The Story of Re-creating Walls
The Story of Re-creating Walls 2017
In the town where the tsunami hit and killed so many people, work has started on building a big wall.
The wall is said to be a seawall, 6 to 20 meters high and 400 kilometers long.
It looked like a construction project to draw a boundary line between the sea and the land.
The concrete piled up higher and higher, thicker and thicker.
The scenery of the town was changing rapidly.
Before all the seawalls are built and the sea is completely out of sight.
I wanted to talk about the sea with people who live near the sea.
Revitalization projects following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake are ongoing in Miyagi prefecture, Japan. Working together with the people of the coastal areas of Miyagi prefecture, this project ask questions pertinent to Japan post 3/11; “What is restoration?” and “How can mankind co-exist with nature?”.
After the Great East Japan Earthquake, which caused around 20,000 deaths, a national project was launched to build a 400 kilometer long wall that could protect the coast from the force of a tsunami. The government-led project began hastily without discussion. The breakwater reaches up to 6 to 20 meters in some places, and once the wall is completed, all views of the ocean will be lost. Some members of the community want to preserve the ocean view, while others want to be rid of it. The different opinions within the community are conflicted, and have led to disputes. This project began with research into this massive breakwater that is currently under construction. Kyun-Chome asked to interview residents in areas that will have exceptionally high walls, and in the process, aimed to digitally recreate their home city in the form that was ideal for them.
A woman who lost her mother in the tsunami spoke of her determination to live alongside the ocean, and her desire to erased the wall. A man who lost his home spoke of how the restoration projects have made the city better than before the earthquake, and proposed a better breakwater design. A woman who only just survived the tsunami said she was afraid of the ocean but that she would still miss the view, and added windows in the concrete walls.
By visualizing the restoration plans through a manual process alongside members of the community, the discussion went beyond, “The good and bad of the restoration process”, and both shared and individual connections with the sea and memories of the earthquake were brought to light. On the monitor screen, the seashore was converted into a sight that nobody had seen before.