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Translating a book "Gone with Tsunami", about a firefighter at the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami 2011

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Translating a book "Gone with Tsunami", about a firefighter at the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami 2011

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What's this Challenge about?

Mr Seietsu Sato, the deputy fire chief of Minamisanriku at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake, talked about his life-saving activities, earthquake disaster activities, and regrets for his late wife he could not save while he saved thousands of people. I would like to convey the importance of life to the world by publishing an English translation of "A Love Letter to My Late Wife", which he wrote as his memoir of 10 years. We need your support to publish the translation!

For two and a half years after the Earthquake, Seietsu Sato has been silent, unable to think or talk about the disaster. A group of students from Baylor University in Texas who visited the small town of Kesennuma opened his heart. Mr Sato realized his mission as a "Kataribé-Truthteller" and started to lecture both in Japan and abroad. He continued to write a love letter to his wife, whom he could not save, based on his notes and photos from that time, believing that memories fade but "records" remain.
The book is a valuable record with the many photographs taken at the time and the deep thoughts of a firefighter from a village. We shouldn't keep this only in Japanese! I started translating just by myself with the author's permission.
But as you can guess, we found it costs with many expenses involved in translation and publication. Could you please support us?

How the challenge started

I have been involved in international support for a long time using my linguistic skills. Right after the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011, I worked in the official support projects supporting foreign residents in Japan and evacuation centres in Fukushima, where doctors visited from overseas, which I sincerely thank them! Amid these activities, I worked as an interpreter for a lecture by Seietsu Sato. Mr Sato was the deputy chief of the Kesennuma Fire Department at the Earthquake and saved thousands of people. However, he still feels remorse for not saving his beloved wife and blames himself. In response to Mr Sato's desire to deliver his book, "Thoughts on the Last 10 Years of the Great East Japan Earthquake: A Love Letter Dedicated to My Late Wife," which he wrote over the past ten years, saying, "Memories are forgotten, but written records remain," to the people who are supporting us around the world, I have been working on the translation of the book alone. It takes time, while Sato-san has a strong desire to publish this year, and we agree to post just half of the book (the first volume) on March 11, 2022. He has an urge as if he hears his wife's word. It's a promise he has made to those who have supported him domestically and internationally. With your support, we'll make it happen!

Japanese original (Amazon) https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/4600006283
Interview with Seietsu Sato in commemoration of his publication (Courtesy of Onorin)


Words from the author


With this thought in mind, on March 11, 2021, 10 years after the Great East Japan Earthquake, I self-published a book titled "Love Letter to My Late Wife," a record of 10 years of my activities. Through lectures and volunteer visits in and out of Japan, I have conveyed the importance of life and the spirit of emergency life-saving to people. I thank a brave professor and students at Baylor University. I received requests from many supporters to publish it in English, so Prof. Noriko Toyoda has started a translation project for me. We would be grateful if you could help us with the translation and publishing costs for our e-book to be published worldwide on March 11, 2022.
Thank you very much for your interest in this challenge. I would be grateful if you could take a moment to think about the importance of life once again. I hate the Earthquake, I hate the tsunami that swallowed my wife, and I hate the COVID-19 virus. But we must look forward and live. Let me pray for peaceful and happy days for all people. Prayers 合掌
Seietsu Sato 佐藤誠悦

(Hokkaido Shimbun Tokachi edition, March 12, 2014)



The scene at the time of the disaster (photo by Seietsu Sato)

Messages from Kesennuma - the local town


The book (original Japanese) gave us the courage to move forward in a time of fear!
Thank you for the inspiration and courage. Our whole family is here to support you. .    From the Kimura family



Please tell the world how important life is!
My husband and I will be rooting for you!
From Kimura

Good luck, Seietsu-san.
We'll be cheering you on with our spouses from our hometown of Kesennuma!
Keiji and Mikiko Kimura

Please convey to the world the importance of protecting life. We are cheering for you from our hometown of Tomezawa."

Atsuko-san's smile on the book cover tells everything! We are really moved. Sato-san, please take care of yourself and keep going! - High School alumni (Miura, Hatakeyama, Iwabuchi, Sato) from Sendai


Message from Texas


This is a powerful story about a fireman losing his wife while he rescued victims from the tsunami. The English edition will inspire the world for the importance of lives. We should all learn for our future.
Linda Hasegawa Conroe, TX USA supporter of Seietsu Sato
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Started Kataribé (truth-telling), thanks to America

For two and a half years, Mr Sato was silent, didn't talk about the disaster at all with his empty mind. Volunteers from Baylor University in Texas were the catalyst for changing that. The villagers were stunned with joy at the volunteer work of these young people far away from the United States!

Video of Baylor University's volunteer activities


Dr. Yuko Prefume
Senior Lecturer in Japanese
Baylor University
It has been ten years since the unprecedented Great East Japan Earthquake. While reconstructions are underway, the emotional scars of those affected will never heal.

I support this project to translate the memoir of Mr. Seietsu Sato, a victim of the disaster, into English and share it with more people around the world. I hope that the memories and lessons learned from the disaster will not fade and will be preserved for future generations.


Seietsu Sato's are invited both in Japan and abroad because his story is a record of the disaster, and it is a message of thoughts of a human at the time and the importance of disaster prevention, life-saving, and life for future generations.

The Mission of Kataribe, the truthteller

This is a record of the Earthquake and Tsunami by one firefighter in Kesennuma. It is a "love letter" to his wife" filled with his feelings for her. And it is a precious record of life-saving activities at the time of the Earthquake, along with many photos..

If Internet search for "佐藤誠悦" will find many results in the TV archives and newspaper articles. He's been honest for his mission.

Even so, he fears the records will otherwise be forgotten and wrote the book to share, now not only in Japan but also in the world. This video was created by students in junior high school at the time.
Mission of a Kataribé, the truthteller (Created by Team VeryGuut)



I would like to deliver this to the world by translating it into English.
Sato-san is going around Kesennuma, asking people the copyrights, "'Cuz the book is gonna be in English, do ya mind if I use ya photo again? " - "Huh? From this small town to the world?!" The locals were surprised and delighted, and some of them even shed tears of joy.

On March 11, 2022, the book will be published. If we don't get enough funds, we might reduce pages. But we will publish and offer to the Buddhist altar for his wife.

Thank you for reading this far.
We hope that the world will be a place where we can cherish each life, protect it, and take care of each other.
Praying for your safety, health, and peace.

Estimation of the fundraising


Breakdown: e-book (reflow type) editing JPY200,000(US$2,000), translation and proofreading 450,000 yen (US$4500), sample printing JPY150,000 (US$1500), expenses (crowdfunding fee, return postage, office expenses, etc.) JPY200,000 (US$2000)

If we can exceed the challenge amount, we would like to use it to pay for creating the second (last) volume.
We expect additional expenses of US$5,000 for the next volume of eBook and printed (POD) book. Schedule: the second volume of the e-book is to be published on December 5, 2022. Paper book (POD) for the combined the 1st and the 2nd volumes to be published on March 11, 2023.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with us. Your comments will also encourage us to go forward! Thank you.