TSUNAMI-8  テトラポット Tetrapods

078 Photographed on 6/23/2011

“I’ve had enough of this. Everything’s so damn quiet.”

We left Sendai airport behind us and drove south along the coast. The terrain around us was almost entirely flat. The car navigation system told us we were driving through residential areas and agricultural fields, but all we could see through the windshield was emptiness and desolation. “I’ve had enough of this,” Kuyama suddenly said. It was a line we often used to tease our young editor when we had lost enthusiasm for a project. But this time I think he said it in an attempt to escape the horrible sense that our emotions were being numbed by the horrors constantly unfolding all around us, and as an excuse for driving through these devastated areas without even stopping. Then suddenly he shouted, “Stop!” He leaped out of the car and ran toward a small fishing harbor a short distance away where he stood taking photos and looking out at the tranquil sea just beyond his lens. When he finally returned to the car, he had a look of disbelief on his face. “Is this really the same sea the tsunami came from?”

Written by Tetsuya Hirose



ライター / 廣瀬達也

> 3.11 写真家・久山城正が遺した東日本大震災の風景 スペシャルサイト

TSUNAMI-7 金剛寺 Gongōji Temple

010 Photographed on 4/19/2011

“Wow, look! Everything’s still in color up there. The cherry blossoms are blooming, in spite of everything.”

Everything in the disaster area was covered in mud, so that it was extremely rare to encounter any patches of bright color—although there were occasional glimpses here and there if you went looking. This lack of color was as striking as the scale of the damage itself. Kuyama was photographing the wreckage when he suddenly turned toward me and shouted these words. Down where we were standing, close to a pathway that led up to a temple on a small hill, everything was covered in rubble. Even the trees that lined the slope had been damaged by the waves. But when we lifted our gaze to the temple itself, we found the area aflame with the beautiful pink of cherry blossoms. This harbinger of spring reminded us that the world was still a colorful place after all and even brought us a moment of happiness.

Written by Tetsuya Hirose



ライター / 廣瀬達也

> 3.11 写真家・久山城正が遺した東日本大震災の風景 スペシャルサイト

TSUNAMI-6 大川小学校 Ōkawa Elementary School

031 Photographed on 6/22/2011

“ . . . . . . . . .” (Silence)

Continuing along a “road” made up of huge numbers of metal sheets spread out alongside the Kitakami River, we eventually reached a place where the bridge across the big river was down and we could go no further. The place was crowded with police, Self-Defense Force and fire department vehicles, and taxis carrying reporters. It turned out we were not far from the Ōkawa Elementary School, where so many children had perished that day. It was one of the places I returned to every time I visited Tōhoku to join my hands in prayer. For a while there were no restrictions in place and it was possible to enter the building. The school stands as if surrounded by the mountains and the embankment along the river. We could only imagine what had happened here that day. Normally we batted remarks back and forth all the time like a comedy duo, but in the face of this we had no words to say. I sensed a hint of anger on Kuyama’s face.

Written by Tetsuya Hirose



ライター / 廣瀬達也

> 3.11 写真家・久山城正が遺した東日本大震災の風景 スペシャルサイト

TSUNAMI-5 漁具のかかった木 Trees Strewn With Fishing Tackle

005 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

> 3.11 写真家・久山城正が遺した東日本大震災の風景 スペシャルサイト

TSUNAMI-4 夕日 Evening Sun

007 Photographed on 4/18/2011

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it . . .”

We later learned from the map that a long line of substantial stores had once stood here: a self-service gas station, a general clothing store, a car supply retailer . . . But from our vantage point amid the ruins of Route 45, the town of Rikuzentakada looked empty. Across the barren plain we could see the mountains in the distance. Mysterious puddles of water dotted the land around us, though we knew they couldn’t be rice paddies. When the sun finally began to sink behind the mountains, time seemed to slow as we looked out over the panorama before us. The slowed-down time seemed to soothe something within our hearts. Every time we looked at the scene, Kuyama always muttered the same grim question to himself: “I wonder what used to be here?”

Written by Tatsuya Hirose



ライター / 廣瀬達也

> 3.11 写真家・久山城正が遺した東日本大震災の風景 スペシャルサイト

TSUNAMI-3 折れた電柱 Broken Utility Poles

019 Photographed on 4/19/2011

“Did you know this is what utility poles look like on the inside??”

From Rikuzentakada we drove south along Route 45. Toward Kesennuma, the road veers briefly away from the coast. Noticing a hardware store by the side of the road, we decided to stop by for a look around, but when we got closer we were shocked to realize that the entire first floor of the store had been swept away and now lay open to the elements. As we stepped out of the car, we noticed a strange smell in the air. Continuing into the town as if led on by something, we entered a black world where everything seemed to have been scorched by flames. Subsidence had left the coastal area where the seafood stores must once have stood under water. We had arrived in a monochrome world, devastated by the tsunami and the fires that followed. The surrounding area was susceptible to flooding even in normal times. There was no way a car could get through. Kuyama got out and put on his boots. Heedless of his own safety, he disappeared into the desolate landscape, occasionally reappearing again from the least expected places.

Written by Tetsuya Hirose



ライター / 廣瀬達也

> 3.11 写真家・久山城正が遺した東日本大震災の風景 スペシャルサイト

TSUNAMI-2 巨大缶詰 Giant Can

048 Photograhed on 4/20/2011

“What the hell’s that?”

Local residents as well as the Self-Defense Forces, police, and fire services all worked hard to open up a small road through the devastation. We made our way slowly south along the coast, making winding diversions where the bridges had been damaged or in places totally destroyed. Driving along a road that was hardly a road at all we arrived at Ishinomaki, where we were greeted by the sight of this huge, bright red cylinder by the roadside. Probably as much as 12 meters high, this giant object was the advertising sign of a local business called Kinoya that sold canned seafood. Despite its size, the can had been swept 500 meters by the waves. It was another grim reminder of the terrible force of the tsunami, but until now we had been moving through an almost entirely monochrome world and this flash of color, which might normally have provided some excitement, seemed to have a healing effect. There was a hint of happiness for the first time in Kuyama’s voice when he spoke. We visited the town several times after this and Kuyama always commented on the can with excitement in his voice: “It’s still there!” The can was removed in June 2012.

Written by Tetsuya Hirose



ライター / 廣瀬達也

> 3.11 写真家・久山城正が遺した東日本大震災の風景 スペシャルサイト

TSUNAMI-1 鉄橋 Railway Bridge

013photographed on 4/19/2011

“What’s happened here?”

This was the devastating sight that greeted us as we entered Tōhoku and headed down from the mountains toward Rikuzentakada on the coast. Looming ahead of us were the ruined remains of the railway bridge that used to carry the JR Ōfunawatari line across the Kesen River. We had started to notice signs of the devastation along the road before now, but this was the first thing that really brought home to us the full scale and horror of what had happened. We were still more than three kilometers from the coast, where we had heard that one single tree had survived from the beautiful pine grove that had previously stretched along the beach at Rikuzentakada. From here, the altitude dropped and the extent of the damage grew more severe we neared the sea. Just before this photo was taken, there were ten times as many crows on the tree behind us. After this, Kuyama went off somewhere for a while, saying he wanted to take some pictures of the surroundings. When he returned, his face was grim and drawn.

Written by Tatsuya Hirose



ライター / 廣瀬達也

> 3.11 写真家・久山城正が遺した東日本大震災の風景 スペシャルサイト






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