SURVIVING THE 2011 TSUNAMI:100 Testimonies of Ishinomaki Area Survivors of the Great East Japan Earthquake 【英語版】津波からの生還 東日本大震災・石巻地方100人の証言 (英語) ペーパーバック – 2014/3/7
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Surviving the 2011 Tsunami is a full translation of the Japanese original edition under the same title—published in 2012—compiled by the editorial office of The Ishinomaki Kahoku, a daily newspaper of Sanriku Kahoku Shimpo Co. What was it that determined the fate of those who found themselves at the mercy of the massive tsunami that closed in on them on March 11, 2011? With the addition of powerful photographs from the regional newspaper's March 11 archive, the book draws upon the testimonies of 100 survivors to uncover truths about the tsunami and human capacities for dealing with it.
【Excerpt from the Foreword】
While we continued to cover the towns that had turned into what seemed like battlefields because of the tsunami and the fire afterwards, we asked ourselves these questions: what should we do as a regional media that is based in the most severely damaged area and what is it that we can do as a company that is the most intimately connected to the distressed area. “My March 11" was the answer.
To carry the firsthand testimonies of the people who were attacked by the massive tsunami in as much detail as space would allow, focusing on the people who had narrowly survived the disaster at various places on that day, and aim to record the massive tsunami in its true forms; and to enable the people in our area to share the valuable experiences of those who had survived.this, we thought, would be a strong protection against future major tsunamis. Quite a few people had not recovered from the trauma of the disaster, and our requests for interview were often refused with the reply, “I don' t want to remember it." What drove our reporters to keep on moving forward whenever they were declined an interview was their conviction that this project would surely be a response to the yearning that the people who had unfortunately fallen victim to the disaster must have had.
The importance of the bond of the family and of the people of the community was reaffirmed following the great disaster of 2011. The word has even become a motto for the restoration support effort. I believe that the publication of this English edition is in fact a product that was woven by the bond of the people who were united, beyond the borders of a region and of nations, in their earnest desire to help spread the lessons of the disaster around the world.
I would like to convey my gratitude to the many people who supported the translation project. It is my hope that this book will be of help to the foreign readers as they deepen their understanding of the Great East Japan Earthquake, a once-in-a-millennium event, and prepare for potential major earthquakes and tsunamis.
――Yoshihisa Nishikawa, President Sanriku Kahoku Shimpo Co.
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I was very alarmed by the dramatic and chaotic imagery televised in near-real time. I felt a great sense of helplessness that was in no way unique to myself. The awesome power of this event was something that would have become a fable of nature's untamed spirit and would have likely carried on in folk lore were we not exhaustively documented as it was.
Reading first hand accounts of danger, narrow escape, and actual conditions on the ground provided me with invaluable knowledge that was generally glossed over in the news or raw data. Knowing that people, some of the most prepared in the world, could still suffer so greatly serves as a powerful reminder that we all live in the shadow of nature. Where sweeping aerial scenes of the destruction fall short, this book and its interviews provide the necessary dose of raw ground level detail, as well as the though process and emotions experienced by those in the Tsunami's path. While reading I observed that most of the survivors manage to maintain hope and optimism despite the trauma they had to endure. Such optimism in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds makes this worthy of reading in its own right.
This book is a wealth of data, as well as a powerful reminder that there is no substitute for preparation, and when that isn't enough, the incredible strength of the human spirit. I highly recommend it.
Most accounts are about 1/2 a page long and include people of many backgrounds including the elderly, police, and office and factory workers. The calamity of the day are well presented, and the book will stir your emotions. There is nothing macabre in the book which is good and bad. It prevents voyeurism, but does result in a reduced sense of the loss experienced by those in the area.
I don't know what other books like this are available, but if you can't find any others this is worth getting.