Ami Uozumi found herself in quite a predicament after the Kumamoto earthquakes in April 2016.
With no power, no food, and no family to lean on, she didn’t know how she’d survive. Then her neighbors, though also effected by the earthquake, saved her. They shared their home with Uozumi and her roommate, gave them food, and helped them recover from the trauma.
During this time, the two had to come up with creative ways to cook without water or gas to cook. Her story and the methods she used to survive have been turned into a manga called Hisaimeshi: Kumamoto yori, which translates to “Meals for the disaster-affected: from Kumamoto.”
The autobiographical new manga covers the first 10 days following the earthquake.
Uozumi and her roommate, Den-chan, tried to survive in their apartment, but without power or water they had no choice but to relocate to a community center. There they were given instant miso soup and retort-pouched “rafute” simmered pork by helpful strangers. Their generosity touched the pair deeply. She calls these generous meals “hisaimeshi”, and they would later become the centerpiece of the manga she would soon write.
Several months later, media covering began to wane. This saddened and worried Uozumi, as victims were still struggling to rebuild their lives. In order to bring attention back to their strife, she began writing her story in manga form. Though she intended the series to teach others how to survive after an earthquake, other earthquake victims saw it as a sign of hope. Inspired, she continued with new episodes.
Uozumi had this to say about her work, “It was the first time for me to feel this strongly that I must be sincere about my work. I felt as if it went out of my hands and became something public.”
The series ended after seven episodes and can be purchased from the publisher’s website, MAG Garden. It’s in Japanese, but with a little luck we’ll get a translated version soon.