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FROM THE ARCHIVES: She makes final farewells less traumatic for Japan's disaster victims

This story first appeared in The Straits Times on March 10, 2012

Published on Mar 11, 2014 5:43 PM
ORDERED CHAOS: Wrecked cars lie neatly stacked atop one another along a street in Kensennuma, Miyagi prefecture, 11 months after the area was devastated by a tsunami. Huge efforts are being made to restore order amid the chaos. Debris has been sorted into piles of differing elements such as plastic, metal and wood. -- ST FILE PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

TOKYO - After the elements have taken a toll on the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake, Ms Ruiko Sasahara is reversing the process.

A mortician by profession, Ms Sasahara has been working as a volunteer up and down the north- eastern coast of Japan since the disaster struck last year, repairing battered faces so that surviving relatives can say their final farewells.

“I wanted bereaved families’ last memories of their loved ones to be of them with the best possible expression on their faces,” Ms Sasahara told the Yomiuri newspaper.

Her contributions are recorded in a recently released book titled Farewell From The Heart: The Compassionate Mortician Of The Great East Japan Earthquake.

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