A WOMAN who was born in the disaster-struck Japanese city of Sendai is holding an event to help the thousands of victims in her native country.
Yoshiko Moss will host a fundraising afternoon which will include a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and Japanese dancers to raise vital cash for the victims of last month’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.
Yoshiko, a retired teacher, was born in and grew up in Sendai, which is one of several ports that were hit by a huge tidal wave following the earthquake which struck on March 11 and measured 8.9 on the Richter scale.
The death toll is estimated to be around 14,000, including those still missing.
Yoshiko said she had breathed a sigh of relief that her family, including her 96-year-old mother, Kimi Noguchi, had escaped tragedy.
But many of her relatives were left without electricity for a week and had no water for two weeks.
Now, she wants to help as many people as possible and is holding the charity event at Shotton Hall’s banqueting suite, in Old Shotton, Peterlee.
Yoshiko, who is married to Sunderland University lecturer Charles, 62, and lives off Durham Way, in Peterlee, said: “There are around 30,000 people in Peterlee and about 14,000 people have died or are missing or have been washed away in Japan.
“That’s about half the population of this town.
“My friend’s aunt is missing, but my relatives escaped the worst.
“But they are frightened because there are aftershocks a few times a day.
“Now the nuclear problem has happened, everyone is having to save energy and food, it’s like wartime.
“When it happened, I was concerned for my mother, but I rang her care home and they had power thanks to a generator. It was a huge relief to hear her voice.”
Yoshiko visits Sendai every year. But Sendai Airport has been declared a disaster zone and she is planning to return once damage to Japan’s travel network is repaired.
She has written to Sendai’s civic chiefs informing them of her plans to support the city’s inhabitants.
Yoshiko met her husband when they were both mature students in Salt Lake City, in America, in 1977.
When they returned to their homelands, they kept in touch by writing and Charles invited Yoshiko to England.
She spent a month with Charles and his family and he proposed by letter in the Christmas of 1977.
Charles flew to Japan, where the couple were married, before they set up home in Wales in 1978.
They then moved to Chesterfield, in Derbyshire, and had a son called Aidan, who is now a 30-year-old Government worker.
The couple have lived in Peterlee for 25 years.
The event, which will feature collection buckets for donations, will take place between 1.30pm and 3.30pm on Thursday, May 12.