On May 11, 2011, the earthquake of magnitude 9.0, the biggest earthquake in the history of Japan and the fourth biggest earthquake in the world after year 1900, shocked the Tohoku area of Japan. In about 30 minutes, devastating tsunami reached, affecting the coastline with a length of 500 km (310 miles). The tsunami wave height of 39 meters (128 feet) was recorded in a port town in Tohoku. The tsunami swallowed villages along the coast and washed away all houses. The earthquake and tsunami killed more than 15,800 people, and still more than 3,500 people are missing.
From left, Mitsuteru Kurasawa, 20, Kota Suzuki, 17, and Haruma Miura, 20, in their devastated town, Otsuchi, Iwate, in one month after the earthquake and tsunami. Mr. Kurasawa was fishing at port, Mr. Suzuki was in a driving school, and Mr. Miura was trying to let sleep his baby when the earthquake hit thier town. All of them evacuated right away, fearing for tsunami. "We are so accustomed to tsunami warning that many of us did not believe," said Mr. Miura. The tsunami swallowed up the whole town of Otsuchi and left 802 people dead and 520 people missing. The mayor was also killed in the tsunami. "Right now, we were roaming around the town to see something is left," Mr. Kurasawa said. "But, there is nothing. We cannot even remember what was there. We have to start from Zero."