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Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011

Photo book of wave-hit city has English translation


RIKUZENTAKATA, Iwate Pref. — A collection of photos showing glimpses of tsunami-hit Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, along with accounts by local residents written in both Japanese and English has been published under the title "The Town that Vanished in 4 Minutes."

Photographers Shinya Komase, 37, and Koichi Toyoda, 45, who run the photo production firm fotohaus, interviewed around 40 people between May and July for the roughly 100-page book. Both worked as volunteers in Rikuzentakata.

The title was chosen to highlight the tragedy of the city's downtown, which according to Komase and Yoyoda was swallowed up in just four minutes after the tsunami reached the coast there at 3:26 p.m. on March 11.

Photographs in the book include a clock that stopped moving shortly after 2:50 p.m. following the magnitude-9 offshore quake and buildings in ruins, along with the gentle smiles of the residents despite their hardship of losing family and home.

While gathering information, Komase said he was increasingly hit by the feeling that the city had once been "a very beautiful place."

Part of the proceeds from the book will be donated to the city of Rikuzentakata.

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