Bibles That Survived Tsunami
Bibles that survived tsunami give new life to publisher
November 22, 2011
By SHUNJI MORIMOTO, Staff Writer
When the March 11 tsunami swept through the office of E-PIX publishing company in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, company president Masaya Kumagai feared everything would be lost.
The 58-year-old's family and three employees were safe, and much of the warehouse remained. Searching through the detritus left behind by the Great East Japan Earthquake, Kumagai was pleasantly surprised to find 3,000 Bibles in cardboard boxes that survived the great flood.
E-PIX moved into a prefab office in April, but because of the disaster there was little work for the printing business.
But soon, newspapers began to report on the Bibles that had "survived the tsunami." The Bibles, which were printed in the local Kesen dialect, soon were sold out, which was a great boon to the small company.
"Rather than despairing over what we've lost, we should be grateful for what we have now and for the great assistance we've received," Kumagai recalls thinking after the unexpected turn of events.
Kumagai took over the printing company at the age of 26 after graduating from Tohoku University. He felt that his friends working for major companies in the big cities were outshining him.
"That's why I want to bring some light to Ofunato," he says.
He set his goal in life as becoming a "21st-century Gutenberg."
"I want to put out books that get us past the tsunami and open up a bright future," he says.
Kumagai has now set an ambitious goal of printing 200,000 new Bibles in various dialects.
A page of Mathew 1 (Birth of Jesus) in Kesen language.