You might be wondering: What is “Tohoku?”
Tohoku is the name of the northern region of the island of Honshu in Japan. It’s where I live and, of course, includes Fukushima Prefecture.
First, let’s look at a map of Japan.
That’s Japan, right? Well, that part in blue is Tohoku.
The name Tohoku is a great name because it means literally: “East North.”
東北 is Tohoku in Japanese. The characters for East and North, stuck together! Very simple.
Wow! Geography is fun!
There are five prefectures in Tohoku. (A prefecture is similar to a state or a province or a territory.)
From the north:
Aomori Prefecture (at very far north)
below that: Akita Prefecture and Iwate Prefecture
below that: Yamagata Prefecture and Miyagi Prefecture
below that: Fukushima Prefecture
You can see that Fukushima Prefecture is the furthest south of all the prefectures in Tohoku.
What is Tohoku like? Well, it is famous for its natural beauty. Many other parts of Japan are densely populated, but not Tohoku. It is abundant with nature. It’s a place for Tokyites to go to get away from the big city.
There are not a lot of other foreigners who live in Tohoku. Well, there are some–but not many!
Sendai City, with about a million people, is the most populous city in Tohoku. But it is not especially large by Japanese standards. Sendai City is only twelfth largest of all the cities in Japan.
Furthermore, Tohoku has its own distinct personality. It has its own languages, its own festivals, its own souvenirs, its own people.
Not all of Tohoku was severely affected by the 3/11 earthquake. The east coast felt it most sharply. But all the people of Tohoku bond together in a spirit of northern fellowship. We’re all in this together!
And furthermore, the earthquake effects reached all over Japan, not just Tohoku. However, it is usually thought of as a Tohoku disaster because Tohoku felt the effects most severely. Nevertheless, people all over Japan are rooting for us in Tohoku!
In the book that I wrote Haruka and her younger brother flee from Fukushima after the earthquake.
Do they go to another part of Tohoku?
Another part of Japan?
Another part of the world?
Another part of the universe?
It’s in the book!
Free images from free-map-Japan.com and mind-system.net and illustrain.com