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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > July/Aug 2019 > On the line

On the line

Depicting the 2011 Tohoku tsunami and the story of a phone booth that helped survivors deal with their grief fell to first-time picture-book illustrator Rachel Wada

IN 2011, AN EARTHQUAKE, the largest in Japan’s history, struck the Tohoku region of the country. That quake set off a tsunami, leaving almost 16,000 dead and more than 450,000 homeless. A year earlier, a man by the name of Itaru Sasaki had built a phone booth in his garden with a disconnected line in order to “speak” with his cousin, who had passed away. After the tsunami hit, thousands visited the phone booth to speak with their lost loved ones as a way of dealing with their own grief.

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