Raising Awareness of Tsunami Victims

It is nearly two years since the earthquake and tsunami hit the north east coast of Japan destroying the lives of so many people in the area. Although houses are starting to be rebuilt, the local people are still struggling to come to terms with the loss of loved ones, homes and livelihood.

Remembering the Local People

Cocoro is a charity set up to help local people to cope with the mental and emotional aftermath of the tragedy through aromatherapy care and positive touch. One of Cocoro’s aims is to raise awareness of the plight of the victims through talks and seminars in Japan and UK. The message from Cocoro is that ‘remembering the local people and the disaster’ is getting more important as people are concerned that they will be forgotten by the rest of the world.

May 2012 – Havant, Hampshire, UK

Mary Atkinson, UK representative of Cocoro, spoke to a group of complementary therapist about her experiences of working in the disaster area in April 2012.  Everyone was shocked to hear of the scale of the damage and wanted to talk about how to help. We discussed and demonstrated the creative story massage which we introduced into kindergartens in Rikuzentakata, the area which suffered the most damage in the tsunami.

June 2012 and February 2013 – Tokyo, Japan, IMSI International Medical Spa

Takiko Ando, founder of Cocoro, introduced the work of the charity at a seminar which was also attended by Keiko Sugawara, local co-ordinator, Kouichi Kimura, local supporter and Mayu Yamamoto, therapist. This provided an ideal opportunity for discussion of the current situation from different points of view and the desperate need for mental support care in the disaster area. The conclusion was the local people were not asking for money or goods, but help with emotional problems through relaxation and gentle touch.

June 2012 – St Wilfrid’s Hospice, Chichester, UK

Mary Atkinson, UK representative of Cocoro, gave a talk to the staff and patients at a local hospice. There many questions raised and a general agreement that most people have forgotten about the tsunami and we need to work hard to raise awareness of the way in which the local people are still suffering. One patient said that the talk had prompted her to write to friends in Japan and to continue her links with Japanese students.

August 2012 – Japan Society Southern Counties, Petersfield, UK

Mary and Richard Atkinson, shared their experiences of working with Cocoro Charity with members of this friendly society set up for people with an interest in Japan and Japanese culture. You can read a full report by clicking on this link – Coroco – Talk at Japan Society.

August 2012 – St Peter’s Fellowship, Selsey, UK

This local group, many of whom were elderly, really enjoyed joining in the Smiling Flowers massage which Mary and Takiko had written as part of Cocoro’s Healing Touch for Children of the Tsunami project. You can see photos by clicking this link Story Massage – Not Just for Children!

February 2013 – Royal British Legion Women’s Group, Selsey, UK

Mary Atkinson talked about the continuing plight of the tsunami victims and the importance of remembering them in our thoughts. The enjoyed taking part in the Smiling Flowers Story Massage.

February 2013 – Fishbourne Evening WI Group, near Chichester, UK

The on-going suffering of the tsunami victims was the topic for discussion – and many agreed that they did not realise the problems facing the local people in the struggle to rebuild their lives. The group offered their thoughts to the people and suggested organising a fund-raising activity to support the work of Cocoro charity.

March 2013 – Japan Ecole de Aromatherapie in Osaka

Takiko Ando, founder of Cocoro Charity, talked to aromatherapists about the new project to train local people in Rikuzentakata to offer simple aromatherapy treatments such as hand or foot massage. These trained ‘Aroma Care Workers’ will be able to continue the work of Cocoro bringing comfort and support through aromatherapy and positive touch.


May 2103 – Selsey Ladies Group, Selsey UK

Members of the group listened to Mary’s talk on the current situation in Rikuzentakata and happily joined in the story massage. They were keen to ask questions and support the work of Cocoro.

Would you like to support Cocoro? 

We are always happy to visit your group to talk about our work in the tsunami area and how story massage has made such a difference to the local people. We also welcome any donations – large or small – to help with the on-going work. You can find our more by visiting the Cocoro UK website.



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