CHICAGO (CBS) — A special photo exhibit has opened at the Thompson Center, marking two years since the Japan earthquake and tsunami.

It was a remembrance of the more than 15,000 who died in Japan.

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In the photos: the faces of people from Chicago – have have unbreakable ties to Japan and the earthquake and the tsunami.

Joanne Tohei was in Chicago when the quake hit. Her son was in Fukushima City, teaching. For two days, she had no idea if he survived, then “He had posted on Facebook that he was OK.”

She wants her son to leave that part of Japan.

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“But he says everyone is leaving Fukushima. I cannot abandon these people. So he chooses to stay, and I’ve resigned myself to thinking, OK, as a mother I will worry. I will always worry.”

“But it’s his life. It’s his choice. And I have to trust that he knows what he’s doing,” said Tohei.

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The photo exhibit is called “Kizuna 2: The Bonds of Emotion.” It’s at the Thompson Center through March 15. Then from March 18-30, it will be at the Chicago Photography Collective Gallery at Block 37.