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Holding on to hope in Japan: 'I still keep calling my sister's phone, hoping she may pick it up'

Kuni Takahashi

Fumie Sato, 62, stands on her mother and sister's building in MInamisanriku in Miyagi, Japan on Thursday. Sato's younger sister, Yukie, was killed as she was trying to save her mother-in-law. Neither survived.

Kuni Takahashi, a photojournalist based in Mumbai, returned to his native Japan after the earthquake and tsunami. He was born in Sendai, one of the most devastated towns on the northern coast.

I approached Fumie Sato as she stood and stared at the foundation of the house in Minamisanriku-cho in Miyagi prefecture where her mother and sister ran a hair salon. They all survived except for her younger sister, Yukie, who on the way to the evacuation center swung by another house to try to save her mother-in-law. Neither made it back.

“I survived and my sister didn’t. I feel very guilty somehow. It’s hell when you die but also, it’s hell when you survive,” she said.

I noticed that Sato was holding a mobile phone.

“I still keep calling my sister’s phone, hoping she may pick it up,” she says.

 

More photos from Kuni Takahashi on photoblog.

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