SPECIAL vol.18 The Tsunami
by Voices from the Field Admin - Saturday, 11 July 2015, 10:56 AM

The Tsunami

In the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, the inundation height of a tsunami reached as high as 12.1 meters at the Shoubu-ta-hama District in Shichigahama. A resident who drove along the coast after the earthquake said,” I was greatly shocked to see seaweeds hanging down from the electric wires.” The first wave was observed at 15:51. It had been an hour and five minutes since the earthquake occurred at 14:46 and a lot of people had thought that they were safe because the tsunami that reached this area after the Chili earthquake of 1960 had not caused much damage. Thus, they did not stay alert for the tsunami. As a result,not a few people stayed at home and fell victim to the tsunami. The tsunami attacked several waves and it was not until the next day that people felt they were no longer in danger.

Shichigahama is the smallest town (13.297) in the Tohoku region, but4.8 of it, which occupied 36,4% of its total area ,was flooded by the tsunami. The beach in Shichigahama where many people used to enjoy swimming in summer, the fishing port know for local specialties such as the fish bokke, and seaweed and the scenic coast that is part of Matsushima National Park-, all of them were destroyed and turned into hell on earth.

When I visited the town mayor for the first time after the disaster, he claimed tearfully to me, “I eagerly want to restore the beautiful beach.” His remark remains vividly in my memory.