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Keeping stories of loss and love alive 25 years after Kobe quake

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A survivor of the Great Hanshin Earthquake that struck Jan. 17, 1995, wept while eating "onigiri" rice balls at an evacuation center. Another, who lived in a ninth-floor apartment and tried to lug a water tank up the stairs, gave up because it was too heavy.

These and other eyewitness accounts of the megaquake fill the shelves of the records room of Shinsai wo Yomitsunagu Kai Kobe, a Kobe-based group of volunteers who try to keep memories of the disaster alive by reciting survivors' recollections to audiences.

"The further we proceed on our road to recovery, the fuzzier our memories become, even for us survivors," said Miyuki Shimomura, 68, the group's director.

With her current team of 23 volunteers, Shimomura has been focusing........

© The Asahi Shimbun