A museum aimed at passing on the lessons of the March 2011 tsunami to future generations opened Sunday in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture.

The Iwate Tsunami Memorial Museum, launched by the Iwate Prefectural Government, is a key feature of a park being built by the national government and Rikuzentakata Municipal Government to foster and facilitate post-disaster reconstruction of the city.

The museum has four permanent exhibition areas, titled “Understand History,” “Know the Facts,” “Learn Lessons” and “Promote Recovery Together” under the theme of “protecting lives, and living with the ocean and land.” Some 150 items, including a fire engine and a bridge beam damaged by the tsunami, are on display.

At the museum’s theater, visitors can watch a video showing the tsunami coming ashore and how people evacuated from the advancing wave. Along with the museum, a state-managed memorial facility for people who died in the tsunami has been partially opened in the park.

Rikuzentakata and many other coastal areas in Iwate and nearby Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures were heavily damaged by the tsunami following the 9.0 magnitude Great East Japan Earthquake that struck on March 11, 2011.

Rikuzentakata’s memorial facility for tsunami victims opened ahead of similar facilities planned or under construction in other parts of Iwate and the two other prefectures.

Many people both from inside and outside Iwate visited the museum on its opening day.

“The damaged bridge beams reminded me how terrible the tsunami was,” said 49-year-old corporate employee Shinichi Matsui from the town of Watari, in Miyagi Prefecture. “Each and every one of us must consider how we should put the lessons to use,” he said.

Entry to the museum is free, and four of the 10 staff members that work there as guides can speak English or Chinese.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.