On March 11, 2011 a 9.0 earthquake occurred beneath the Pacific Ocean about 40 miles each of the northern portion of the main island of Japan. The earthquake was later judged to be the most powerful earthquake ever experienced in Japan, and the fourth most powerful earthquake in the world since1900, when records started being kept.
The earthquake created a tsunami with waves as high as 130 feet. A report issued in March 2015 reported that 15,894 people died, 6,152 people were injured, and 2,562 people remain missing. Over 125,000 buildings were completely destroyed, and many more buildings, highways, rail lines and one nuclear plant were severely damaged.
I think of this hashioki as my Tsunami hashioki. It was found on the beach on the eastern coast of northern Japan after the tsunami by an Etsy vendor who lives in Sendai. There is no way of knowing whether this piece comes from a plate or a bowl that was swept out into the ocean by the tsunami, but it is clear that the sea and the sand have polished this shard into a poignant reminder of the power of nature.
Christina, the woman who found this piece, has given me permission to share on this blog some photos that she took from her house after the tsunami. Looking at them reminds me of the horror that swept through me when I first heard about the tsunami six years ago, and the apprehension I continue to feel when I hear that another earthquake or tsunami warning has been issued in Japan.
It’s ironic that a country that produces so many delicate works of art can be ravaged by the brutal strength of nature.