Seen from above, the awesome scale of Japan's destruction (big photo gallery)

By Xeni Jardin


A whirlpool is seen near Oarai City, Ibaraki Prefecture, northeastern Japan, March 11, 2011. The biggest earthquake to hit Japan on record struck the northeast coast on Friday, triggering a 10-meter (33-foot) tsunami that swept away everything in its path, including houses, ships, cars and farm buildings on fire. (REUTERS/Kyodo )

Houses are swept by water following a tsunami and earthquake in Natori City. (REUTERS/KYODO)

A massive tsunami hits the coastal areas of Iwanuma, Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan. (REUTERS/KYODO)

Sendai Airport is flooded after a tsunami following an earthquake in Sendai. (REUTERS/KYODO)

An oncoming tsunami strikes the coast in Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan March 11, 2011. (REUTERS/KYODO)

A massive tsunami sweeps in to engulf a residential area after a powerful earthquake in Natori.(REUTERS/KYODO)

People evacuate to a street following an earthquake in Sendai, northeastern Japan. (Reuters)

Boats are swept by a wave after a tsunami and earthquake in Asahikawa city. (Reuters)

Houses and buildings burn following earthquake in Iwate Prefecture. (Reuters)

Natural gas storage tanks burn at Cosmo oil refinery in Ichihara city. (Reuters)

Natural gas storage tanks burn at a facility in Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo. (Reuters)

A massive tsunami hits the coastal areas of Iwanuma, Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan. (Reuters)

An aerial view of a tsunami swamped Sendai Airport in northeastern Japan. (Reuters)

Houses swept by a tsunami smoulder near Sendai Airport in Japan. (Reuters)

Houses burn at night following an earthquake in Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan. (Reuters)

People stand on top of a building near cars and airplanes among debris swept by a tsunami at Sendai Airport. (Reuters)

People evacuate along train tracks following an earthquake in Tokyo. (Reuters)

Previously on Boing Boing:
Japan Sendai Quake and Tsunami: big photo gallery
Japan hit by catastrophic 8.9 magnitude quake, massive tsunami sweeps country
Some updates from Japan
Japan Quake: The Night After

Published 8:24 am Fri, Mar 11, 2011

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About the Author

Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email:

45 Responses to “Seen from above, the awesome scale of Japan's destruction (big photo gallery)”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Remind me of the movie 2012. Sad.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know if the island of Chichijima was impacted by the tsunami? I have family there, but thus far have read nothing in the press about any impact on the Bonin Islands.


  3. Anonymous says:

    All My prayers and love are with the people of Japan. May the all mercifull lord keep guiding and in peace all the survivors of this terrible natural catastrophe.

  4. cousin229 says:

    The photo of the waves in Natori, show that the trees are standing and If they plant more rows of trees they will help slow the waves if this happen again.

  5. Anonymous says:

    That first picture made me flash-back to the manga Uzumaki. Shiver…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Our thoughts are with Japan

  7. Anonymous says:

    God bless you all! All the best from Romania!

  8. Anonymous says:

    God bless you all! All the japan

  9. Anonymous says:

    Pray for the people of Japan that they might receive some comfort and mercy in this mighty trial set upon them. The Japanese are a resilient efficient impressive people, who have shared with the world and added so much value to humanity through innovation, technology, efficiency and culture. I pray the US Government doesn’t hinder any aid or help sent to Japan by American people or people of the world. I pray the Japanese are strengthened from within by our Maker and are given wisdom in this mighty trial set upon them. Know that Japanese well being is in our hearts and prayers as many millions pray and muster resources to try to help. May His strength be with you at this hour in your time of need and may you receive resources that you need to overcome. May you receive His mercies in this trial..

  10. Anonymous says:

    I’ll seconded Anon, It’s a bit naive but a wonderful concept. Why the hell can’t we get along. My heart an prayers go to those in Japan that are suffering. David

  11. Jack says:

    The second from the last one with people on the roof and debris, planes & cars being swept away by water is amazingly horrifying.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Horrifying, no words to describe the extent of destruction… See before and after tsunami here(google ariel).

  13. GoldenLuv says:

    I’m guessing most people haven’t noticed, but what’s the most horrifying and sad part for me is in the 8th photo, the one that depicts the boats being swept away. If you look at the green field just above the water coming ashore, you can see two people standing near their cars in the field. Considering how fast that water surged inland and how close they are to the water, they probably died seconds after that photo was taken. Despite knowing a lot of people have died, just seeing what is possibly the last photo ever taken of someone moments before they died really drives it home for me. This whole disaster is truly tragic.

    • a_user says:

      The problem was the time it takes for seismic activity to register, there would be a few minutes delay before tsunami warnings would be given and the waves were travelling at 8 meters per second.

  14. Anonymous says:

    God bless.

  15. Anonymous says:

    god bless

  16. Shawn Guse says:

    Those pictures are amazingly horrifying. Prays go out to all the family members.

  17. Anonymous says:

    May Allah keep Japan safe from further destruction and may heal their wounds and tears!!

  18. manicbassman says:

    Photos 3 & 12 is actually the tsunami sweeping over and about to hit Sendai Airport…

  19. Anonymous says:

    puts your problems into perspective eh?

  20. Anonymous says:

    My heart goes out to the people of Japan. I couldn’t imagine Your Hurt and fear.. You are truly in my heart and prayers. My deepest sympathy goes out to those who have lost their loved ones to this horrible earthquake and tsunami.
    …Please God, Shower Japan with much needed Miracles and glimpses of Hope. This Cant be done without Your Love. Amen.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Are those last two pictures real?

  22. Anonymous says:

    This is indeed very sad.. As an big fan of anime and japan itself, if japan were to be destroyed like that.. it’s very very sad indeed. Hope that they could pull themselves back again….

  23. Anonymous says:

    I have so many fond memories of Japan and its wonderful people.
    This is so heartbreaking to see. I have been in Sendai.
    May God be with them. They are amazing people and will get through this with heads held high. Unlike most countries of the world, they don’t have to even give a thought to looters. It simply doesn’t happen there.

  24. MooseDesign says:

    I don’t even have the words to describe just how horrifying this is… I hope I am wrong but I fear the death toll is set for a terrible rise along the north eastern coastal region. Still, if any country can weather an earthquake of this magnitude, Japan will.

  25. Anonymous says:

    were people warned early enough or was it totally unexpected?

  26. amicitas says:

    This post is now featured on the Aljazeera live blog:

  27. Anonymous says:

    please make love rule the world and trouble vanish! all the best from germany

  28. Ink Cartridge Australia says:

    Those images of the tsunami’s coming in are incredible, I guess today will bring the news from the pacific and if the wave kept going as predicted. Prays to all affected.

  29. Anonymous says:

    imagens chocantes …

  30. Anonymous says:


  31. Anonymous says:

    amazing photos…thinking of the people there

  32. Anonymous says:

    Oh how fortunate I am to live in Canada. Oh how equal are my (very real and human) Japanese brothers and sisters regardless of age. Our prayers certainly should be for governmental and local leadership – that they will work together with an intense focus on the needs of the people; for international volunteers that need to make wise decisions – for the people – just like me – faith family, work, education… life. I cannot get my mind around the children and how this event may impact their future.
    God bless. …and we have no idea about the nucular impact!

  33. Anonymous says:

    these photos remind me of the first scenes of “2012” movie that i thought that it would be impossible for me to see such disasters in my life time , may god bless Japanese people

  34. Anonymous says:

    amazed by photos..and its heartache..

  35. Anonymous says:

    My beloved ones of Japan my heart bleeds for you. what a calamity that struck Japan.May Almighty GOD comfort your hearts and bless you to recover from all the loss you suffered

  36. michaelksanders says:

    We are praying for all those impacted – Amen

  37. Anonymous says:

    So sad to hear our Japanese friends amongst this horror !
    These photo’s are amazing…. gives great perspective of the devastation.

  38. penguinchris says:

    That last one is really bizarre; it has the makings of an iconic image, even though it doesn’t show any destruction.

  39. Anonymous says:

    My heart feels deeply for the Japanese nation – my stomach churned browsing over these terrible images of disaster – how much more horrific to actually be the victims of this…

    May God bless you, lift you up and restore you…

    • Anonymous says:

      Tears fill my eyes as I look at these pictures, and what the citizens are facing. Only God knows how many died. The devastation is beyond words, but my prayers are with them all

  40. Anonymous says:

    I am glued to the Television cant image the pain and suffering, God bless the people of Japan!

  41. Anonymous says:

    We have published FREE PanicButton app for both Android and iPhone to help people in Japan locate their loved ones or for local emergency services to locate their staff going into devastated areas and send SMS to a designated mobile number with their GPS location.

    Download the free apps from these URL’s:

    For Android:

    For iPhone:

    God bless the Japan people!

    Best regards,
    Val Vesa

    New Media

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