylor bunko,” at local schools in Ishinomaki. It supports reading activities and invites students in the quake-hit region to the U.S. It also sends out American students to Japan for exchange. It inherits the will of Taylor and is conducting grassroots activities in a steady fashion.
Last year, her younger brother, Jeffery, also took up the teaching occupation in Japan and began teaching English in Nara Prefecture. When I asked him what made him come to Japan, he answered that his sister used to say “It’s wonderful to have teaching experience in Japan and you should try it.”
It is unfortunate that the fund is considering downsizing its activities nearly six years after the disaster. Nonetheless Taylor’s parents have a strong passion for continuing exchange programs that bring together Japanese and American children and helping children in the quake-hit region learn English.
The bookshelves of the Taylor bunko were built by Shinichi Endo, a local woodworker. Now his wife, Ryoko, is undertaking a project to make greeting cards in the quake-hit region together with local women. The cards are decorated with beautiful kimono cloth. They plan to ship these to the U.S. for sale and donate a portion of proceeds to the fund. The couple also lost their three children in the tsunami.
The new movements budding in the quake-hit region are being propelled by the in-depth exchange of the hearts and minds of the parents.”