Phitographed on 4/18/2011
“Look, these guys are still hanging in there, too.”
On our first trip to Tōhoku after the disaster we decided we would try to get as close as we could to Rikuzentakada in Iwate Prefecture and take it from there. We arrived to find rubble and debris everywhere. At this stage the debris had not yet been assembled into piles; there was only a narrow road cut through the debris so that traffic could just about pass. We made our way through the rubble-strewn roads until we arrived at a beach. We were in the next town along the coast from Rikuzentakada, just a few kilometers away from the site of a pine grove that had been a famous local beauty spot before the tsunami hit. At the time, the media were featuring reports about a single “miracle pine” that had survived the disaster. On this beach too, several scraggly trees were still standing. They were not as tall or impressive as the famous pine at Rikuzentakada but the sight of them seemed to give us new courage. We decided we’d leave the Rikuzentakada pine to the major media outlets and look for encounters like this one with the pines in front of us now—less immediately impressive, perhaps, but tough and resilient and hanging in there just the same.
Written by Tatsuya Hirose
ライター / 廣瀬達也