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Photo Essay: Japanese Tsunami Two Years Later

Photo Essay: Japanese Tsunami Two Years Later

Friday July 12, 2013

While in Japan this year we made time to re-visit the coastline which was devastated by the Japanese tsunami in March 2011. It was the first time we’d been back since taking photos in July 2011 for the fundraising exhibition we put on in Hobart in November 2011. The region has been cleared of a great deal of the debris and the scale of the disaster is all too clear. We saw tourism booming in the seaside town of Matsushima which survived the tsunami much better than most other towns due to the pine covered islands in the bay which the town is famous for. We also saw the completely devastated towns of Minami Sanriku and Rikuzen Takata, which were all but wiped out in the disaster. It was nice to be able to support the region in a very small way by purchasing food, sake and a few touristy T-shirts from some temporary structures that have been built for that purpose. The signs of thanks and appreciation which featured in the exhibition were still evident, and two years later the heavy machinery in the region wasn’t just clearing debris but starting to lay the foundations for the future.

Rikuzen Takata: Two years after the Japanese tsunami, June 2013

Rikuzen Takata: Two years after the Japanese tsunami, June 2013

Rikuzen Takata after the Japanese tsunami, June 2013

A petrol station has reopened for business. The damaged sign shows the height of the tsunami. The image on the left was taken in July 2011 and the one on the right was taken in June 2013.

Rikuzen Takata after the Japanese tsunami, June 2013

Ganbarou Rikuzen Takata!!

"Ipponmatsu" Rikuzen Takata after the Japanese tsunami, June 2013

The only pine that initially survived the tsunami, out of tens of thousands that once stood on this coastline has also died. This replica stands in its place as a permanent reminder of that day.

"Ipponmatsu" Rikuzen Takata: Two years after the Japanese tsunami, June 2013

“Ipponmatsu” Rikuzen Takata: Two years after the Japanese tsunami, June 2013

Minami Sanriku, Japanese Tsunami: Two years on

One of the tragic stories to come out of the disaster was that of a town worker of Minami Sanriku who sacrificed her life by staying in her office issuing warnings via loudspeaker. She continued to urge everyone to flee until the wave claimed her building and her life. This is the site of that office and it was something of a pilgrimage to visit this site and remember the events of March 11, 2011.

Minami Sanriku, Japanese Tsunami: Two years on

Minami Sanriku, Japanese Tsunami: Two years on

Minami Sanriku, Japanese Tsunami: Two years on

Minami Sanriku. Two years ago the heavy machinery was removing rubble. Now it is laying the foundations for the future.

Minami Sanriku, Japanese Tsunami: Two years on

Minami Sanriku. Two years ago the heavy machinery was removing rubble. Now it is laying the foundations for the future.

Minami Sanriku, Japanese Tsunami: Two years on

One of the many messages of thanks from the region. This was at a small festival in Minami Sanriku where many temporary buildings were selling food and touristy items. There was even a soccer exhibition on for the kids!

Device to measure radiation levels in Fukushima, Japan

Meanwhile, in Fukushima… Devices to record and display radiation measurements are now a fairly common sight around Fukushima City. Readings were mostly between 0.1~0.5 microsieverts per hour.

Links to posts related to the November 2011 exhibition:

Information on the Exhibition

Exhibition Wrap Up

Donating the Funds in Fukushima

 

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