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Web Feature Posted March 17, 2011

Post-Earthquake Update: SPU Alumni in Japan

By Hannah Notess (

Japan, soon after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami.
The day after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, the city of Sendaishi, the capital of Miyagi Prefecture. Photo by Official U.S. Navy Imagery.

More than 100 Seattle Pacific alums were in Japan when the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck Japan on March, 11, 2011. With the help of Laila Olsen Sharpe ’73, associate director of alumni and parent relations, Response is offering the SPU community a place to share their stories and updates.

And if you know of any update on members of the SPU community in Japan, share it here and read others' updates. A few readers have already provided updates via the Seattle Pacific University Alumni Facebook group:

Donald Bridges ’90 writes: “I am a 1990 SPU grad and Air Force Chaplain stationed at Misawa Air Base Japan, 2-3 hour drive north of the epicenter. We are now in a full-out humanitarian operation to assist the Japanese. Keep the prayers coming.”

Yoshi Kawano ’99 writes: “My family are all fine. I contacted some of Japanese SPU alumni and so far they were also fine since most of them live in Tokyo, or the west part of Tokyo. Nevertheless, last night in Tokyo, most of the trains were down for hours which made people walk many miles home. This is the biggest earthquake Japan has ever experienced. I had to stay until 2 a.m. at my office, and then took the subway to the nearest station to my home, then walked around 1 hour back home.”

More Updates

Yumi Kanda '97

Posted March 22, 2011, 11:24 a.m.

My family and I are OK; we have no damage from the earthquake. When it happened, I was at work in a small lesson room where I teach English to children. It was a very long earthquake, but I didn't think it was that devastating one. When I went home and watched TV, I was really horrified. It has been said for a long time that Shizuoka prefecture, where I live, and surrounding area are going to have tremendously huge earthquake sometime in the future. When it comes, it will be worse than this one.

People have been sensitive and buying a lot of things we need in everyday life. It's hard to find rice, drinking water, toilet paper, and things like that at stores now. I heard that it's happening in Tokyo too. Maybe it's worse in Tokyo.

Right now, as you probably know, we have a big trouble in Fukushima nuclear power plant. Now it's not just a problem of Japan, and other countries, especially the US, are helping us on it. I really hope and pray that things are going to work well. It seems to have been very difficult to do any works because of radioactive intensity. I've thought about things I can do for the people suffering and working in the area, in addition to giving money. I figured that prayer is the best thing I can do, and it's my responsibility too. It's nothing new; it's fundamental, right?


Add your update

Do you know of any SPU-Japan news update? Share it here in this moderated board.