Project

The 2011 Japan Tsunami

When disaster strikes, people often relate narratively in terms of the cost of human life and the physical destruction that accompanies it. But after the tsunami killed journalist Matthew Komatsu's Japanese grandmother in Kesennuma on March 11, 2011, it was not death that consumed him, but rather the interpretation of the tsunami itself.

This project looks at the 2011 tsunami through a personal lens by examining what it meant for Komatsu to re-discover his mixed heritage after such an event. It also investigates the unique relationship between people and technology that disaster warning systems have engendered, as well as the the ties between memory and encoded landscapes.

The Unburied Stone

The story of Yoshihama's tsunami stone, borne ashore in 1933 and inscribed with text, buried in 1961 beneath a coastal road, and resurrected by the 2011 tsunami.

Preparing for Japan's Next Tsunami

The island nation’s new warning system will broadcast qualitative alerts after future tsunamigenic Pacific megathrust earthquakes to motivate at-risk residents to evacuate.