Jan 29, 2019
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Haunting Google Street Views of the Great East Japan Earthquake

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On March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake struck off the coast of Japan. It was a magnitude 9.03 (Mw), the most powerful known earthquake ever to have hit Japan and the fifth most powerful earthquake in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900. The earthquake triggered powerful tsunami waves that reached heights of up to 40.5 metres (133 ft) in Miyako in Tōhoku’s Iwate Prefecture, and which, in the Sendai area, traveled up to 10 km (6 mi) inland. The earthquake moved Honshu (the main island of Japan) 2.4 m (8 ft) east and shifted the Earth on its axis by estimates of between 10 cm (4 in) and 25 cm (10 in). [Source]

A Japanese National Police Agency report confirmed 15,882 deaths, 6,142 injured, and 2,668 people missing across twenty prefectures, as well as 129,225 buildings totally collapsed, with a further 254,204 buildings ‘half collapsed’, and another 691,766 buildings partially damaged. The World Bank’s estimated economic cost was US$235 billion, making it the costliest natural disaster in world history. [Source]

To help people in Japan share their photographs and videos that did survive, Google created a website, “Mirai e no kioku”, which means “Memories for the Future“. Through this site, people have been able to rediscover lost memories of their homes and towns.

Google is also providing thousands of miles of Street View imagery in the affected areas that were collected before and after the disaster. Seeing the street-level imagery of the affected areas puts the plight of these communities into perspective and ensures that the memories of the disaster remain relevant and tangible for future generations.

In a Google Maps Blog Post published last week, Tamotsu Baba, Mayor of Namie-machi, wrote about his city’s plight. The town, home to 21,000 people, has been abandoned since the earthquake. Tamotsu remarked:

“Ever since the March disaster, the rest of the world has been moving forward, and many places in Japan have started recovering. But in Namie-machi time stands still. With the lingering nuclear hazard, we have only been able to do cursory work for two whole years. We would greatly appreciate it if you viewed this Street View imagery to understand the current state of Namie-machi and the tremendous gravity of the situation.
 
Those of us in the older generation feel that we received this town from our forebearers, and we feel great pain that we cannot pass it down to our children. It has become our generation’s duty to make sure future generations understand the city’s history and culture—maybe even those who will not remember the Fukushima nuclear accident. We want this Street View imagery to become a permanent record of what happened to Namie-machi in the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster.” [Source]

 

Below you will find a collection of screen captures taken from various Google Street Views around Japan. To see more be sure to visit the official site at: Memories for the Future

 

1. Higashihama Hwy – Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture

See on Google Street View | Captured by TwistedSifter

 

 

2. Takatamatsubara Road-Station

See on Google Street View | Captured by TwistedSifter

 

 

3. Namie-machi, Fukushima Prefecture

 

 

4. Onagawa, Oshika-District, Miyagi Prefecture

See on Google Street View | Captured by TwistedSifter

 

 

5. Former City Office, Rikuzentakata

See on Google Street View | Captured by TwistedSifter

 

 

6. Ukedo Port, Namie, Fukushima Prefecture

See on Google Street View | Captured by TwistedSifter

 

 

7. Namie, Fukushima Prefecture

 

 

8. Oshika Whale Land

See on Google Street View | Captured by TwistedSifter

 

 

9. Nakahama Elementary School

See on Google Street View | Captured by TwistedSifter

 

 

10. Roadside Memorial, Namie, Fukushima Prefecture

 

 

11. Ukedo Harbor, Namie, Fukushima Prefecture

 

 

12. Sendai Transportation Bureau, Okada Branch Office

See on Google Street View | Captured by TwistedSifter

 

 

13. Cemetery, Namie, Fukushima Prefecture

 

 

14. Ukedo Harbor, Namie, Fukushima Prefecture

 

 

15. Onagawa, Oshika District, Miyagi Prefecture

See on Google Street View | Captured by TwistedSifter

 

 

16. Namie, Fukushima Prefecture

 

 

17. Namie, Fukushima Prefecture

 

 

18. Namie, Fukushima Prefecture

 

 

19. Ukedo Assembly Hall

See on Google Street View | Captured by TwistedSifter

 

 

20. Namie, Fukushima Prefecture

See on Google Street View | Captured by TwistedSifter

 

 

21. Miyako Iwate Prefecture

See on Google Street View | Captured by TwistedSifter

 

 

22. Iwate Prefectural Takata Hospital

See on Google Street View | Captured by TwistedSifter

 

 

23. Rias Harbor Miyako

See on Google Street View | Captured by TwistedSifter

 

 

 

See More at Memories for the Future by Google

 

 

 

 

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