Thoughts on Disaster Area Visits from Iwata Karen(AKB48 Team 4) and Miyawaki Sakura(HKT48 Team H)

I came across some 2chan posts put together by AKB48matome praising members of AKB48 that visited the disaster stricken area of Miyagi and two of the younger members of AKS posted their thoughts on the trip.


Iwata Karen-Iwata Karen is originally from the Sendai area which is one of the areas that were affected by the tsunami.

Today, I visited the disaster stricken area of Natori City in Miyagi. This is the second time I’ve visited the disaster area but I used to go to Natori city weekly for musical lessons when I was living in Sendai. I was already filled with deep emotions coming back to my hometown but I couldn’t hold it in and cried for the first time visiting the disaster area when my musical class friends held a banner that said, “Karen, Welcome Back!”.

 My friend that I wrote a letter to in the movie came as well and she said this…

 “Karen, do you remember what you told me at the temporary house after my house was washed away?”

‘I’m going to be in AKB and become famous! I will come back with the other members for sure!! Wait for me!!!’

“Thank you for fulfilling your promise.”


I could not stop crying.

Neither my dreams or the promise I made with her are over.

I have to do my best and make my hometown smile!!!

I felt that way again.

I’m glad I’m in AKB.

This is the sky of Natori city.


Miyawaki Sakura-Miyawaki Sakura is a relatively unknown idol due to the fact that she is a part of the newly formed Team H for HKT48. Here are her thoughts and experiences from the trip.

Good evening!

This is Miyawaki Sakura!

Today I visited the disaster stricken area of Natori city in the Miyagi prefecture with my senpais, Itano Tomomi-san, Watanabe Mayu-san, Yokoyama Yui-san, Takeuchi Miyu-san, Nakamata Shiori-san, and Iwata Karen-san.

I was a bit worried when I heard that I would be visiting the disaster area.

We held the disaster relief show on March 11th and I decided that day that I would do what I can do to support the area but I wasn’t sure if I was the right person to go…

But, it would be pointless for me to go deliver energy and courage if I have a worried look on my face! I was then determined to visit the disaster area.

When I reach the disaster area, people from young children to the elderly greeted us with smiles.

Although it was only for a short amount of time, the people who saw us were genuinely having fun.

We held a handshake event at the end and I received many words of support like, “do your best” and “I’m supporting you” from the people.

The people living in the disaster area are much more optimistic than I first thought.

I think that Japanese people have a small place in their hearts that are wounded deeply that won’t soon disappear.

We sing and dance to deliver smiles and courage and I decided to do whatever I can to help heal their wounds and to help revive the area as soon as possible.

If it’s for someone and if there is a stage, I will continue to sing and dance.

After the handshake event, as we were getting on the bus, we were stopped by a women who asked us to light an incense for her son.

The woman begged us to do her this one life-time favor.

If there was anything we could help with, we were willing to help.

We headed to a temporary house and noticed how cramped it was.

The size of the house was about the same size as a place for a single person to live in. There were four people living there and have been for over a year.

There was a dog in the room.

The woman held her precious dog and said, “this is the only belonging I was able to bring from my house” and smiled.

She told me that her house was washed away by the tsunami and that her son was also caught in the tsunami and passed away.

Her son was the same age as me and was a big fan of AKB48.

On the family altar, there was a picture of her son and a AKB48 desk pad which I signed.

I look over at the woman as I was signing the pad and she says, “Look at how nice people are even after you pass on. Isn’t this great?” while smiling with tears in her eyes.

“My son begged me to buy AKB goods all the time and collected stuff like this desk pad. Although everything was washed away.”

The woman was smiling the entire time while she was talking.

We started to cry after hearing her story and she gave us words of encouragement.

We’re the ones that are supposed to give them energy but she gave us a smile instead.

We visited the area that was devastated by the tsunami afterwards.

There was literally nothing there.

An area that was a housing district showed no signs of what it looked like before and it now looked like a plain grass field.

There’s a small hill at the center of the field and there is a prayer spot for people to pray for a speedy revival.

When I looked around from the hill, it looked as if everything was destroyed by an air raid.


There is no way I can write down everything I learned from visiting the disaster area.

Then I noticed something.

The dirt was sparkling. I’m sure it was just from the glass being shattered everywhere.

The tsunami took many lives and saddened many people but the ocean was sparkling.

I’m sure there is a deep wound somewhere within their hearts’ but everyone’s smiles and eyes were sparkling.

The disaster area was sparkling.

The disaster area is although slowly, but surely taking one step at a time to revive.

I will start living each day with my full commitment and with no regrets starting tomorrow.

I pray that the disaster area is revived as soon as possible.

Sakuras bloom


Thank you for reading and I apologize in advance for any translation errors or if I worded some words in an awkward manner. These two girls mean nothing but best for the area and hopefully I was able to capture most of that. I’m not an emotional person at all and I can’t remember the last time I cried out of sadness but reading and translating these two posts made me teary-eyed. If you see anymore statements from idols on the disaster, let me know. I will do my best to translate more stuff like this. Thanks for reading and please remember that they’re still struggling over there even after a year. We may not see it everyday since we follow idols and they seem to be happy and well on TV but the northeast area of Japan still needs help. If you have anything to spare, please donate to the appropriate charities.

Thanks, Anthony

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  1. Iwata Karen = FANTASTIC!!

  2. Thanks. That was a touching read.

  3. Thanks for translating. I think Miyawaki Sakura also wrote about her experience on the day of the disaster before she wrote this post which I thought was just as moving as this one.

  4. Thanks for translating man. I don’t know if you can allow me to share this my fandom. I felt that i should ask you first. anyway thanks a lot man. Its realy useful I want to share you guys some vid about Iwata karen
    The only point for me to show this because she is good at song solo song so do you think that she will become the ace of team 4 or something because I know that Tron and you guys kind of pay attention to Shimazaki Haruka a lot. So I want to hear some of you guys opinion. And one more think is about the face representation. What should team 4 member should come up with to try to put their name on the map to gain the same reputation as the senior 3 team A, K, B. Team 8 just start so we save it for later

  5. Great job finding these gems and translating them. Two very touching stories. Unlike you, I’m very emotional (the male Takamina, perhaps.) but I didn’t get teary eyed from this read.

    Rather, I felt a sense of sadness that quickly changed and up’d my spirits. This line hit me hard :

    “She told me that her house was washed away by the tsunami and that her son was also caught in the tsunami and passed away.

    Her son was the same age as me and was a big fan of AKB48.”

    I think anyone with the interests to read this in the first place, can relate to that paragrah on some level. It conjures up emotions in me for a few reasons. One being, its a very saddening coincidence that she’d visit the memorial of a kid her age that just happened to be a big AKB48 fan.

    And the fact that they were the same age emphisizes the two different worlds they were living in, yet in the end are brought together. I think every fan wants to be known by whatever person, or group they’re idolizing in some way or another. And now, although its after his death, he now shares this connection with AKB.

    I’m not giving much thought into writing what I’m thinking in a clear manor, but.. to put it bluntly, if there’s a heaven I’m sure that this kid is happy to have his story known by his idol group.

    And the other girl, her story was neat. I love that she kept her promise! The story of a Genki Musume on a mission who made a promise come true, truly something out of a Manga isn’t it?

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