Day four of The Duke of Cambridge’s Far East Tour had him visit the Tohoku Region in North East Japan to visit the city of Ishinomaki.
Ishinomaki is a town, and port found on the eastern Miyagi-ken (prefecture), northeastern Honshu, Japan.
Founded in the 4th century, the city of Ishinokai was a booming rice-shipping port from 1603–1867. The opening of the T?hoku railway in the late 19th century initiated a decrease in river traffic, but the port recovered as a major deep-sea-fishing centre with oysters and seaweed farming along the coast.
Prince William met with local people who were affected by the Great Eastern Earthquake and tsunami on 11th March 2011. The magnitude-9 earthquake shook northeastern Japan, unleashing a savage tsunami.
His visit included speaking with the local newspaper editor, Hiroyuki Takeuchi, who created handwritten newsletters to keep critical community communication connections operating and has since established a children’s newspaper.
For six days, six of the paper’s staffer’s investigated stories before delivering them on to three others, who then wrote by hand the news on poster-size paper. Without electricity, the writers used flashlights in the evening to continue to write the news. These handwritten newspapers were then posted at the entrances of various relief centres so that survivors were updated with the day’s headlines.
Outside of the newspaper office is a clear watermark that shows the height of the tsunami.
From there, William went on to visit the “Bay of Destruction.” Here he met with those affected by the tsunami; He then viewed the substantial land clearance from a hill top temple vantage point and paid his respects to the victims. The Duke paid his respects to tsunami victims by laying a wreath at a shrine overlooking the Bay of Destruction
The next engagement of the day had William visit the Onagawa Hospital Stone Memorial point out the height of the tsunami
There, William viewed a stone on the hospital grounds that shows the destructive height of the waters. The three storey hospital is located on an elevated hill and was an evacuation point during the tsunami.
Next on his busy schedule, Prince William stopped at The Chime of Hope Shopping Centre in Onagawa. He visited shopkeepers and local people who have established a new neighbourhood centre and re-established businesses ranging from a tailor shop to a graffiti artist’s design studio. The businesses are all part of the area’s renewal programme.
Onagawa was the closest town to the hypocentre when the tsunami struck. With waves of up to 15m the town was completely devastated. Over 85% of the town’s 12,000 residents were affected.
During his visit, William rang one of Onagawa’s lost bells rescued from the rubble and now known as the Chime of Hope.
The Duke of Cambridge ended his visit to Japan. On Sunday, he departed for Beijing, China. Upon his arrival, The Duke of Cambridge will travel to the British Ambassador’s official residence.