Every year, more than 1,500 earthquakes strike the island nation due to its proximity to the Pacific Ring of Fire. The region is a hotspot for seismic activity caused by the movement of tectonic plates. The most astounding outcome of these disasters, however, is the fortitude of the Japanese people.

The Pacific Ring of Fire is well documented. The earliest records of earthquakes and tsunamis go back to the 6th century. The technical data does not take into account the social and emotional toll of the people who survived in the shadows of the destruction. My piece tells the story of the Japanese people, who for generations have persevered despite the region’s destructive power. By incorporating history with scientific data, the piece explores Japan’s resilient, innovative culture.


The poster is an acetone transfer onto Japanese paper. The paper is handmade Kozo, which is really beautiful and airy, but also very hard to transfer onto. Each time I transferred I would get something different because the consistency of the paper is so different. This was neat because each piece felt unique, but it was also hard to predict. I was also at the mercy of the acetone.

The printed graphic had to be done on a laser printer because ink jet won’t transfer. My conundrum was that I couldn’t print the entire image on a 17-inch laser printer. So I tiled it. This was the most meticulous part of the process, but also the most rewarding when it came out perfectly aligned.

My initial inspiration for my project comes from my grandmother, Machiko Furuzawa Zielinski. After surviving World War II, she moved from Japan to start a new life. This piece honors her determination and resilience. This project has allowed me to grow closer to my heritage and discover the perseverance of the Japanese people. It has given me a deeper understanding and respect for my grandmother, and those that came before her.