This Sunday, March 11, marks the one-year anniversary of northern Japan’s threefold devastating disaster — a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, a tsunami that engulfed entire towns and cities, and a nuclear disaster that has since shut down 52 out of 55 commercial reactors in Japan and stirred an international debate about nuclear energy.
While the Fukushima disaster has become a story of its own, numerous projects have developed to help document the personal perspectives of those who lived through the earthquake and tsunami. These two disasters — which lost media attention as the Fukushima crisis unfolded — have killed nearly 20,000 people and displaced thousands of others. Here’s Mashable‘s official list of the top five projects documenting and commemorating the earthquake and tsunami, which are available in English on social media sites:
“Children of the Tsunami”
Perhaps one of the most heart-wrenching videos to come out of the disaster is this BBC documentary showing the disaster through the eyes of Japanese school children. With the children describing step-by-step what they were thinking and what was happening at the time, the video takes you straight to Japan at the heart of the disaster. Catch the preview below and view it in its entirety here.
Japan In A Day
Director Ridley Scott’s crowdsourced project, in collaboration with Fuji Television Network, invites people in Japan to submit videos of their lives this March 11 as a way to commemorate the event online. Modeled after Scott’s Life in a Day, Japan In A Day is not asking for any specific views about the disaster — rather, it’s seeking the ordinary, everyday activities that people have been doing since, as they rebuild their lives and move forward. Since the film is asking for users to submit videos on March 11, it won’t be available for screening on the exact date of the anniversary. But, it will be available the day after, on March 12. Check out the trailer below:
Before there was Storify, there was Quakebook, a Twitter-sourced account of the disaster whose proceeds go directly to the Japanese Red Cross. Propelled by OurManInAbiko, an expat in Japan who voiced the idea in a single tweet when the quake hit, the project gained an incredible amount of steam in a short amount of time. Within four weeks, a team of 26 people — including copy editors, translators, designers and illustrators, advisors, a tech team and a press officer — created an e-version of the book, and a hardcover edition soon followed.
[Screenshot taken from OurManInAbiko's website]
This year, for the anniversary, the Quakebook team has created another book, this time striving to provide independent, unfiltered analysis about — in Quakebook’s words — “what has happened, and what has not since 3/11.” The book, Reconstructing 3/11: Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown — how Japan’s future depends on its understanding of the 2011 triple disaster, was published on March 8 and is now officially available on Amazon.
A project by Voice of America, Tsunami Stories is a Tumblr-powered website crowdsourcing content around the web from survivors. With the tagline, “How a nation heals from invisible wounds,” the site looks to find how people affected by the disaster are coping. They can submit pictures, videos, links or text describing their experience. The site just launched on March 8, and the hashtag #tsunamistories is gaining some traction on Twitter to encourage submissions. My favorite post so far is this video of robot seals comforting Japanese elderly:
Of course, what would a commemoration be without Twitter? The Japan Times will be doing official commemoration coverage using the hashtag #311memory.
Graphic courtesy iStockphoto/PhotoTalk