The People of Fukushima


This set of pictures were taken off of the coast of Iwaki, Japan, an area that was completely devastated from the 2011 tsunami and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Imagine this calm ocean being replaced by an eight foot wall of water racing towards you, promising to destroy everything in its path and knowing that even if you’re at the top of the cliff overlooking the sea, you’re still not safe. The tsunami completely devastated the coast, causing the shoreline to become half of what it used to be. It left ruin, pain, and suffering in its wake and even today, the people of Japan refuse to build on this coastline in fear of the event happening again. This area has become a ghost town, a shell of its former self, and the people are still feeling the repercussions. 


As I listened to our guide explaining the damage from the tsunami, the fear of the people then and today, the stories of how men and women were lost forever as they rushed towards the cliff for higher ground, it was like I could hear their sobs and feel their fear and helplessness. My throat closed hearing all the struggles the people here had to go through, from the tsunami to the nuclear disaster. But though this area is known as a town that was completely wiped out by the 2011 tsunami, the people are slowly trying to heal and return to what used to be and I’m amazed at their resilience and hope. I hope this photoset is able to capture the of the duality of emotions: pain and rebirth.

Madison Manley