Salvaged Photos From The Tsunami In Japan

Memories thought lost in last year’s disaster miraculously resurface and are restored by volunteers, bringing untold joy to survivors. Here are images of the heroic effort to save photographs from Japan’s earthquake and tsunami ravaged regions.

Toru Hanai / Reuters

Photographs, washed away by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, are hung to dry after cleaning in Ofunato, February 20, 2012. The massive tsunami leveled buildings and flattened towns along a wide swathe of northern Japan, including Ofunato, but also took a more subtle toll, with hundreds of thousands of photographs lost to the churning waters.

Toru Hanai / Reuters

A volunteer cleans a family photo that was washed away by the tsunami as baby photos are placed to dry at a volunteer center.

Toru Hanai / Reuters
Toru Hanai / Reuters
Toru Hanai / Reuters

Tsunami victims looks through albums for photographs at an assembly house in temporary compounds in Ofunato.

Toru Hanai / Reuters
Toru Hanai / Reuters

A man pages through an album of his family photographs, once feared lost to the tsunami.

Toru Hanai / Reuters
Toru Hanai / Reuters
Toru Hanai / Reuters
Toru Hanai / Reuters
Toru Hanai / Reuters

A woman is reunited with photographs she thought were destroyed in the disaster.

Yuriko Nakao / Reuters

A volunteer looks through a school album which was found near the tsunami-hit Okawa Elementary School on March 28, 2011. About 80% of the students and teachers were killed or are missing after the school was devastated in the tsunami.

Damir Sagolj / Reuters

Photo albums and other personal belongings are retrieved by the Japan Self-Defense Force from the ruins of the devastated residential area in Otsuchi on March 16, 2011. Otsuchi is a fishing community where 12,000 out of a population of 15,000 disappeared in the disaster.

Damir Sagolj / Reuters

More family photos from Otsuchi.

Damir Sagolj / Reuters

A photo of a baby is saved from the ruins of a collapsed house as rescue workers search for victims in the tsunami-devastated town of Rikuzentakata, March 21, 2011.

Damir Sagolj / Reuters

Photographs found in the ruins are left at an evacuation shelter in Rikuzentakata, March 29, 2011.

Toru Hanai / Reuters

Volunteers clean baby photos in Ofunato, April 12, 2011.

Toru Hanai / Reuters
Toru Hanai / Reuters

Tsunami victim Tokie Sakamoto reacts as she flips through an album of her family photographs, an album once assumed destroyed by the tsunami, after receiving them from a volunteer in Ofunato, February 20, 2012.

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