TIME contract photographer Dominic Nahr arrived just one day after the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and resulting devastating tsunami hit the northeast coast of Japan on March 11th. Nahr camped out at a Daiou temple in Minami Sanriku where most of the town had been wiped out by the tsunami. The temple, however, was on top of a hill and was spared. Dozens of survivors are living at the temple after having their homes destroyed. Nahr photographed the Buddhist funeral ceremonies that were being done in groups and in an abbreviated form so they could accommodate all the families that lose loved ones, many without a body to mourn.
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Many family photographs have been found in the rubble and ruins of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11. In Ofunato, Iwate prefecture, photographer Toru Hanai explains that search and rescue teams, police, firefighters and the Japan Self Defense Force have been gathering the muddied and damaged pictures and bringing them to the local police station. At the Collection Centre the images are cleaned under the direction of project leader and Ofunato resident Satoko Kinno, a paper conservator and graduate of Camberwell College of Arts in London.
Once restored the images are taken to the shelters where they can be reclaimed by their owners. This photograph, taken by Hanai on April 12, shows a volunteer washing and drying images of one single child, a 4 year-old girl. Just a few days after this photo was taken, Kinno got word that the child and her mother and father had all survived the earthquake and tsunami, and were safe. The photographs will be returned to the family.
Another aftershock has rattled Japan on the one-month anniversary of a massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake that spawned a deadly tsunami on March 11th. Like the aftershock last week, this one is also a magnitude 7.0 quake and resulted in a tsunami warning for 3 foot waves. Officials are hoping that like last week’s aftershock, no new tsunami will be produced. Monday’s (it is now Tuesday in Japan) aftershock did not endanger operations at the tsunami-flooded Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex, where power was cut but quickly restored. The epicenter was just inland and about 100 miles north of Tokyo.
This aftershock came only hours after Japanese citizens bowed their heads in ceremonies to mark a month since the original earthquake and tsunami killed up to 25,000 people and set off radiation leaks at the nuclear plant by knocking out its cooling system. The March 11th earthquake and tsunami flattened communities along hundreds of miles (kilometers) of coastline, causing what the government estimates could be as much as $310 billion in damage. About 250,000 are without electricity, although some of them because of the latest two quakes Monday and last Thursday.
(A what point can you stop calling them “aftershocks” and start admitting that they are a series of strong and serious earthquakes in their own right?)
Stone tablets warn of tsunami dangers along Japan coasts. Another aftershock rattles the island nation.
In the hamlet of Aneyoshi, Iwate Prefecture, in northern Japan a centuries old tablet warns of the danger of tsunamis. The tablets form a crude warning system for Japan, whose long coasts run along major fault lines and is often the target of repeated earthquakes and tsunamis. The coastline is dotted with hundreds of such markers, some more than 600 years old. Japan has been hit by numerous earthquakes recently. The big 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit almost a month ago (March 11) and has killed some 20,000 people and has sparked an on ongoing crisis at a nuclear power plant. Thursday at 11:30pm another large aftershock hit the same area. The 7.4 magnitude aftershock caused the Japan meteorological agency to issue a tsunami warning for a wave of up to 6 feet but it was lifted 90 minutes later. Officials say Thursday’s aftershock hit 30 miles under the water and off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture. Buildings as far away as Tokyo shook for about a minute.
“High dwellings are the peace and harmony of our descendants,” the stone slab reads. “Remember the calamity of the great tsunamis. Do not build any homes below this point.” It was advice the dozen or so households of Aneyoshi heeded, and their homes emerged unscathed from a disaster that flattened low-lying communities elsewhere and killed thousands along Japan’s northeastern shore. One stone marker warned of the danger in the coastal city of Kesennuma: “Always be prepared for unexpected tsunamis. Choose life over your possessions and valuables.”
Farther south, the tsunami washed away a seven-foot tall stone tablet that stood next to a playground in the middle of Natori city. Its message was carved in giant Japanese characters: “If an earthquake comes, beware of tsunamis.” Hiroshi Kosai grew up in Natori but moved away after high school. His parents, who remained in the family home, died in the disaster. “I always told my parents it was dangerous here,” said the 43-year-old Kosai, as he pointed out the broken foundation where the tablet once stood. “In five years, you’ll see houses begin to sprout up here again.”