Tag Archives: Edan Corkill

The ‘miracle villages’

When addressing the questions asked last week about rebuilding Japan’s destroyed communities, some villages are clearly ahead of the curve.

As Japan Times writer Edan Corkill reports, the village of Yoshihama was spared the most terrible effects of the 11 March tsunami because of decisions made generations ago, after previous big disasters in 1896 and 1933, to relocate to higher ground.  It is an incredible story of warnings from the past, left on stone markers built at the point where earlier giant waves reached:

High dwellings mean peace for descendants. Remember the disaster of the great tsunami. Do not build houses below here

In case after heartbreaking case, those who heeded the warnings not to return to the shoreline to build houses were saved, while those who didn’t were washed away.  Perhaps this third tragedy will be enough to see the lessons of the markers learned once and for all.

Next time I hope that they can all be miracle villages.

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