1995 Quake Survivor Pursuing Society of Mutual Aid as Pastor

Society

Kobe, Jan. 17 (Jiji Press)--A man who experienced the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake as a high school student went into theology to become a pastor and is now supporting people in need guided by the spirit of mutual assistance he learned at the time of the disaster.

"Through the earthquake, I learned that people can help each other out in times of hardship," said the pastor, Seiji Kurumada, 45, from Tatsuno, Hyogo Prefecture in western Japan.

Kurumada grew up in Higashinada Ward in the city of Kobe, Hyogo. As his mother was a Christian, he went to church every week as a child.

When the earthquake devastated Kobe and nearby areas on Jan. 17, 1995, Kurumada was in the second year of senior high school. He felt the powerful shock of the quake while in bed and saw a bookcase fall over. He thought he was about to die.

After the quake subsided, Kurumada got out of his half-collapsed house from a window and saw most houses in the neighborhood crushed.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press