A Decade After the Disaster

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Marking the 10-year anniversary of Japan’s triple catastrophe, a series combines NHK and eyewitness footage to convey the impact and recovery efforts.

Residents and emergency officials watched helplessly as surging waters inundated Kamaishi City in the northern prefecture of Iwate, following the magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck off the Pacific coast on March 11, 2011. “3/11 – The Tsunami,” a two-part documentary that recounts Japan’s largest recorded natural disaster, is airing over several dates on NHK World, available over the air and on several L.A.-area cable systems. (Images courtesy NHK World)

NHK World Japan, the English-language international service of Japanese public broadcaster NHK, has begun broadcasting “3/11-The Tsunami,” a new two-part documentary series that recounts Japan’s largest recorded natural disaster set off by a massive earthquake that rocked Japan on March 11, 2011, and the country’s recovery efforts of the following year.

To create the series designed to mark the 10-year anniversary of the disaster, NHK amassed hundreds of hours of film shot by NHK camera crews as well as mobile phone and other footage captured by citizens who were on scene during and after the earthquake and tsunami.

NHK edited and wove the footage together in chronological order to create this compelling series—and cautionary tale—that captures the magnitude and emotions of the unprecedented mega-disaster.

Episode 1 of the series, “The First 3 Days,” tells the story of the horrifying moments following the magnitude 9.0 earthquake off the Pacific coast of the Tohoku region on March 11 at 2:46 p.m., triggering a massive tsunami and nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

The disaster destroyed cities and towns throughout the region, crumbling buildings, crushing cars, causing massive flooding—and taking more than 18,000 lives in the process.

Episode 2, “The First Year,” depicts the painstaking recovery efforts undertaken by Japan over the following year, as the country worked tirelessly to rebuild homes and buildings that were either damaged or completely destroyed, as well as repair or rebuild ports, dams, roadways, and other infrastructure devastated by the disaster.

Part 1 of the series airs at noon local time this Friday, with Part 2 airing at 5:10 and 11:10 p.m.

Along the way, the series tells stories of the personal experiences of those who were affected by the disaster, using first-hand accounts to depict people’s experiences that day as well as the hardships they faced during the aftermath.

Episode 1 will air this Friday, Jan. 15, at 12 noon local time. Episode 2 airs this Friday at 5:10 and 11:10 p.m. PST, then Saturday, Jan. 16 (three separate air times) and Friday, Jan. 22 (see local television listings for all air times).

NHK World Japan is presented in 13 major U.S. markets through its partnerships with public television broadcasters in each market. The service is also available on Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV as well as via a free downloadable app and streaming on the website: http://nhk.jp/world.

In the 10 years that have followed this disaster, NHK World Japan has increased its commitment to providing its viewers around the world with unparalleled news coverage and information related to 3/11 and potential natural disasters.

Carried throughout the U.S. since 2009, the 24/7 broadcast station reaches viewers through affiliates in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Atlanta, Seattle, Denver, Orlando, Charlotte, Baltimore, and Salt Lake City.

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