Kamaishi: The Resilient City of Steel *RERUN
Kamaishi, in Iwate Prefecture in northeastern Japan is home to a steelworks with a history of 130 years, and is known as a "city of steel." Before the end of World War II, Kamaishi suffered a direct attack by the Allied Forces because of its steelworks. Then came the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. This is the story of Kamaishi, a city that has experienced many adversities, but has managed to rise above them.

A City of Steel

The Kamaishi Steelworks has a history of 130 years. About 1,000 people work there now, but at its peak around 1960, the number of employees exceeded 10,000. There is a shrine worshiped by the men working at the steelworks. The shrine's torii, or shrine gates, are made of special steel that prevents deterioration from weathering using a protective rust. Most shrine lanterns are made of stone or wood, but here they're made of steel, and even the offering box, where people throw in money to thank the deity, is made from steel.

Dream of the "Northern Iron Men"

The Nippon Steel Kamaishi rugby team was once known as the "Northern Iron Men." They won the Japanese championships in 1985 and stayed as Japan's No. 1 team for 7 years in a row. The Unosumai district in Kamaishi was attacked by the tsunami during the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. But at the once vacant lot, construction is underway for a new stadium, which has been selected as one of the venues for the 2019 Rugby World Cup to be held in Japan in September.

Obu Daiko, Taiko Drumming in Spring

About 50 houses were washed away by the 2011 tsunami at Hongo district, Toni Town, in the southern part of Kamaishi. A spring festival held every 3 years under cherry blossoms had been canceled after the tsunami, but was finally resumed in 2018. During the festival, the drums are played on floats. The twisting of the drum sticks expresses the cherry blossoms as they fall from the trees. The drumming style is called Obu Daiko. "Obu" literally means "dance of cherry blossoms."