Witness videos 3/11 Tsunami

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Witness videos 3/11 Tsunami, Japan
Object date 11.3.2011
Place of Origin Japan
Designer NHK (video compilation)
Manufacturer film footage by unspecified witnesses
Materials video

by student Ena Naito

That day, on March 11th 2011, I remember standing there speechless in front of the TV, watching as the monstrous black waves crashed through the cities, devouring everything on their way. In an instant, houses crumbled into debris, running cars became inescapable boats, waves swallowed people clinging onto rooves. Some people cry. Some can only utter, ‘wow’. Others watch in silence. The happenings unfolding beyond the screen and translated by the media seemed so unreal.

The video footage by witnesses inundated the news. It was reproduced on the internet and people interacted with it around the world. The videos metamorphosed into critiques, symbols and narratives. The viewers became engaged in the very production of meaning.

How are stories of crises told, reshaped and remembered through cultural discourses? How do events become personified, objectified and historicised through these narratives? And in the light of this, yet another “turning point,” how – and through what – will our stories be translated and told?

Fujitv. (2013, March 29). “The Untold Stories of the Tsunami in Japan -March 11, 2011-” wins Peabody Awards 2012. Retrieved December 09, 2020, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULCheNmNxYI


Sato, Mitsukuni (2011). Devastation after tsunami in Rikuzentakata [photograph]. Retrieved from  https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14824547 Flickr: IMG_0888 CC-BY 2.0  Original image has been cropped.


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