Shipwrecked, Two Years after Tōhoku

For more photos of the Kyotokumaru, visit the 第十八共徳丸 location page.

On 11 March 2011, a 9.03 magnitude earthquake focused off the Pacific coast of Tōhoku struck Japan. It was the most powerful known earthquake ever to have hit Japan, and triggered tsunami waves that reached heights of up to 40.5 meters (133 ft) and travelled 10 km (6 mi) inland.

Remnants of Tōhoku’s destruction remain today in northern Japan. In Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture, 17 ships ran aground but just one—a 330-ton, 200-foot-long fishing boat called the No. 18 Kyotokumaru (第十八共徳丸)—still sits where the waves left it over 800 meters (.5 mi) from the city’s harbor. The city of Kesennuma is debating whether to leave the Kyotokumaru as a monument or dismantle it. While some visit the site to pay their respects, others find the ship to be a painful reminder of the disaster.