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Article updated: 3/10/2013 6:53 AM

Naperville, Palatine students featured in Japan tsunami exhibit

By Jessica Cilella

Two students from the suburbs will be featured in an upcoming photo exhibit that reflects on a devastating Japan tsunami that occurred almost two years ago.

Fremd High School junior Keigo O'Haru and Naperville North High School junior Shusaku Asai visited Tohoku, Japan, last summer in conjunction with the Chicago Sister Cities for a "Chicago Day."

While there they served hot dogs and drinks to tsunami victims who were still living in temporary housing. They also read a letter from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in English and in Japanese to the victims.

"I just felt that it was one of my duties, as a Japanese person, to help in any way," O'Haru said. "I was quite surprised by how they weren't really depressed from losing all the properties they owned. They actually were really happy and outgoing."

The two 16-year-olds will be featured in a photography exhibit called "Kizuna 2: The Bonds of Emotion," that opens on the anniversary of the tsunami -- Monday, March 11 -- and runs through Friday, March 15, at the Thompson Center in Chicago. The exhibit highlights Chicagoans' connections to the affected region.

O'Haru said he is honored to make a presentation about his trip with Asai during the opening ceremony of the exhibit on Monday afternoon. "I'm going to talk about what kind of impact it had on me," he said. "I met many different types of people. I was lucky enough to talk with them and experience all kinds of people's views."

For details on the exhibit, visit ChicagoSisterCities.com.

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