Toru's Feed
Mar 10, 2014
via Photographers' Blog

Fukushima’s children

Photo

Fukushima Prefecture, Japan

By Toru Hanai

It will soon be the third anniversary of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami that wrecked the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

I myself live in Tokyo, more than a three-hour drive away. Right after the disaster, I too bought bottled water both to drink and to use around the house. Now, however, I drink from the tap without thinking about it.

Mar 9, 2014

The children of Japan’s Fukushima battle an invisible enemy

KORIYAMA, Japan, March 10 (Reuters) – Some of the smallest
children in Koriyama, a short drive from the crippled Fukushima
nuclear plant, barely know what it’s like to play outside –
fear of radiation has kept them in doors for much of their short
lives.

Though the strict safety limits for outdoor activity set
after multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant
in 2011 have now been eased, parental worries and ingrained
habit mean many children still stay inside.

Oct 27, 2013

Motorcycling-Lorenzo’s Japan win keeps Marquez waiting

MOTEGI, Japan, Oct 27 (Reuters) – World champion Jorge Lorenzo won the Japanese Grand Prix ahead of championship leader Marc Marquez on Sunday to ensure the MotoGP title race goes down to the final round of the season at Valencia next month.

The Yamaha rider rode a brilliant race from pole position, holding off rookie Marquez for 22 laps at the Motegi Twin Ring track and frustrating his fellow Spaniard’s championship ambitions for the second week in a row.

Oct 26, 2013

Lorenzo on pole for Japanese Grand Prix

MOTEGI, Japan (Reuters) – World champion Jorge Lorenzo continued his desperate fight to keep his MotoGP title by taking pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix in a wet qualifying session at the weather-disrupted race on Saturday.

The Yamaha rider swept around the circuit in one minute 53.471 seconds on his 24th of 25 laps to top the timesheets ahead of fellow Spaniard Marc Marquez, who could seal the title in his rookie season on Sunday if he outscores Lorenzo by eight points.

Oct 26, 2013

Motorcycling-Lorenzo on pole for Japanese Grand Prix

MOTEGI, Japan, Oct 26 (Reuters) – World champion Jorge Lorenzo continued his desperate fight to keep his MotoGP title by taking pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix in a wet qualifying session at the weather-disrupted race on Saturday.

The Yamaha rider swept around the circuit in one minute 53.471 seconds on his 24th of 25 laps to top the timesheets ahead of fellow Spaniard Marc Marquez, who could seal the title in his rookie season on Sunday if he outscores Lorenzo by eight points.

May 21, 2013
via Photographers' Blog

Seaside nuclear power

Photo

Omaezaki, Japan

By Toru Hanai

Chubu Electric Power Co.’s Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station in Japan is located at water level next to a beach. It is also widely reported to be one of the world’s most dangerous nuclear plants as it sits close to a major fault line – not unlike the one that caused the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

I had an offer of an exclusive tour of Chubu Nuclear Power Station where an 18-meter (60 ft) high and 1.6 km (1 mile) long tsunami defense wall has been built at a cost of $1.3 billion.

Mar 12, 2012
via Photographers' Blog

The place that adults fear

Photo

By Toru Hanai

March 11 is here again in Japan.

A year after the tsunami devastated Higashi Matsushima city in Miyagi, seven-year-old Wakana Kumagai visited the grave of her father Kazuyuki with her mother Yoshiko, brother Koki, and her grandparents.

I first met Wakana last April, just weeks after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and huge tsunami devastated Japan’s northeast Pacific coast. The school year begins in April here in Japan, and Wakana was carrying her new, shiny red school backpack as she visited her father at a temporary graveyard that housed those who died from the tsunami. She gracefully bowed to her dad, showing off her new bag and her dress she wore for the first grader’s ceremony as if she were at a ball, and told him that she just attended her school for the first time. Her graceful bow struck my heart.

Mar 7, 2012
via Photographers' Blog

Clinging to life in a tsunami zone

Photo

By Toru Hanai

Choufuku Ishisone of Miyako, Iwate prefecture, owns a convenience store.

On March 11, 2011, Ishisone was driving to see his store after checking on his house following the earthquake and saw a black tsunami wave roar over a seawall. He made a U-turn, but the tsunami struck him from multiple directions, sending his car afloat. The engine stopped. He jumped out of the car in a hurry but lost his footing in the tsunami and was swallowed up in the thick, black water.

He managed to avoid cars, ships and other debris carried by the tsunami but the water level continued to rise steadily. Grabbing onto a power line pole as he was swept past, he scrambled up so desperately that he was about five meters high before he knew it.

Mar 7, 2012
via Photographers' Blog

One year from that day

Photo

By Toru Hanai

It will soon be one year from that day – March 11, 2011.

Greetings among friends who meet after a long absence begins with, “Where and what were you doing on March 11?”

On March 11, 2011, I was photographing Prime Minister Naoto Kan during a committee session at the Parliament building in Tokyo.

Sep 13, 2011
via Photographers' Blog

Learning to smile again

Photo

By Toru Hanai

Six months after Japan’s massive earthquake and tsunami, I went back to visit six-year-old Wakana Kumagai who lost her father in the disasters in Higashi-Matsushima, Miyagi prefecture.

I photographed Wakana when she visited her father’s temporary grave at a mass burial site in Higashi-Matsushima on April 21, after attending an entrance ceremony at her elementary school. I was struck by how positive and optimistic Wakana behaved.