Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Ancient Japanese Stone Tsunami Markers

This centuries old stone monument in Aneyoshi reads:
"High dwellings are the peace and harmony of our descendants.
Remember the calamity of the great tsunamis.
Do not build any homes below this point."

Hundreds of stone markers dot the Japanese coastline warning the dangers of a tsunami. Some of these markers are by all accounts well over 600 years old.

Some are simply high water markers that note how far the water had come in during a tsunami.

Others have written words on them giving brief but elequent warnings from the past.

One such marker in the coastal town of Kesennuma reads: "Always be prepared for unexpected tsunamis. Choose life over your possessions and valuables."

Another from Natori is more blunt: "If an earthquake comes, beware of tsunamis."

12 year old Yuto Kimura of Aneyoshi, home of the marker pictured above, explained to The Canadian Press: "Everybody here knows about the markers. We studied them in school. When the tsunami came, my mom got me from school and then the whole village climbed to higher ground."

The town of Aneyoshni heeded the warning from their ancestors. Unfortunately, many other towns did not.

As of today, April 7th, 2011 more than 12,000 people have been confirmed dead. That number is expected to top 25,000. Another 100,000 people have been displaced from their destroyed homes.

Many of the ancient stones were destroyed in this tsunami after centuries of standing alone as a testament to the past. We wonder if this generation will replace them to warn succeeding generations to come.

1 comment:

Arby said...

Thank you for sharing this.