TOMIOKA, Fukushima -- The voices of graduates singing their alma mater filled the empty building of this town's public high school on May 21, closed since the 2011 nuclear disaster.
Graduates of Tomioka High School have continued to gather once a month since the autumn of 2015 to sing the song of the deserted school. Former principal, 69-year-old Yoshiko Aoki, received inspiration for the project after being moved hearing graduates sing the school song when she visited the grounds after the outbreak of the 2011 nuclear accident. The movement is gradually expanding, as many residents have children or grandchildren who graduated from the school, and are therefore familiar with the song.
Residents are slowly making their return to Tomioka after the evacuation order for the majority of the town was lifted this April. The townspeople intend to continue to sing the song until the day the school can reopen.