Project 2996: Sanae Mori (MORI Sanae) (森早苗)

Sanae Mori was a 27 year old woman from Tokyo, Japan who grew up in the Netherlands; her family maintained Japanese citizenship while living as expatriates.

Mori (meaning “forest”) was her family name. (You can see that the first kanji above, “Mori”, is three trees.) Sanae was her personal name; it means “rice seedlings”. They’re fairly common names, both; so it’s not surprising that you’ll find a pro bowler and a regulatory official, when you search for her name.

Her father’s name is MORI Yasuzou (森泰造), and her mother’s name is MORI Naoko (森尚子). Her grandfather’s name is Mori Shuji (森周治). [This info came from a Japanese webpage of biographies.]

On one of the guestbooks set up on the Web, one of her teachers, Paul Doolan, recalled her:

“I remember my first day ever as a teacher, at an international school in Holland, nearly 20 years ago now. There was a sweet little Japanese girl, Sanae. I was lucky to be her teacher for three years. I remember being intrigued by her cartoon drawings (manga) – she was a great artist. Then I moved to Japan. Some years passed, and then, amazingly, I bumped into Sanae on the streets of Tokyo, actually in Asakusa Temple. What a coincidence. Sanae was a wonderful person – kind, friendly and intelligent. She had a great future.”

She was an Oxford graduate. A fellow foreign student, Ania Kemalow Booth, was grateful for her advice on how to pick out a college, and what courses and books to attack. As a friend, she was the kind of girl who’d get up at five in the morning to see you off. They both hoped to meet again and vacation together.

Mori worked as a systems consultant for Nomura Research Institute, Ltd. (part of the various Nomura securities and investment companies) and worked overseas in various places. Apparently this involved her writing articles for the Nomura in-house journal, Capital Market Quarterly, with names like “Developments Regarding the Move to T+1 Securities Settlement in the US”. (That was in the Winter 2000 issue, according to citations online.)

She didn’t normally work in the World Trade Center. Along with her colleague and fellow systems consultant, 37-year-old Takashi Ogawa, she was attending a business meeting on the 106th floor that day.

While she was still counted as missing, her grandmother was quoted as saying, “She is tough, probably because she has been living abroad.”

Sanae Mori, from an informal photo with colleagues.

It seems that she lived a bright, full life, even though her time here was cut short by the cruel mass murder of 9/11.

We will remember her: a woman who traveled so far to die so far from home, a woman who was kind and knowledgeable wherever she went. May God be good to her. May He dry the tears of her family, in this autumn season.

Seedlings reach for sky –
Not all will live to bear grain.
All day long, they breathe
What’s poison to us, making
Pure air, feeding on sunlight.

Who’d destroy the sprouts
When they grow up to feed us?
Who would burn the fields
Instead of sharing harvest?
But still, the sprouts were green once.

All lands were near then,
Bereaved ones all our neighbors.
In their hearts, that day’s
Not over yet or ever.
So poems come from strangers.

Silence of one voice,
The silence of a country –
The unclouded sky,
The clouded mind’s rainwater –
On sidewalks, leaves and roses.

This post is part of the 2996 Project, an effort to commemorate all the victims of September 11, 2001.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Project 2996: Sanae Mori (MORI Sanae) (森早苗)

  1. Joy

    This is beautiful! You’ve done a very good job showing this young woman to us. May His Light shine on her.

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