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Published: 13 March 2021

By Andy Ross

Japan's Memory Hunters

In March 2011 Japan was shaken by an earthquake that was followed by huge tsunami. 

With a catastrophic loss of life, the damage caused by the 'quake was made worse by the deluge that followed. It flooded large areas and swept much more than physical artefacts away; it also took memories.

After the devastation people began to notice photographs in the wreckage. Photography is valued in Japan and the pictures that started to emerge were often family portraits that had hung on walls or been placed in albums. Due to the process of developing photographs there is a very short time between the images getting wet and their subsequent deterioration and disintegration, and the growth of mould. A rescue effort began, one that is still going on, to rescue these precious photographs.

This story on the BBC website reveals the importance of the rescued pictures to people who lost everything in the disaster. It also shows the ingenuity, passion and care that people from around the world showed to those who were so badly affected by the earthquake and tsunami.