San Francisco's Japanese American community awaits news after quake

KUMAMOTO, Japan (KGO) -- Bay Area Japanese Americans have relatives and friends in the earthquake stricken island of Kyushu. They're anxiously awaiting news their loved ones and hoping they're okay.

PHOTOS: Multiple earthquakes strike Japan

Video from Japanese TV shows the destruction. Friday's earthquake is the regions second powerful quake in a little more than a day.

Two temblors on Kyushu Island. The latest one was much bigger and just over a day after a 6.5 quake left nine dead and hundreds injured.

In San Francisco, some 8,000 miles away, children from the Rosa Parks School rehearsed for this weekend's annual Cherry Blossom Festival.

RELATED: Deaths reported after another strong quake strikes Japan

They may be too young to remember the earthquake and massive tsunami five years ago that swallowed entire towns in eastern Japan. But the Japanese American community then responded quickly.

They formed the Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund, raising more than $4 million. Now, the same groups are monitoring this disaster.

"So now another earthquake hits, it's really hard to get people to give for another event but of course we'll try," said Allen Okamoto with the Japanese Cultural and Community Center.

At the Kimochi senior citizens lunch program in Japantown, ABC7 News met Jiro Shinto and his wife Kimi. She is from Fukushima, where the quake struck five years ago.

Jiro's sister lives in Kumamoto prefecture, the area struck by the latest tremors.

He told us that his sister lives in Kumamoto and he's very worried, even though she lives farther away from the worst hit area.

Ryuma Tanaka is with Taiko Drum Dojo. They took part in the fundraising the last time.

"Of course we live in San Francisco which is earthquake zone too, so every time you hear earthquake you never really ever know,"

The Miyagi temblor in Japan five years ago also happened in April. The tragic irony is it too registered 7.0.
Copyright © 2020 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.