Memorial for deadly 2011 Japan earthquake to open in October in Miyagi

Photo courtesy of Minamisanriku Town Tourist Association
Photo courtesy of Minamisanriku Town Tourist Association

Memorial for deadly 2011 Japan earthquake to open in October in Miyagi

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Okinawa

Eleven years have passed since the catastrophic East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011. The unprecedented 9.0-magnitude earthquake, subsequent tsunami, and Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown struck the eastern coast and caused significant damage nationwide.

In the aftermath, 15,900 were dead, 2,523 missing, and 6,157 were injured. Minamisanriku Town in Miyagi Prefecture, which was at the center of the devastation, will soon have a new memorial to commemorate the loss of life during this tragic disaster.

The Minamisanriku 311 Memorial will open in October as a remembrance to the victims of March 11 for future generations. The two-story, 1,400-square-meter complex is designed by renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and will feature an exhibition area, theater and conference/classroom area.

Plans for the memorial include mementos and photos of the victims and devastated town in a permanent exhibit, artwork by French sculptor Christian Boltanski, and workshops for visitors to participate in.

The conference room portion can accommodate large groups of up to 100 people, so officials expect to host various schools and companies there for first-aid and disaster training. The tourist association said it is in the process of planning guided tours, walking tours and bus tours with a local guide of the devastated areas.

Though it has been 11 years since the country suffered the natural disaster, the commitment to not forget those lost during the tragic earthquake and tsunami continues today.

Minamisanriku 311 Memorial
Open: October 2022
Location: 200-1 Shitsugawaitukamachi, Sanrikucho, Motoyoshi-gun, Miyagi Pref.
Website (Minamisanriku Town Tourist Association)

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