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Thinking about “h.Imagine” and “Chigusa” on March 11th

3月11日に想う「h.イマジン」と「ちぐさ」

Immerse yourself in jazz tonight too
File.6 Rikuzentakata “h.Imagine”
Mayuko Niimura (Jazz Cafe Chigusa)

Chigusa was closed in 2007 due to local rezoning. In 2010, the three-day archive exhibition ``There was chigusa in Noge!'' sparked calls for a revival, but there was no money or manpower. ``Eventually...'' ``If only we could reopen someday...'' Time continued to pass, with no clarity until the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred on March 11, 2011.

On this day, the tsunami that hit the Tohoku region killed many people and uprooted towns.
While I was in Noge, I saw the disaster situation on the ground, but I felt helpless and unable to do anything.


And April. When the media started reporting the details, I saw a photo. It was an article in the Kanagawa Shimbun that reported on a man standing in the rubble with a record in his hand. The story is about a master who ran a jazz cafe called ``H.Imagine'' in Rikuzentakata, who lost everything in the tsunami, including his shop, audio equipment, and records, but still hopes for a comeback.
Jazz cafe...Record...When I saw those words, I couldn't stand it any longer, so I immediately called the people involved with Chigusa and the town to plan a charity event. They will hold a flea market and collect donations, as well as ask for records to be donated. Although it was a one-day event, we received the cooperation of many people, so we immediately headed to Rikuzentakata with the proceeds, donations, and records. I met the master at the gymnasium where I evacuated and was able to hand it over directly.

We also visited the place where ``H.Imagine'' was located, guided by Mr. Tomiyama, the master. There are still tens of thousands of people missing, and the situation, with no efforts being made to remove the rubble, is indescribable and almost impossible to take seriously. There was no sign of jazz music being played anywhere, and there was a strong odor in the dust that made it impossible to take off my mask.
I put the needle down on a record on the player I had brought from Yokohama, thinking that I would like to play jazz here.
Benny Goodman's "Don't Be That Way."
A cheerful big band and clarinet swing echo loudly through the rubble-covered town. It was a strange sight, but it reminded me of the story of Mamoru Yoshida.

When Chigusa 's founder, Mamoru Yoshida, returned from conscription after the war, the town of Yokohama was a burnt-out area due to a major air raid. He headed straight for the store's ruins, but everything, including the coffee shop and the precious records he had worked so hard to collect, was reduced to scorched earth, leaving no trace. However, the sounds of jazz coming from the Occupation Forces Broadcasting System inspired the desire to restart Jazz Cafe Chigusa .

This story is a passage from ``Yokohama Jazz Story,'' and the image of Mamoru Yoshida at this time and Mr. Tomiyama, who was affected by the disaster in Rikuzentakata, overlapped.

After that, Mr. Tomiyama continued to actively visit other evacuation centers while living in an evacuation center, carrying his phonograph, records, and coffee set. Chigusa 's friends also revisited Rikuzentakata and held a "Visiting Jazz Cafe Chigusa" with Mr. Tomiyama. The event was connected to Yokohama via internet, and the live voices of Mr. Tomiyama and other people standing up for reconstruction were heard and discussed.
At that time, I thought I was sending cheers from Yokohama. However, in hindsight, it may have been Chigusa who was being encouraged. The story of Chigusa , who was revived by Mamoru Yoshida from the scorched earth where she lost everything, must not end.

With the help of many people who love Chigusa , Chigusa was able to reopen on March 11, the year after the earthquake. The reason we chose this day to reopen is to remember the earthquake and the affected areas. At Chigusa , we always report on the current situation of Mr. Tomiyama and other disaster-affected areas every anniversary.

"Jazz" is a slang word that also means "liveliness." It may refer not only to musical meanings, but also to life and life itself.
March 11th, 8 years after the earthquake and 7 years since Chigusa reopened, is approaching Tohoku with jazz music.

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