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Phone of the Wind – The Tragic Story Behind a Phone Booth Connected to Nothing and Nowhere

Outside the Japanese town of Otsuchi, on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean, there is a white, glass-paneled phone booth with a black rotary phone connected to nothing and nowhere. Ever since the tragic tsunami of 2010, which claimed nearly 20,000 human lives, thousands of grieving people have visited the booth to “call” their lost loved ones as a way of coping with their loss.

The Wind Phone, as the now famous Otsuchi telephone booth is commonly known, was actually built a year before the 2011 tsunami that ravaged Japan’s Tōhoku coastOtsuchi resident, Itaru Sasaki, had lost his cousin in 2010 and decided to build a phone booth in his hilltop garden from where he would call his dear relative as a way of dealing with grief. He would dial his cousin’s phone number on an old, unconnected rotary phone, and his words would be “carried on the wind” as he spoke. Even though no one would talk back to him, it made Sasaki feel a deeper connection to his cousin.

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