True stories of ordinary people
struggling to rebuild their lives
after the Great East Japan earthquake
and tsunami of 2011.

Courage and compassion
in the face of adversity


  • Narrator: Norika Fujiwara / Koichi Yamadera
  • Director: Mia Yoon    Co-Director/DP:Takeshi Tsuji
  • Producer:Yumiko Masuda   Associate Producer: Hideyuki Okamoto   Supervisor: Shizuo Suzuki
  • Composed by: Hiroshi Nishio  Edited by: Yuichi Iwakiri  Music Director: Yasufumi Hikichi  Music by: Ryuji Iuchi
  • Title calligraphy: Fuyo Kobayashi  Promotion: Mai Kuroda
  • Produced by:Kokoro Film Partners  Produced and Distributed by:Heisei Project Inc.
  • Sponsored by: Sekisui Chemical Co., Ltd./Daiwa Lease Co.,Ltd./XEBIO GROUP/NIRAKU Co.,Ltd/Naito Kogyosho/Inovv Inc./TOTO/Hiramoto Shoten CO, Ltd.
  • 81 min./2017/Digital/5.1ch/16:9

Supported by the Reconstruction Agency, the principal agency of the Government of Japan tasked with the reconstruction process in the Tohoku area
Special selection by Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
Special recommendation by Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare / Recommended by EIRIN (Film Classification and Rating Organization)

Life endures. How resilience, fortitude, and benevolence prevail after an unimaginable disaster. Six years after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, in the beautiful land of Tohoku, on Japan’s North-Eastern coast, people stricken by immeasurable loss never give up moving forward.

Some things are hard to put into words…

  • This film successfully portrays
    the victims’ courage in the face
    of this catastrophic disaster
    (60’s, Male, Saitama, Japan)
  • It wasn’t simply a moving story.
    For the first time in my life,
    I couldn’t stop crying in the cinema.
    You can feel the warmth and courage
    of the people of Tohoku
    (50’s, Male, Tokyo Japan)
  • We were all devastated.
    We all suffered.
    We were all at rock bottom.
    But now everyone is trying to
    live for today.
    A moving testament.
    (30’s, Female, Chiba Japan)

Life goes on: The tale of the revival of a community

Six years on from the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami disaster of March 11, 2011. In the heavily devastated area, many people are trying to move forward with their lives while feeling a profound sense of loss or trauma. A couple decides to build a community center on the site where they lost their three children. An oyster farmer, discovering the mineral-rich sea bed produced in the wake of the tsunami, devises a new approach to oyster cultivation. A hotel manager keeps memories alive by recounting stories from his community to his visitors. A five-year-old girl treasures the photographs of the father she never knew. A farmer in Fukushima defies the evacuation order and continues to grow rice. Each in their separate ways, is learning to live again after the disaster.

The small hopes and joys of the people of Tohoku

This documentary reveals the everyday realities of the Tohoku region and of Japan today, through the hidden stories of ordinary people living in the affected area. It is also a hymn to life. Director, Mia Yoon, a third-generation Korean immigrant, was involved in the production from development to advertisement and sales; “Life Goes On” is her directorial debut. As a producer, her filmography includes: “Beyond the Tsunami: Onagawa, Hearts Connected”. She explains the passion that drives her to continue visiting the area: “The tragedy of Tohoku has been broadcasted to the world, but since then, rays of hope and happiness have begun to emerge, and these stories deserve to be told.” The film is narrated by actress Norika Fujiwara, a committed volunteer in the disaster area, and dubbing artist Koichi Yamadera, who is a native of the affected region.

● Cast

  • [Ishinomaki] Shinichi Endo/Ryoko Endo/Jean Anderson/Andy Anderson
  • [Kawauchi] Yoshitaka Akimoto/Sonoko Akimoto/Shigeru Ide
  • [Minami Sanriku] Erika Okuda/Shun Ito/TomokoSato/Kazuma Goto/Kiyohiro Goto
  • [Kamaishi] Tomokatsu Maekawa/TomitaroNihonmatsu/Kenichi Suzuki/Hisao Kashiwazaki
  • [Namie] Masami Yoshizawa

English leaflet(pdf)(673KB)