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.
A woman stands in front of the gate of Okawa Elementary School in Ishinomaki, Miyagi, in one month after the earthquake and tsunami. 74 children out of 108 students and 10 of 11 teachers who were in the school at that time were killed by the tsunami. They were trying to evacuate all together to a higher place 200 meters away from the school when the tsunami came over the river's bank and swallowed them. Flowers and sweets are placed for the children who lost their lives.