Picture Stories from Earth: Tohoku Earthquake

Tohoku (東北) is the name of the six prefectures that make up the northern end of Honshu, the main island of the Japanese archipelago. The name is made up of two kanji: 東 (ひがし hi.ga.shi), meaning East, and 北 (きた ki.ta), meaning North. In typical Japanese fashion, the symbols are pronounced one way when alone (kun pronunciation), and a different way (on pronunciation) in a compound word (とうほく to.u.ho.ku). Today is the first anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. It seems a lot longer.

The land is torn
but cherry trees still bloom
in Tsutsujigaoka Park

Here is a discussion of what it’s like, living in coastal Tohoku today.

Here is a set of satellite images (before, after, and now — reading up) of the damage to the city of Nagatsura, and the Kitakami River. The city is permanently changed because of changes in the level of the land.

This is a photo-essay of the region in the immediate aftermath.

And here is a set of interactive photos, showing how the debris clearance is going.

Meanwhile, the local Toyota plant (inland, but still impacted by supplier outages), is just hitting its stride again.

In another month, there will be cherry blossoms.

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