ISHINOMAKI, Miyagi Prefecture--His image and handmade sign seeking information on his family and relatives drew sympathy from not only those in evacuation centers, but from concerned people across the nation and beyond.
On March 17, 9-year-old Toshihito Aisawa came one step closer to fulfilling his goal of finding family members.
Toshihito's father Kazuyuki, mother Noriko, grandmother Kyoko and two cousins, Yuna and Yuto Shima, were carried away by the calamitous tsunami that struck this city following the March 11 magnitude-9.0 earthquake.
But on Thursday, Toshihito was reunited with Yuto, 13, who was in the same car when it was swallowed by a wall of seawater while they tried to rush to higher ground.
Toshihito and Yuto managed to escape through a broken window, and while they held on to each other, they were separated by the force of the raging torrent.
Yuto returned to where the car was washed away every day until he was found by his father four days later.
On March 17, Toshihito visited Yuto at his home. Toshihito has been staying with Mitsunari Kitahara, a 64-year-old barber acquainted with Toshihito's family.
Both boys tried to hold back tears as they called out to each other.
While efforts are continuing to find Toshihito's immediate family members, for the first time in many days the little boy appeared to regain a cheeriness that was unapparent before, as he talked about his favorite pastime, playing Nintendo DS, and how most of his games were probably washed away in the tsunami.
"Let's play games together again," the boys said in unison, breaking into huge grins.
"He (Toshihito) has been helping out in setting the table for dinner and doing the groceries. I'm sure that it has been tough on him, but I'd never seen him cry," said Kitahara.
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