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  • Published 20120725
  • ISBN: 9781921922596
  • Extent: 264 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

AYUKAWA WAS PUT on the map when it was wiped off it. A little-known hamlet of rusting hulks and geriatrics, its location on the south-eastern tip of Honshu’s Oshika Peninsula gave it the grim honour of being the closest community to the epicentre of the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, the first landfall of the tsunami that followed and, for a time, the focus of world attention.

Eyewitness footage suggests a Godzilla movie scene: splintered houses float in a ten-metre-deep grey soup, boats caught in the adjacent forest like flies in a spider’s web, cars flipped on their backs like stranded beetles. Over a thousand bodies washed up in the steep coves of the Oshika Peninsula in the days following the tsunami. In Ayukawa, three out of four houses were destroyed, seventy-eight of its 1,400 residents were confirmed dead while thirty-six remain unaccounted for.

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