Iwate Tsunami Memorial Museum Reaches One Million Visitors

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Iwate Tsunami Memorial Museum

Rikuzentakata, Iwate Pref., June 2 (Jiji Press) — The total number of visitors to the Iwate Tsunami Memorial Museum in northeastern Japan, which is designed to share lessons learned from the March 2011 massive earthquake and tsunami, reached one million on Sunday.

“We aim to contribute to improving disaster prevention capabilities by sharing the facts and lessons of the earthquake and tsunami with people not just at home but also abroad,” Iwate Governor Takuya Tasso, who also serves as head of the museum in the city of Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, said in a statement on the day.

The one millionth visitor was Shinsaku Otomo, 97, who came with his wife and grandchild from the city of Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, south of Iwate. Otomo received seven commemorative items, including a can that was developed after the disaster.

Otomo, who was born in Rikuzentakata, said he was happy to become the one millionth visitor, adding that the commemorative items are “souvenirs that allow me to live longer.”

Otomo has occasionally visited Rikuzentakata after his family’s original home in the city was washed away by the gigantic tsunami and he also lost a relative in the disaster.

“I can never forget the disaster,” Otomo said. “I hope people will come and see (the museum) when they visit Rikuzentakata.”

The museum, which opened in September 2019, features about 150 items including a tsunami-struck fire truck, as well as information panels about the initial responses after the disaster and lessons learned about evacuation.