Visiting Ogatsu Town

Written by Karina Sujatmiko, Okumura Lab D1

In July, at Okumura-Zemi the students heard story about Great East Japan Earthquake told by a survivor named Abe-san. He lived in Ogatsu, a town located outside the city of Ishinomaki in northern Tohoku. Abe-san told the whole story about how he and his family evacuated, survived and live the post-disaster life. He also explained the relocation and reconstruction of Ogatsu town.

Figure 1. Reconstruction of old village in Ogatsu Town.

In July 30, on a nice sunny day I had the opportunity visited Ogatsu town along with Koshiyama-sensei, Okumura-sensei, and Liz-sensei from Tohoku University. It’s been 9 years since the Great East Japan Earthquake happened. Heard Abe-san story and seen the before and after photograph give a point of reference, but standing in the newly reconstructed town and seen the tall seawall creating a far exceed experience to understand how massive the disaster was. We went uphill to see the new reconstruction of the old village where Abe-san lived before the disaster. Standing in the high height I could see a calm and beautiful Ogatsu Bay. It hard to imagine that a devastated tsunami was once came and obliterated the whole town.

Figure 2. High seawall as a countermeasure to protect the surrounding area, built along in Ogatsu Bay.

I didn’t see many people around Ogatsu town, I heard the population is shrinking and many of them moved out. I know it is hard for people to stay because of the disruption of their business and public facility. However, saw Ogatsu Bay crowded by lines of scallop and oyster farming, I wish people can return to their hometown and revive Ogatsu town.

Figure 3. Calm and beautiful Ogatsu bay, this location used by local for scallop and oyster farming.
Figure 4. Small shop sell seafood product.