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Lost & Found documentary

Overview of Lost & Found documentary with additional context and background

Unlikely friendships after a devastating natural diaster

Film information

Synopsis: "Lost & Found" is a documentary that tells the stories of items washed away by the 2011 Japanese tsunami and their eventual return to their owners. The film explores the emotional journey of people affected by the disaster and highlights the power of personal belongings in connecting individuals and communities.

IMDB: 8.1 Year: 2016 Directors: John Choi and Nicolina Lanni  |              Genre: Documentary. Runtime: 86 minutes  |  Country: Canada

Keywords: Japanese tsunami, personal belongings. lost items. disaster recovery, emotional reunions, human connections, natural disaster, resilience, Japan, Tohoku earthquake

Watch the Film here

Watch Lost & Found - Streaming Online | iwonder (Free Trial)
When regular beachcombers across the Pacific North West started finding items washed ashore from the 2011 Japanese tsunami, they became determined to trace them back to their owners.

Why is this documentary compelling to watch?

Overall, "Lost & Found" is a moving, thought-provoking, and visually captivating documentary that showcases the importance of human connections, the resilience of communities in the face of disaster, and the emotional power of seemingly ordinary items.

By focusing on personal stories and the recovery efforts in the aftermath of the Japanese tsunami, the film offers viewers a unique and emotionally resonant perspective on the disaster and its lasting impact. Specifically to note:

  • Human connections: The film explores the deep human connections that can be formed through personal belongings, revealing the emotional value and memories attached to seemingly ordinary items.
  • Emotional reunions: By documenting the emotional reunions between people and their lost items, "Lost & Found" provides viewers with heartwarming and touching moments that showcase the resilience of the human spirit in the aftermath of a disaster.
  • Japanese tsunami: The documentary offers a unique perspective on the aftermath of the devastating 2011 Japanese tsunami, focusing on the personal stories of individuals affected by the disaster rather than the broader destruction and loss.
  • Cultural insights: The film provides insights into Japanese culture, values, and customs, as well as the importance placed on personal belongings in the society. This cultural exploration offers viewers a deeper understanding of a different way of life.
  • Community efforts: "Lost & Found" highlights the efforts of local communities in Japan to recover, catalog, and reunite people with their lost possessions. These inspiring acts of kindness and cooperation demonstrate the power of community support in times of crisis.
  • Cinematography: The documentary features visually striking cinematography that captures the beauty of the Japanese landscape and the poignant contrast between the serene natural surroundings and the remnants of destruction left by the tsunami.

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Film reviews

POV Magazine:

"Choi and Lanni take a very human approach to the story and avoid many of the pitfalls of documentaries that exploit tragedy."

National Post:

"Choi and Lanni’s film is compelling not just for the stories it tells but for the wider perspective it provides on the disaster."

Toronto Star:

"The film poignantly captures the powerful emotions associated with the objects and the way they help heal the survivors."

Film poster:

Film's sentiment analysis

Overall, the sentiment analysis for the 2012 documentary "Lost & Found" is a mix of positive and negative emotions. The film presents a story of hope, empathy, and community in the face of tragedy and loss, offering a balanced perspective on the human experience during a disaster.

Positive sentiments:

  1. Hope: The documentary showcases the resilience and hope of people affected by the disaster as they try to reunite with their belongings and rebuild their lives.
  2. Empathy: The film emphasizes the emotional connection people have with their personal belongings and how these objects hold memories and sentimental value.
  3. Community: The film highlights the importance of community and collaboration in the face of adversity, as people come together to help one another.

Negative sentiments:

  1. Tragedy: The documentary is set against the backdrop of a devastating natural disaster, the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, which caused widespread destruction and loss of life.
  2. Loss: The film explores the profound sense of loss experienced by those affected by the disaster, as they grieve for their loved ones and try to come to terms with the destruction of their homes and communities.

Extra context: Watch

These free videos provide in-depth exploration of the themes discussed in the 2012 documentary "Lost & Found," including the science of earthquakes and tsunamis, the impacts of natural disasters on communities, and ways to better prepare and respond to such events.

1. TED Talk - "Megacities on the move" by Parag Khanna

Video: A TED Talk discussing the challenges faced by growing megacities and how they can adapt to change, including natural disasters.

2. National Geographic - "Japan's Tsunami: How It Happened"

Video: A National Geographic documentary that investigates the science behind the 2011 Japan tsunami, its causes, and its devastating effects.

Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami
On March 11, 2011, Japan experienced the strongest earthquake in its recorded history.

3. PBS NOVA - "Japan's Killer Quake"

Video: A PBS NOVA documentary that examines the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, focusing on the science, impacts, and recovery efforts.Link:

Japan’s Killer Quake
An eyewitness account and investigation of the epic earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis

Extra context: Read

These links provide additional context and information about the themes discussed in the 2012 documentary "Lost & Found," particularly the 2011 Japanese tsunami, its aftermath, and the role of personal belongings in the recovery process.

Lessons from the 2011 Japanese Tsunami for the Recovery

Learning from Megadisasters: A Decade of Lessons from the Great East Japan Earthquake
Today marks the ten-year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, a mega-disaster that marked Japan and the world with its unprecedented scale of destruction.
  • Background: A report discussing the lessons learned from the 2011 tsunami and their potential application to the recovery of other coastal cities after natural disasters.Link:

Extra context: Learn

These educational resources and lesson plans could help students and teachers explore the themes discussed in the 2012 documentary "Lost & Found," including the science behind earthquakes and tsunamis, the impacts of natural disasters on communities, and coping with the aftermath of such events.

Teaching about Earthquakes and Tsunamis - National Geographic Society

Education | National Geographic Society
Engage with National Geographic Explorers and transform learning experiences through live events, free maps, videos, interactives, and other resources.

Get involved - donate

After watching the 2012 documentary "Lost & Found," if you are inspired to donate to a non-governmental organization (NGO) that works in disaster relief and recovery, consider the following reputable organizations:

  1. Direct Relief ( - Direct Relief is a humanitarian aid organization that provides medical assistance to people affected by disasters, poverty, and other emergencies.
  2. Mercy Corps ( - Mercy Corps is a global organization that focuses on helping people recover from disasters, conflicts, and other crises by providing assistance in areas like food, water, and shelter.
  3. Save the Children ( - Save the Children works to protect and support children in need, including those affected by natural disasters, by providing relief and long-term recovery efforts.

Before donating, it's essential to research the organization to ensure your contribution will be used effectively. You can check the charity's rating on websites like Charity Navigator ( or GuideStar ( to verify its credibility and financial transparency.

Get involved - give your time / Australia

Before committing to volunteer, research the organization, and ensure that you are prepared for the required tasks and responsibilities. Make sure to follow the organization's guidelines and safety protocols during your volunteer work.

  1. Australian Red Cross ( - The Australian Red Cross offers various volunteer opportunities, including disaster relief and recovery efforts, supporting vulnerable communities, and first aid training.
  2. Habitat for Humanity Australia ( - Habitat for Humanity Australia works to provide safe and affordable housing for those in need, including families affected by natural disasters. They have volunteer opportunities in construction, disaster recovery, and other support roles.
  3. BlazeAid ( - BlazeAid is a volunteer-based organization that helps rebuild fences and other structures damaged by natural disasters, such as bushfires and floods, in rural Australia.
  4. State Emergency Service (,, etc.) - The State Emergency Service (SES) is a volunteer-based organization that provides assistance during natural disasters and emergencies. Each Australian state has its own SES, so search for your local branch to get involved.
  5. Conservation Volunteers Australia ( - Conservation Volunteers Australia is dedicated to conserving Australia's environment and wildlife. They offer various volunteering opportunities, including habitat restoration and disaster recovery projects.

What is the key question friends should discuss after watching this film?

"How do the personal stories portrayed in the documentary change our understanding of disasters and their impact on individuals and communities, and what lessons can be learned from the resilience and recovery efforts of the people affected?"

This question can spark meaningful conversations about the emotional, social, and environmental aspects of the disaster, as well as the broader implications of such events on human lives.

By discussing the specific stories and experiences presented in the film, viewers can reflect on the importance of community support, individual resilience, and the role of cultural values in overcoming adversity. Additionally, this discussion can inspire conversations about how societies can prepare for and respond to natural disasters in the future.