Message From the President - Japan Earthquake/Tsunami Disaster

March 21, 2011

Dear Railfans and People of America,

I am Naoto Kodama, executive officer of JRM's sister club "Iwate Rail Modelers' Circle (IRC)". Our club is based in Iwate prefecture, which was heavily damaged in the Great East Japan Earthquake. Please take a look at the JRM web site's Sister Club page for details.

The Pacific coast of Iwate received devastating damage from the tsunami generated by the earthquake. Many people lost their lives, and many more are still missing. Those who barely escaped with their lives are living in uncomfortable shelters. Hearts are heavy with the thought, "what will become of us now?"

Railroads were also heavily damaged. Entire station buildings vanished in the tsunamis. There are also places where trains were washed away with passengers on board. The shinkansen platforms in Sendai station are in bad shape, with collapsed ceilings. And many railroad bridges are gone.

Even our railroads, which we boast of being the safest and most punctual in the world, could not win against the power of Mother Nature. But already there are many railroad workers frantically and determinedly working to restore the damaged "best railroads in the world". The IRC has some of these workers among its members; please cheer them on. The work that must be done falls to them to do.

I'd like to share two quotes from founders of railroading in Japan.

"Do not require assistance, assist how you can, and do not seek reward."
- Shinpei Goto (1857-1929)

"It is harder to say 'cannot' than 'can'. To say 'cannot', you must first examine every possibility."
- Hideo Shima (1901-1988)

For background on these two men, please see their Wikipedia entries (,

The media in all parts of the world are expressing surprise and praise for the way Japanese are remaining calm and orderly even in the midst of such a devastating calamity. To us Japanese, this seems only natural -- but we are glad. I think the spirit of Shinpei Goto's words probably resides in the hearts of Japanese. Right now, the shock of the calamity and the sadness of losing homes and families has not subsided, but we will absolutely endeavor to surmount these hardships. We will not give up. Hideo Shima's quote is about this very nature of the Japanese. Of course, we must not take the power of nature lightly. We go forward thinking about what mankind can do while coexisting with nature, and this effort is something we will continue.

The beautiful country loved by many people in the world will be resurrected. Everyone, please support us. We believe that we can rebuild our country and our railroads to be even better than they were before.

Naoto Kodama
Executive officer, Iwate Rail Modelers' Circle







 人のお世話にならぬよう 人のお世話をするように そして報いを求めぬよう
後藤 新平(Shinpei Goto,1857 - 1929)

       島 秀雄(Hideo Shima,1901 - 1988)




岩手鉄道模型仲間の会 事務局長
 児玉 直人

Matthew Davis from JRM and Norishiro Sato from IRC sign the sister agreement. Photo courtesy of IRC.


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