Baylor & Tohoku Universities Joint HUMANS OF MINAMISANRIKU Project


JASH is pleased to share that the students of Baylor University and Tohoku University, inspired by the "Humans of New York" photoblog, have joined forces to share the stories of the citizens of Minamisanriku who were impacted by the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami.

Scroll down to learn more about how the project came to be and to watch the newly-released "Humans of Minamisanriku" videos.


The Baylor in Japan (BIJ) Summer Intensive Japanese program began in 2012, merely a year after the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. The BIJ program not only focuses on language learning but also emphasizes community service. In the summer of 2012 following the tsunami disaster, during a time where basic shelters were practically non-existent, we had the privilege of visiting the tsunami-stricken area owing to everyone’s support. We initially arrived with trepidation at Minamisanriku in fear that our presence would further cause burden, but as we met the people and volunteered in the community, the people of Minamisanriku welcomed us with smiles despite the catastrophic devastation. We realized that we needed to go back to Minamisanriku and continue our support. 

We have been visiting Minamisanriku ever since. We were amazed by the resilience and determination of the people of Minamisanriku as we witnessed their town improve year after year. Amidst their unwavering strength, their worst fear was to be forgotten by the rest of the world. It was then we began to consider what we could do to create a lasting impact.

Inspired by the photoblog “Humans of New York”, which has touched the lives of about eighteen million people, Baylor and Tohoku University students in 2017 collaborated to establish the Humans of Minamisanriku project (BIJ’s cultural exchange program with Tohoku University was established in 2015). We dream of showcasing the town of Minamisanriku, its people, and their stories to the world.

Building on our experiences in Minamisanriku, we aspire to grow as human beings and reflect on what it means to serve.

We would like to extend our thanks to the town and residents of Minamisanriku, the “Shuketsu: Disaster Prevention Dream Team and the Shuketsu Assist Team” for their support since 2012, and Mr. Seietsu Sato, the local guide, for leading the students since 2013.

ベイラー・イン・ジャパン(Baylor in Japan:BIJ) 夏季訪日日本語研修旅行は、東北地方太平洋沖地震(東日本大震災)の翌年、2012年より実施しています。このプログラムでは、言語学習だけではなく、被災地支援を始めとした地域奉仕活動にも重点をおいています。震災から1年ほど経過したばかりの2012年夏には、一般宿泊施設もほとんどなく、誰にも迷惑をかけないようにと恐る恐る南三陸町を訪れ、交流やボランティア活動に従事しました。地元の方々は、想像も絶するような体験をしたにもかかわらず、笑顔で私たちを受け入れてくれました。そこで、気づいたことは、一度限りの訪問による自己満足で終わらせずに、同じ場所を毎年訪れ地元の方々との絆を強め継続して地域の支援に取り組むということでした。


BIJの東北大学での交流は2015年から始まりましたが、この、ベイラー大学と東北大学の学生共同プロジェクトであるHumans of Minamisanriku*(ヒューマン・オブ・南三陸)は、2017年に立ち上げられました。Humans of New York からインスピレーションを得て、現在、「Humans of 〜〜」という名前で、世界中様々な国や地域でそこに住む魅力的な人々を取り上げるプロジェクトが実施されています。このプロジェクトもそれに擬え、素敵な南三陸町とそこで暮らす素晴らしい住民の方々を世界中に紹介することを目的としています。