The 3/11 Disaster In Miyagi, Japan

Full title: "The 3/11 Disaster In Miyagi, Japan: (Mihoko Terada and Keith Goldstein) True Stories of Japanese and Americans From the Earthquake and Tsunami" by Mihoko Terada and Keith Goldstein


Time flies. Four years have passed since Tohoku-earthquake happened on 3/11/2011. At that time, I was in Tokyo office, so scared to see disastrous tsunami on the Web site. I was totally safe but the railway system was dead at first that I couldn't go home. Fortunately, after the midnight, the subway and others restarted. Before the sunrise I arrived at home.

Two days later, I went to the business trip to Kansai area. What I was surprised was the atmosphere in Kyoto, which was totally different from Tokyo. It seemed people there never knew what happened in eastern part of Japan. (Of course they knew it.) From my point of view, they were spending their normal daily life as usual.

I never mean to blame them, because I remember the situation when Hanshin (Western Japan) big earthquake occurred (1995), it was almost same situation as this time. I mean I'm afraid Tokyo people didn't care so much about Kansai victims. That's the way of outsider's behavior..


Out of sight, out of mind. Though we do still remember Fukushima dai-ichi plant disaster, but some of us are now forgetting that a greater number of tsunami victims died than the ones by the nuclear accident. And the prefecture that has the most death tolls by the earthquake (tsunami) is Miyagi, not Fukushima currently. We have to keep it in mind.

That's one of the reasons why the author (a Japanese translator) made up her mind to write this book, in the first place.

The author introduces the real people in Miyagi prefecture, such as an young English teacher from USA by JET program (JET program is well-known, for even I know several Americans who came Japan by this program), news paper journalist who was trying to report tsunami, (he had no idea what tsunami really was beforehand!) or a tragedy of Ohkawa elementary school.

The author tries to describe what really happened to them at that time. However, actually nobody can explain the truth. Why the victims of Ohkawa elementary school who lost their lives, didn't climb the near mountain for refugee but went to the river near the sea (!), nor why the English teacher returned home alone after she arrived safe place.

All I can tell you is that you can't behave normally in panic mode. It's beyond my imagination in such a situation. I just cannot help but mourning them.


The situation is changing. Memories of the disaster are fading away. There are some controversies between the people who insist to keep the collapsed building (like Ohkawa elementary school) as memorial and to crash and build them for the new start of the town.

Although we do need some memorial, sometimes it disrupts taking our society forward. I heard same debate on "Nuclear attacked Dome at Hiroshima" just a few years ago. In this case, I didn't agree with "crash and build", but not so as for Ohkawa now. I can't explain this difference well. It's a tough question.











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