OIJ #11: Mokuto (Silent Prayer)

Today marks the 8th year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. At 2:46 PM, the Japanese people stand up wherever they are and offer silent prayers for the victims of the natural disaster. It’s the time the 9.0 earthquake struck the Tohoku area but felt in many parts of the country.

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I was inside the Teachers’ Room at Kodaira No. 6 Junior High School in Tokyo when this double disaster happened on March 11, 2011. Memories of it are still vivid in my mind.  I remember posting on my Facebook before my iPhone battery went off:  the longest and strongest earthquake I ever felt!    I treasure related accounts of my students, their family members, fellow teachers, and church friends.

A year after, I joined the students, teachers, and staff of Kodaira No. 3 Junior High School to practice “mokuto” for the very first time.   Since then, I observe “mokuto” to remember 3.11 and consider it OIJ as it became a unique practice throughout the country.

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I actually don’t know this Japanese tradition and never saw on media until I came to Japan. During “mokuto,” the atmosphere is very emotional as everybody bow at the same time, very quiet, solemn and freeze for about 1 minute. I don’t know what they really pray and who they pray to…My silent prayers addressed to my Creator God is for the salvation of the living and comfort to those affected by the calamities.

Revisiting what happened and encouraging the viewers to keep praying for the Japanese nation.

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