Ghosts of the Tsunami

Ghosts of the Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan's Disaster Zone

August 31st 2017
June 13, 2022 June 22, 2022

On 11 March 2011, a massive earthquake sent a 120-foot-high tsunami smashing into the coast of north-east Japan. By the time the sea retreated, more than 18,500 people had been crushed, burned to death, or drowned. It was Japan’s greatest single loss of life since the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.

Richard Lloyd Parry, an award-winning foreign correspondent, lived through the earthquake in Tokyo, and spent six years reporting from the disaster zone. He met a priest who performed exorcisms on people possessed by the spirits of the dead. And he found himself drawn back again and again to a village which had suffered the greatest loss of all, a community tormented by unbearable mysteries of its own.

What really happened to the local children as they waited in the school playground in the moments before the tsunami? Why did their teachers not evacuate them to safety? And why was the unbearable truth being so stubbornly covered up?

Ghosts of the Tsunami is a classic of literary non-fiction, a heart-breaking and intimate account of an epic tragedy, told through the personal accounts of those who lived through it. It tells the story of how a nation faced a catastrophe, and the bleak struggle to find consolation in the ruins.

About the book

This is a touching book about Great East Japan Earthquake, it tells the true story of the Japanese population immediately after the tsunami that devastated the northeastern coast. It focuses on one school in particular, the only one where pupils have died. Yes, because among the 378 students who died, it seems that only those of this school are direct victims of the tsunami while they were at school (the others were at home or were going home with their parents). The book is about this disaster, the decisions made by the adults in the school that led to the death of the children, about the old men of the village versus the young wives who wanted to go and get the children and run overground, but being old they have experience with earthquake and the school is a safe place, it is built against earthquakes (but not against tsunamis) and about the parents of the children overpowered by the wave and of the surviving children, those who want to forget the tragedy to move forward and those who want justice.

Continue reading “Ghosts of the Tsunami”