The March 11 natural disasters that ravaged the Tohoku region of Japan early last year forced most local industries to cease operations. Despite the difficulties, Masashi Hijikata, the owner of the Araemishi publishing company, continued producing his quarterly magazine, the Sendaigaku, or Study of Sendai. According to The Mainichi Daily News, Japan’s third largest daily, the Earthquake and Tsunami not only destroyed his home and company office but also damaged facilities necessary for printing. Hijikata’s efforts during the aftermath have since led to him becoming the recipient of the “Shuppan Azusakai Shinbunsha Gakugei Bunkasho” award for acclaimed publishers.

Initially planning to delay the April issue, Hijikata was compelled to continue working after attending the funeral of a close friend who died during the disasters. The publisher recalls the poignant moment this way: “When I carried his coffin, I made up my mind that all we could do was continue publishing.” He sought contributions from people connected with the Tohoku, such as novelist Kotaro Isaka. According to Hijikata, his goal for focusing on pieces by such writers was to compel natives to think for themselves, providing them with locally sourced information they could use instead of what originated in Tokyo.

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The Manichi Daily News