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Tōhoku Tsunami-Hit Areas | 8 Months Later

Tōhoku Tsunami-Hit Areas | 8 Months Later

I believe there is no one that does not know what has happened to the East of Japan this March. But to see the wreckage by your own eyes is a completely different story. We here will not describe how we feel, but simply present some facts through the pictures we took.  And that, should be more convincing than anything else. All the following pictures in this article were taken in the cities of Ofunato and Kesennuma, 8 months after the tsunami.

Tōhoku Tsunami - Beautiful Tōhoku
Miyagi has a lot of beautiful beaches all along the coastlines. One of them is very famous : the Rikuchu Kaigan National Park.

The Great Tōhoku Earthquake happened on 2011, March 11th, at 14:46. This being the most powerful earthquake known in Japan, counted for magnitude 9, and soon triggered the gigantic tsunami. In Iwate Prefecture, the place we visited this time, the tsunami waves reached up 40 meters high. With this figure you should not find it hard to understand why the traffic signs or advertisement boards so high are completely torn into pieces.

BBC News Tsunami Map
Tsunami map from the BBC News website. We drove around Ofunato and Kesennuma, and the pictures of this article are all taken from those areas.

Another way to measure the earthquake is by looking at the casualty. This time Japan suffered from 15,833 deaths and 5,943 injuries (National Police Agency).  This number is not so surprising given the scale of the earthquake. But beyond the loss of family and friends, an even tougher reality is left for Japanese people in Tohoku: the loss of homes. 17,000 houses and buildings were completely destroyed.

Tōhoku Tsunami - Birds
They were the only ones that were able to fly away and enjoy the show on that day,…
Tōhoku Tsunami - Tsunami
Evacuate to higher ground! Immediately! What, now? This sign is odd.
Tōhoku Tsunami - Bridge
This pictures looks like a Google Satellite Map, isn
Tōhoku Tsunami - New Cemetery
All the city was washed away in the back. In the front, very close to the sea shore, a new cemetery was set. A scenery that illustrates perfectly what happened this year.
Tōhoku Tsunami - Petrol Station
Cosmo Station is a famous petrol-station chain in Japan. This one looks like an old abandoned and boring house, under a thundering sky.
Tōhoku Tsunami - Bent
The power angry water can have is scary.
Tōhoku Tsunami - Coastline II
The Tōhoku coastline looks often this way. Demolished cars and buildings, among garbage and dirty lakes.
Tōhoku Tsunami - Common Scene
Rolling around.

If you take a look at the pictures we took of the buildings there, it is quite hard to believe what earthquakes and tsunami can do. Many houses has a whole wall missing, petrol stations left with almost only the roof, bridges fallen down to the river, railway broke, and a huge cruise ship was carried all the way onto the land until crashed into the bank. Everyone was taking pictures of the gigantic ship, as if it is a tourist spot. But I am pretty sure they are of good intention.

Tōhoku Tsunami - Misery
A vision of misery.
Tōhoku Tsunami - Lost Boat
Lost boat.

The cars piled up in mountains are one of the other famous ‘attractions’. Cars that are completely smashed and squashed into pieces, made you really wonder how they can become like this. Those that still look somewhat like a car are left with a piece of paper, names or phone numbers were written on it. Wonder whether it is for people to come and take them, or dispose them.

Tōhoku Tsunami - Pile of cars
Pile of cars.

It still looks like a big mess after 8 months, but it’s important to notice that huge efforts were deployed to clean the devastated area. You should absolutely check this post on the Sacramento Bee if you have any doubts!

Tōhoku Tsunami - Asia Symphony
Asia Symphony.
Tōhoku Tsunami - Sliding House
Slinding house.

Then there is the one last bit, the soil liquefaction. As we walk around the village, many parts were blocked due to this reason. It is probably one of the really rear occasion when we did not go beyond the “Do not Enter” sign, because the water from the sea has taken over most of these places. However, this time, the brave ones are the children. You can see some small kids playing in the water running around happily, too young to know the real world.

Tōhoku Tsunami - New Address
Notice for Changing of Address.
Tōhoku Tsunami - Liquefaction
The dirtiest mirror.
Tōhoku Tsunami - Anpanman
Anpanman, completely forgotten.

Tōhoku Tsunami - CR

Tōhoku Tsunami - Supermarket
Back from shopping.
Tōhoku Tsunami - Miffy
Miffy and his unfortunate friends. A broken house, but all together, at least.
Tōhoku Tsunami - Come Back
This obachan came back to the city she used to live in. She stared at a hairdresser saloon for a long while.
Tōhoku Tsunami - Students
Two girls coming back from school, in Kesennuma.
Tōhoku Tsunami - Flowers in the Trunk
Time to move on and embrace the future.
Tōhoku Tsunami - Back to Tokyo
Back to Tokyo.

M9 earthquake, 30-40 meters high tsunami, Japan moved 2.4m east, 15,833 deaths, 17,000 houses and buildings destroyed.
The most expensive catastrophe ever.

Want to help ? Please make a donation to the Japanese Red Cross Society using Google.
Click here:
 Google Crisis Response.


Who Am I

azalea, drone, flower, japan, japanese, kyushu, natural, nature, saga, spring

I am Jordy Meow, I am a French photographer living in Japan. My interest is to discover and share information about offbeat and lesser known locations for foreigners coming or living in Japan. I published books and now preparing new beautiful series of guidebooks.