Thursday, March 15, 2012

1,000 Year Old Warning

A remarkable story about a warning from the distant past, a small fishing village, and respect for one's history and ancestors.

From the LA Times...
After a long day of field work, my colleagues and I were chatting with a community leader, Koutaro Ogata, from a fishing village called Murohama. We asked what had happened to him in the moments after the earthquake. He told us that he and his neighbors were well aware that a large earthquake would generate a large tsunami and they knew, particularly, what to do because "a thousand years ago" a massive earthquake and tsunami had all but wiped out Murohama.

This is the story he told. A millennium ago, the residents of Murohama, knowing they were going to be inundated, had sought safety on the village's closest hill. But they had entered into a deadly trap. A second wave, which had reached the interior of the island through an inlet, was speeding over the rice paddies from the opposite direction. The waves collided at the hill and killed those who had taken refuge there. To signify their grief and to advise future generations, the survivors erected a shrine... 
...I asked the community leader if "a thousand years ago" was a figure of speech or an estimate of time. 
To my astonishment, he indicated that it was in no way a figure of speech.

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