Tragedy in Japan

Posted: March 23, 2011 in Holidays, Memories, Our World, Personal, Rant

Over the past few weeks, we have all seen the terrible natural disasters to hit the Japanese East Coast, one after the other.

First, there was a category 9.0 earthquake which hit only a short distance off the coast of Tokyo. Even though the buildings and structures of Tokyo and it’s surrounds are ‘earthquake resistant’ and built with shock-absorbing foundations to minimise the damage in such a densely populated city, some buildings fell. A 9.0 quake is unheard of in modern times. Tokyo has seen it’s share of quakes over the years, but nothing this big has hit, since the introduction of skyscrapers.

Once the quake had passed, and people had wandered out into the streets to assess the damage, and also to document any injuries that had been obtained, the tragedy continued.

Only a few minutes later, a tsunami hit the coast, with reports that the wall of water reached eight metres high. The tsunami travelled from the earthquake’s epicentre at a speed of ~800km/h, slowing as it approached land. The tsunami hit the coast with such force and ferocity, that it moved 10km inland (6miles) at Sendai.

Tens of thousands of people were reported missing, one village, with a population of 16,000 reported that up to 10,000 people were missing, presumed dead.

The death toll continues to rise, people are still searching for family and loved ones. Entire schools of children have been told that their parents are reported missing, as they were washed away in the tsunami, but as the schools are built on higher ground, the children were spared.

On top of all the natural disaster that has struck, the nuclear power plant at Fukushima has had 3 reactors come close to nuclear meltdown, and these are still in doubt. this would be far more disastrous than Chernobyl.


Tokyo – A five minute train journey from the Narita airport near Tokyo.

One part of all of this that I find unbearable, and simply a disgusting sign of human nature, is the way people are making jokes about this tragedy! I have been told several jokes in horrible taste, and even after saying “I don’t want to hear them” I am still told, presuming that once I hear them, I will forget about all the tragedy, all of the nice, lovely and generous people I met whilst in Japan in 2010, and simply laugh along with them. After the first joke, I told the person that they were disgusting, yet this person simply laughed and told me another.

Why do people find such amusement at the misfortune of others?

This is not a joking matter! Thousands of people, Women and Children, Infants, Elderly and sick people are still missing, presumed dead. Yet, the jokes still roll on, as if this was a bad ‘reality’ TV show that deserves our attention only for amusement.

Other people have been so heartless as to say “Remember WW2? they deserve what they get” and similar statements. WW2 ended 65 years ago! The majority of the people affected by these events were not even born at the time of WW2, let alone responsible. They did, however grow up in the aftermath of the only two Atomic bomb exploded over civilian areas. Yes, some things that the Imperial Army did at the time were atrocities, terrible horrors, however, The western side also have their cross to bear.

A famous saying by Bertrand Russell (English Logician and Philosopher 1872-1970) is “War does not determine who is right – only who is left.” War should never be the answer to any dispute. Nothing done during war is the ‘right thing to do’

The Japanese people I met in Hiroshima were very humble, peaceful and lovely people. Their “Peace Museum” shows the aftermath of the bombings, tells the stories of tens of thousands of children who were obliterated and civilians who had their skin burned from their bodies in the most painful of deaths.


Hiroshima – Peace Dome. The only surviving building for a 2km radius due to the Atomic Bomb.


Hiroshima – Sunset over the skyline from my hotel room.

NONE of these people ‘had it coming’ they were prisoners of a regime that disallowed them to step out of place, to escape the bloodshed or to simply say ‘no’. The American forces actually declared a ‘no bombing zone’ around Hiroshima and four other cities that had been shortlisted for the bomb, so as to determine the overall destruction the bomb had on a built up area. People rebuilt what had already been bombed repeatedly, families from all over Japan sent their young children to these cities, as they believed them to be safe areas for the children during the war.


Hiroshima – A tricycle belonging to a 3 year-old boy who was killed when the bomb struck. His father couldn’t afford to bury him in the cemetery, so the child was buried with his favourite tricycle and helmet in the backyard of the families home.


Hiroshima – A Pocket watch, stopped at the exact time of the Atomic Bombing.

So yes, I see that both sides have done their bad deeds, but that makes neither ‘right’ and should not be a joking matter when one of these countries faces the worlds most costly natural disaster on record.

If anyone else has any ‘jokes’ for me, simply PM them to my inbox so I can swiftly remove you from my friends list, as anyone who makes these jokes around me, or indeed at all, shoudl not be a friend of mine.

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