Small Steps: Children of Otsuchi, a Devastated Town

Otsuchi Town in Iwate Prefecture in northeastern Japan was devastated by the tsunami caused by the March 11 earthquake. Together with another elementary school in a neighboring town, Otsuchi Elementary School reopened classes in an evacuation shelter. However, the road to recovery hasn't been easy. Three of the school's students were killed by the tsunami, six children lost one or both parents, and 40 out of the school's 280 students transferred to schools outside the town. Set mainly in the makeshift classrooms at the shelter, Small Steps looks at the first six months of the new school year. It depicts the lives of the children who are the future of this devastated town, focusing on a 6th grader who lost her mother in the tsunami.