2012 Photo Contest, Spot News, 1st prize

The Fury of the Tsunami


Koichiro Tezuka

<em>Mainichi Shimbun</em>

11 March, 2011

Tsunami waves sweep through Sendai Airport.

About the photographer

Koichiro Tezuka

Koichiro Tezuka was born in 1977 in Tokyo, Japan. Since 2003, he has worked as a staff photographer of The Mainichi newspapers. From 2006 to 2009, had was based in the Sendai off...

Background story

Natori, Miyagi prefecture, Japan

Tsunami waves sweep through Sendai Airport. On 11 March, at 14.46 local time, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of the Tohoku region of northeastern Japan, setting off a powerful tsunami. Although anti-tsunami seawalls were in place, the waves of the Tohoku tsunami—sometimes more than three times the height of the defenses—washed over the tops of the walls, causing many to collapse in the process. Floodwaters thrust up to 10 kilometers inland, destroying over 45,000 buildings and damaging some 230,000 vehicles. The havoc wreaked on the infrastructure made recovery operations and the search for survivors extremely difficult. Eleven months later, the death toll stood at 15,848, with 3,305 people still reported missing. The tsunami damaged part of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, leading to shutdown and a nuclear alert. The loss of input to the national grid led to countrywide rolling blackouts to conserve electricity. Port closure and disruption to the transport system had a severe impact on Japan’s manufacturing and export-led economy.

Technical information

Shutter Speed
Focal length
110 mm
Nikon D3S

This image is collected in