Years after the 2011 Great Tsunami: Transitional state of recovery in Ishinomaki, Japan in 2015

This documentation is about the city of Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan that suffered from the highest number of casualties caused by 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami that have brought unprecedented consequences to Japanese society.

The shock that I had from the live news of the disaster a few years ago did never go away and I started to become curious how the city, which was literally ‘wiped out’, was being recovered and rebuilt. This is the very first phase of the documentation that’ll be done over the years ahead and in this phase I focused on the transitional state of recovery that presents banal yet bitter scenes in the people’s everyday life.

During the research about the city, I found that much of the wiped out area was still almost deserted and the updated Google Map seemed to show nothing but blank spaces indicating there were no existing businesses or places to go. But surprisingly, when I tried to get very close to the area from the bird's eye view, I found that the Google Map was still showing some of the places that didn't exist any more and it left me a kind of poignant emotion that I could see some of the identities of the people who were gone now. 

The plan of my first trip to the area started from these identities. I tracked down the places that only existed in the map without knowing what I would encounter or even how to get there. The unimaginable amount of debris and the direct remnants of the disaster were almost cleared but there were still so many scars at every corner of the streets that seemed to have become normal parts of the life in the city.