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PSU holds vigil in support of victims of Japan’s tragedy
Author: Scott Gallagher
Posted: March 28, 2011
Japan_vigil_10.jpg
Japanese Student Society President Kei Miyajima and Japanese student Shihomi Seki     
(Portland, Ore.) March 28, 2011 - Around 150 people attended a vigil at PSU today to give the campus and 
community an opportunity to come together in support of everyone affected by the earthquake and tsunami in
Japan.
Amid discussion of one of the worst disasters to hit Japan since WWII, there was some positive news. Paul 
Taylor, president of the Japan America Society of Oregon (JASO), announced that they had already raised
$500,000 in donations "mostly from individuals like you, me, and others who care about what happened 5,000
miles away."
President Wim Wiewel opened the event by noting that PSU has around 185 students from Japan enrolled. 
"We have deep connections with our Japanese community here and in Japan, and I'm proud of the role our
students have taken to support them," said Wiewel. He went on to say that the tragedies aren't just "happening
in a far away country. It's happening here to our friends, our colleagues, and our students."
The Oregon Consul General for Japan, Takamichi Okabe, spoke quietly and succinctly. "Eleven thousand 
counted dead. Seventeen thousand missing. Half-a-million homeless." And they know that the death toll will
continue to rise. But he was grateful to the students, to PSU for their encouragement and support. "It is my
duty to take this message to Japan--don't lose hope. People here who are caring very much about you."
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Koto performance by Yukiko Vossen
The audience enjoyed a Koto musical performance and was then invited to show their support by writing a 
note and adding it to the prayer trees on stage.
Possibly the most telling statement came from Shihomi Seki, an international student from Japan studying at 
PSU whose family lived in the tsunami ravaged area of Sendai: "We are glad to hear that Japan is not alone."
About Portland State University (PSU) 
Located in Portland, Oregon, PSU has about 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students. PSU's motto is
"Let Knowledge Serve the City," and we provide every student with opportunities to work with businesses,
schools and organizations on real-world projects. Our downtown campus exhibits PSU's commitment to
sustainability with green buildings, while sustainability is incorporated into much of the curriculum.