Black Tsunami. Japan 2011. Photographs by James Whitlow Delano.
Black Tsunami. Japan 2011. booktease preview.

Black Tsunami.

Japan 2011.

Photographs by James Whitlow Delano.
FotoEvidence, 2013. 112 pp., 91 black & white illustrations, 8x12".

Publisher's Description
BLACK TSUNAMI:Japan 2011 provides a powerful portrait of the devastation left by the great tsunami that engulfed northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011. Delano captures not only the immediate impact of the tsunami but also the consequences for the inhabitants of the region. His images provide a haunting portrait of farms and villages in the exclusion zone, showing an uninhabited landscape where ancestral graves, decaying buildings and neglected animals share the abandoned space.

The Tohoku earthquake, measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale jolted Japan both physically and psychologically. The quake, the fourth strongest ever recorded and the strongest ever to strike Japan, sent a tsunami, known in Japan as the Black Tsunami, onto Japan's northeast coast. The tsunami peaked at a height of 39 meters (128 ft.) and damaged towns as far as 10 km (6 mi.) inland. The quake moved Honshu Island, Japan's largest, 2.5 meters (8 feet) east and, in the rich rice growing region where the tsunami struck, the earth subsided by more than half a meter (approx. 2ft.) permanently contaminating once fertile rice paddies with salt water.

More than 400,000 people were displaced. In BLACK TSUNAMI we find them sitting around a kerosene heater at an emergency shelter, lining up for scarce food and water, many with family, homes and belongings lost. Their lives permanently dislodged by the tsunami. Two years after the disaster, over 300,000 people remain in temporary housing.

The tsunami inundated towns as far as 6 miles (9 km) from the sea, and left more than 16,000 people dead and approximately 3,000 missing and presumed dead.

The entire Tohoku region continues to struggle, as efforts to control and clean up at the Fukushima-Daichi power station has made the Japanese population reluctant to purchase products from the region. Efforts to control the meltdown and clean up at the Fukushima-daichi power station have shaken Japan's the government's reliability and commitment to protect people.

James Whitlow Delano's photographs remind us that the story is still unfolding for those most severely impacted and for Japan as a whole, as it faces existential questions about the future of nuclear power which provides more than a third of its electricity.

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