After the wave. Before the wave.
On 11 March 2011 at 14:46 local time, the worst earthquake ever recorded in Japan occurred on Japan's east coast. My latest photographic work is about the aftermath of the resulting tsunami disaster. I have limited my photographic work to the northwest coast of the main island, from Sendai to the far north of the main island.
Why? There is a topographical peculiarity there. In addition to the cliffs, there are inlets, some of which extend several kilometres inland. There, the tsunami waves built up to a height of over 16 m at the time and therefore caused enormous damage.
The Japanese are still in the process of removing the consequences of the catastrophe and repopulating the valleys or cultivating agricultural areas and greenhouses at old settlement sites.
The housing estates have mostly been moved further back into the country or to the slopes of the valleys. In the valleys themselves, they built and are building shopping malls, sports facilities and similar infrastructure elements that will be easier to evacuate in the future, in case of another tsunami. The warning time at the time was less than 8 minutes.
The beaches have been closed since then and therefore appear deserted. The massive protective architecture against the sea also changes the relationship of the Japanese to the sea.
It is and will remain a gigantic task over generations to rebuild the coastal settlement and infrastructure in a way that is prepared for the future. The new protective architecture against the sea has enormous dimensions, which become very clear in the photographs.
Furthermore, these buildings also show us what will happen to all coastal cities in the near future due to climate change and rising sea levels, whether in New York, Singapore, Hong Kong or Hamburg.