Figure skater Hanyu stages show to mark March 2011 disaster

Professional figure skater Hanyu Yuzuru is staging a three-day event in northeastern Japan to mark 12 years since the region was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami.

The show takes place in the two-time Olympic champion's home city of Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture.

The event, which kicked off on Friday, uses projection mapping to make the rink look like a starry sky.

Olympic gymnastics gold medalist Uchimura Kohei also made an appearance. The two athletes received a huge ovation from about 6,000 spectators.

Hanyu was practicing at a rink in the city when the massive quake struck 12 years ago.

He says the event is inspired by his memory of looking up at the sky on the night of the disaster.

Hanyu told the audience that he hopes his skating gives people hope, like the stars.

He later told reporters that he skates every March 11 with prayers and gratitude in mind.