Sunday, March 13, 2011

Minamisanriku - Japan's Missing Town

Recent photos of the town of Minamisanriku along the northeast coast of Honshu in Japan are reminiscent of photos that I took in Japan in May of 2009.  The town of Minamisanriku, a once thriving fishing port located 200 kilometres north of Tokyo, had a population of just under 20,000 people in 2004.  Currently, 9500 residents of the town are unaccounted for after the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011.

Here is a photo of the town after the tsunami:

Only the tallest buildings remain including the town's 7 story hospital with the remained of the town buried under mud and silt forced inland by a 10 metre tsunami wave.

Here is a photo that I took while I was in Japan nearly two years ago:

Here's another photo:

The photos show a scale model of Hiroshima, displayed at the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima, before and after the atomic bomb blast of August 6th, 1945.   The only buildings to survive the blast were those made of ferroconcrete.  Over the next four months, the blast killed 66,000 of Hiroshima's 255,000 residents and up to 140,000 deaths by December of 1945.

It is rather interesting to see the similarity between the appearance of post-tsunami Minamisanriku and post-bombing Hiroshima.

1 comment:

  1. I am so sorry for the people of Japan. We were fortunate in my family as my sister and her husband were in Nagoya during the quake and were able to catch their flight home on Monday, back to Canada. We hope the southern Japanese towns and cities will be spared.
    For me, the most important question is whether there is a lesson from all this; a lesson or an urgent message perhaps, about our relationship with mother earth and the forces of nature.
    It seems to me that our socio-economic imperative for 'progress' - for never-ending techno-industrial 'growth', for wealth and display-at almost any human or environmental risk and at any cost - this will be the end of us. Not just in Japan, but certainly, at least, in the western world.