Evacuation Route Research Institute: The Case of Shinchi, Soma District, Fukushima Prefecture (Part 1)
Takezawa was living right next to the sea. When the earthquake struck causing bookshelves to fall on top of him, he expected to die. A few minutes after the initial shock, Takezawa prepared for evacuation with his grandmother after hearing the “major tsunami warning” announced through the city’s emergency broadcast system. He decided to use a car even though he didn’t think it was a good idea because there were no mountains or other high places nearby. Shortly after, they were caught in a traffic jam.
Evacuation Route Research Institute
A series that focuses on how people spent their time between the earthquake and the arrival of the tsunami on March 11th, 2011. By listing chronologically the actions they took before they reached higher ground and before they were rescued, the series studies the evacuation routes of people who survived the tsunami.
Extracts from the questionnaire distributed at the screening in February 2014
“Although I was not directly affected on the day of the disaster as I was not in the coastal area on that day, this archive really conveyed to me how extraordinary it was. I just hope those in the disaster area can overcome what has happened to them and become able to see the disaster as something in the past. It may hurt in its own ways, but those who perished will never come back. So I hope those who survived can cherish their own lives as much as possible and move forward.”
“I now live in Sendai but I grew up in Shinchi. On that day my hands were full dealing with things at my workplace, and had no information about Shinchi. In nearby Yamamoto, I heard, the emergency broadcast system didn't function. It seems like how well systems worked or how you were instructed became the difference between life and death. I learned how serious the situation was when I saw a JR train fell on its side in Shinchi on a street TV in Sendai, and this video showed me what things were like at the time. For me it’s more about knowing than about not forgetting.”
“Thinking of the feelings of the survivors who experienced the disaster on the coast, can I really be called a survivor after living through the earthquake in Sendai?. Although I have seen the tsunami a number of times in photography and video, looking back at how a single person ran for his life felt more relevant to me, and more real. It left me thinking that unlike our memories which fade little by little, recorded materials remain as they are. I feel I should have recorded more of my days right after the disaster—all the more because living in Sendai, it's easier to forget that day and the days that followed. I feel forgetting is something we need to be afraid of the most.”
“It was beyond verbalizing. Thank you for sharing this.”