“Inamura no Hi” is a story of a man who noticed a precursor of a large tsunami at the earliest stage and led village inhabitants to higher ground by burning harvested rice sheaves. This story was based on a true story at the time of Ansei-Nankai Tsunami (1854), which claimed around 3,000 lives in the coastal areas of Western Japan (ADRC).
Based on the information from ADRC, 8 countries, language versions were released: Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. Thai language version was also found.
This story became famous after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami disaster, especially the 2005 UN WCDR (World Conference on Disaster Reduction) in Kobe. Former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi introduced this story in the Japanese lessons for disaster education (Government of Japan, 2006). Hirogawa Town’s video well explains the background of the story in short and their tsunami disaster education.
80% of occurring tsunami in the world is concentrated in the Circum-Pacific Belt.The leading countries researching the tsunami are Japan, U.S, and Russia. The tsunami is originally a Japanese word term that means a high tidal wave*. The name was used by Japanese immigrants during a tidal wave caused by the 1946 Aleutian Islands earthquake** (tsunami) hit in Hiro***, Hawaii and it became an international word, especially an academic word, ”Tsunami”. The origin of an international conference about Tsunami has a tsunami session led by the IUGG (The International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics) as an additional event. The”Tsunami” became public after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami disaster.
*The word tsunami (pronounced is composed of the Japanese words “Tsu” (which means harbor) and “Nami” (which means “wave”)(ITIC)
The 1983 Sea of Japan earthquake or 1983 Nihonkai-Chubu earthquake occurred on May 26．The magnitude of the earthquake was 7.8.It occurred in the Sea of Japan. The mortality number was 104 and 100 were caused by the tsunami. The tsunami hit communities along the coast, especially, Aomori and Akita Prefectures and the east coast of Noto Peninsula.
There are three things to share about the tsunami disaster.
The first is the tsunami generated location, the second is the broadcasting, and the third is the victims of school children. The first, there was an ancient tradition which tsunami never hit the coast of the sea of Japan. This normalcy bias* exacerbates the damage. The second, this was the first tsunami disaster broadcasted all over the world during the time. The people who had homevideo also contributed to the media. The tsunami warning system, wireless tsunami information from the sea of Japan to the local area, to inform local people was improved after the event. The third, 43 school children were hit and 13 were passed away. They were on an excursion. The school teacher could not do anything during the time. The 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami disaster also had some teachers related issues. The both tsunamis were daytime tsunamis.
The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami (GEJET) disaster is the deadliest disaster after the Second World War in Japan. The earthquake happened at 2:46 pm, 11st of March in 2011. The total casualty number is 19,846 based on the EM-DAT. The max. tsunami height is 40m at Sanriku ria coast. The first wave arrival is approx. 30 min. after the earthquake.
The Sanriku areas have a special geographical condition mentioned as a Sanriku ria coast. The coast has mountains close to the sea, so residential areas are limited only in the distributed narrow and lower zones near to the sea and the areas become very vulnerable against the tsunamis. The bays in the coast are small and the sea inside the bays is very deep. This makes tsunami faster and higher, this is why the Sanriku ria coast makes the highest tsunami risk area in the world.
Because of these characteristics, the communities in Sanriku ria coast, mainly in Iwate prefecture historically has been severely affected by tsunami disasters such as Meiji Sanriku Tsunami (Meiji (1896)), Sowa Sanriku Tsunami (Sowa (1933)), and Chilean Earthquake Tsunami (Chilean (1960)) disasters compared to the flat coast mainly in Miyagi prefecture and other areas in Japan.
I will explain a little bit about the Meiji (1896). This disaster is so-called a surprise attack, tsunami disaster happened at approx. 7:30 pm, 15th of June in 1896 mainly in the Sanriku ria coast. The dead and missing number has reported over 22,000. The earthquake is not so strong (Japanese earthquake scale indicates Shindo 1-2), however, the tsunami is very strong and high (max. height is 38.2m at Ayasato area (present Ofunato city)) compared to the earthquake movement scale. This makes severe impacts.We call this huge tsunami caused by a weak earthquake, Tsunami Earthquake. The first wave arrival is approx. 35m after the earthquake. The Meiji (1896) has been the worst tsunami disaster ever in Japan.
In 1611, the larger tsunami (Keicho Sanriku Tsunami*) than Meiji hit the Sanriku area. That could be also “tsunami earthquake”. After that, every 40 years, the people in the area tended to have a big tsunami. Even though they had such experiences, they did not have good tsunami disaster countermeasures and also the tsunami was “tsunami earthquake”. In addition, they had some ancient traditions like a tsunami is a punishment from the Gods and Buddha. These are the main causes to make the Meiji worse.