Tsunami-hit Iwate lighthouse rebuilt

JIJI

The rebuilding of a lighthouse that was destroyed and washed away by the March 2011 tsunami was completed Thursday, some 21 months after the catastrophe.

The new lighthouse, built on the islet of Horaijima in the town of Otsuchi, will serve as a new symbol for local residents.

The islet in Otsuchi harbor is believed to have been featured in “Hyokkori Hyotanjima,” a puppet TV series by the late author Hisashi Inoue.

The design for the new lighthouse was selected from submissions by local people.

The tsunami changed the islet’s shape and washed away the original 7.4-meter-tall lighthouse, which had stood for almost 60 years.

A candle-shape design by Minako Iwama, 60, was chosen from among 266 designs.

Iwama, whose design was also inspired by the shape of an hourglass, said she hopes for a bright future and that the lighthouse will serve as a memorial to the disaster victims.

“I hope the lighthouse will mark the way to recovery,” she said.

Residents of Otsuchi cheered when the new 11.5-meter lighthouse was lit up for an opening ceremony.

According to the Japan Coast Guard, 50 lighthouses in Iwate were damaged by the March 11 disasters, 18 of which have been restored.