A white colored and glass-paneled phone booth is located on a hill that overlooks the Pacific Ocean, on the outskirts of a Japanese town – Otsuchi. The phone booth has a black rotary phone that is connecting to nothing and nowhere. Following the tsunami of 2010 that took about 20,000 humans with it, thousands of grief-struck people have been at the booth to ‘call’ their loved ones trying to cope with their losses. The phone booth is known as Wind Phone.
The Wind Phone was constructed a year before the tsunamis happened. Itaru Sasaki lost his cousin in 2010 and decided to build a phone booth on his hilltop garden from where he would be able to call his cousin and deal with his grief. He would dial his cousin’s phone number, and his words would be carried on the wind while he spoke.
Following the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake, Itaru Sasaki gave the public access to his Wind Phone. He wanted to share how he had coped with his grief and wanted to allow others to do the same. Thousands of people have visited the Wind Phone ever since. According to an estimate, about 10,000 people had visited it within three years after the tsunami.
Itaru Sakasi said, ‘The telephone is not connected, but people feel like their lost loved ones are there listening on the other end of the line. I want people to resume their lives as soon as possible by expressing their feelings.’ The idea of talking to someone who has passed away using a phone that is not connected to anything might sound bizarre to many, but according to researches, unusual outlets for grief can help those who are struggling with it.
The Wind Phone has become a famous place for those who are struggling with losses. Many people simply visit the place to mourn the loss and to find some kind of closure. The Wind Phone was also featured by the NHK in a documentary that was called ‘Phone of the Wind – Whispers to Lost Families’.