Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Tuesday, May 16, 2023 @ 4:14 p.m. / Local Government, Our Culture

Kamome Foundation Delegation to Celebrate Mural's Arrival in Rikuzentakata

Dignitaries from Rikuzentakata and Del Norte County unveiled a mural commemorating a Sister City relationship last month. | Photo: Jessica C. Andrews

Blake Inscore will represent Crescent City at a celebration to commemorate the arrival of the sister city mural to Rikuzentakata, Japan.

Inscore and other founding members of the Kamome Foundation Board of Directors will make up an impromptu delegation of Del Norte County dignitaries at the event in Rikuzentakata on June 28.

“I wasn’t planning on going. It was not in my schedule,” Inscore told the Wild Rivers Outpost on Tuesday. “But it became really apparent that the new mayor and new administration (of Rikuzentakata) bought into this whole thing it was like how do we not go with a delegation now when we’re trying to continue this whole relationship.”

Inscore said he would spend roughly a week in Japan. He joins District 3 Supervisor Chris Howard, Del Norte Unified School District Superintendent Jeff Harris and Kamome Foundation founder Bill Steven.

The Crescent City Council on Monday unanimously authorized the Mayor Pro Tem to act as the city’s representative, though the Kamome Foundation is footing the bill for his plane ticket, according to City Manager Eric Wier.

The Council’s blessing came roughly a week after they authorized the city manager to spend up to $4,000 to ship the 600 pound puzzle mosaic mural to Rikuzentakata. The mural arrived in Oakland and is ready to go on the next ship that heads to Japan, Inscore said.

It takes about seven days to ship, but the shipping company says it can take up to 46 days for the mural to go through customs and arrive at its destination, Inscore said.

On Monday, Wier said he received an invoice for shipment costs. Shipping the mural cost less than $2,000, he said.

“The weight was still a major factor, but the type of crating played a big role in the actual cost,” Wier told councilors.

Created by Harley Munger and Laura Haban, of Piece by Piece Pottery, the mural features Katsushika Hokusai’s “Great Wave Off Kanagawa.”

Hokusai’s wave towers over two lighthouses, one of which is Crescent City’s Battery Point Lighthouse, and a group of Japanese and American youth holding up Kamome — the 20-foot fishing vessel that was swept away from Rikuzentakata during the March 2011 tsunami.

Crescent City unveiled its twin at Beachfront Park during the Kamome Festival in April. A delegation from Rikuzentakata took part in the celebration, which commemorated the 10th anniversary of the boat’s arrival on South Beach in 2013.

At the festival, which also marked the fifth anniversary of the Sister City Pact between the two communities, Inscore said the Kamome Foundation would give other Del Norters the chance to be “citizen ambassadors.”

Since then, roughly eight people have said they’d like to be part of a delegation that visits Rikuzentakata, Inscore told the Outpost.

“I really wanted to start engaging with a different group an dI think some of those people would probably have been ready to go next spring,” he said. “Most of these are people who weren’t a part at all until the festival and they saw all of this and said, ‘Wow, this is an amazing story!’ It’s interesting to me that we still have a large part of our community who still doesn’t know how amazing this story is or that NBC spent millions of dollars to tell it.”


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