In 2011, Japan was shaken by an earthquake, a tsunami, and a nuclear meltdown. Otsuchi was one of the hardest hit areas in the Great East Japan earthquake. According to Atlas Obscura, the town was struck with 30-foot waves, leading to the deaths of a full 10 percent of the town.
Since Sasaki's kaze no denwa, or "phone of the wind" had helped him cope with his own grief, he opened it up to the public. Word traveled fast, and the mourning Japanese journeyed from all over the country to make their calls. Over the first three years post earthquake, more than 10,000 people dialed their dear ones. Sasaki's booth provided a much needed source of comfort as the community sought to rebuild itself.
Related: The Five Stages Of Grief Is a Myth