A delegation from Rikuzentakata, Japan, met with CEO / Harbor Master Charlie Helms (pictured above, far left), and Harbor Commissioner Rick Shepherd (pictured above, far right). The delegation is visiting as part of a sister-city partnership. The delegation met with representative of the Crescent City Fisherman’s Marketing Association to discuss potential aquaculture opportunities for both cities.
In 2011 a 20-foot vessel named Kamome was swept out to sea from its home port in Rikuzentakata, and eventually washed ashore at Crescent City's South Beach two years later. The vessel became unmoored during the tsunami that devastated Rikuzentakata and much of Japan. The tsunami followed the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan at magnitude 9.1, which tragically resulted in the deaths of over 20,000 people and completely destroyed over 121,778 buildings.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_T%C5%8Dhoku_earthquake_and_tsunami)
Students of Del Norte High School researched the history of the Kamome vessel and discovered it belonged to the Takata High School in Rikuzentakata, Japan. The students then cleaned the vessel and reached out to Rikuzentakata to return it home to Takata High School. That was the start of a relationship between the two schools. They have since engaged in a student exchange program supported by the TOMODACHI Initiative and became sister schools in 2017. The connection has developed so much that Crescent City/Del Norte County and Rikuzentakata have now formally established a sister city relationship.
This week's Japanese delegation visit is part of a cultural exchange funded by a $150,000 grant from the U.S. Embassy. The visit includes workshops for women leaders in business, healthcare and government. Japanese students will also be visiting Del Norte High School to foster their student exchange program.
The sister-city relationship will be featured in a television profile on NBC Sports during the 2020 Olympics (to be held in Tokyo, Japan from July 24th to August 9, 2020). The Crescent City Harbor District is participating in a publicity campaign to promote local tourism and economic development, which is being coordinated by Cindy Vosburg, Executive Director of the Crescent City-Del Norte Chamber of Commerce, and Rob Holmlund of Eureka-based Malex Consulting.
CCHD has pledged $7,500, which will support $15,000 from Crescent City, $10,000 from Del Norte County, $10,000 from the Yurok Economic Development Corp., and $2,500 from the Crescent City Fisherman’s Marketing Association.
Learn more about Rikuzentakata, Japan from this 6 minute video: