A website that displays Twitter posts written in the aftermath of the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake has been published as the country prepares to mark a decade since the disaster.
The site superimposes on a world map some 4,200 geotagged Japanese-language tweets posted within 24 hours of the 9.0-magnitude quake, visually expressing the confusion felt in places such as the Tohoku region and the Tokyo metropolitan area at the time.
“I hope people will reflect upon the day (of the quake) by interacting with tweets made back then,” said Hidenori Watanave, a professor of information design at the University of Tokyo’s graduate school who created the website.
In Miyagi Prefecture, part of Tohoku, which was hit hardest by the quake and ensuing tsunami, a tweet posted by someone in the town of Shichigahama asked, “Is everyone alive?” while another from a person in the city of Ishinomaki asked, “Did mom evacuate?”
In Tokyo, where many people were unable to go home due to disruptions to public transport, tweets such as “I’ve decided to walk home from Yaesu” and “I’ll be staying overnight at the company” popped up near East Japan Railway Co.’s Tokyo Station.
“I pray for everyone’s safety,” read one tweet from Los Angeles.
“The posts reflect the candid thoughts of people who faced extraordinary circumstances,” Watanave said. “By combining the tweets with a map, we can clearly visualize the circumstances at the time.”
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