Surviving the Tsunami (NHK)
Winner 2011 | NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corp.)
In the opening sequence of this riveting documentary, viewers are looking across the bow of a Japanese Coast Guard vessel as its sails toward the earthquake-induced, first wave of the March 11, 2011, tsunami. “Be careful,” a crewman shouts. “The glass might break.” No glass breaks, but the ship seems to stand bolt upright before clearing the top of the wave. It‘s the first of many remarkable institutional and personal video clips that NHK‘s editors intercut with now-familiar footage of the tsunami‘s awesome ferocity to retrace what happened that day, creating a virtual “You are there” experience. The most powerful segments pair on-camera interviews with specific survivors with video that shows them clinging to rooftop clotheslines or standing atop floating automobiles. One man jumped to the arms of another on a bridge as his car was being sucked out to sea by the backwash. Survivors who lived five kilometers inland recall how unprepared they were for the water to sweep in so far and how power failures denied them TV and radio warnings. “I was sure I was going to die” is a recurring comment. But the NHK‘s report doesn‘t simply relive the unthinkable day; it documents what individuals learned from the experience and how scientists and engineers are evaluating what structures survived, simulating tsunamis in laboratories, revising evacuation strategies, planning for the next wave should it come. For distilling a comprehensible, instructive narrative from a natural disaster of mind-boggling dimensions, a Peabody Award goes to Surviving the Tsunami.
Executive Producers: Tomoyuki Shirakawa, Toshihiko Sato, Kenji Sugai. Producers: Yasuhiko Egawa, Kuniaki Tsuruya, Kazuto Tsujimura, Shuji Hosoda. Directors: Tetsuji Miyagawa, Nozomu Ishida, Toshiyuki Takano, Toshiyuki Ono, Takeshi Shibasaki, Haruna Kimura, Hirotsugu Daikai, Yuzo Wada, Kyoko Matsubara, Yoshihiro Kinoshita, Taro Yamanouchi. Writers: Tetsuji Miyagawa, Nozomu Ishida, Toshiyuki Takano, Toshiyuki Ono, Takeshi Shibasaki, Haruna Kimura, Hirotsugu Daikai, Yuzo Wada, Kyoko Matsubara, Yoshihiro Kinoshita, Taro Yamanouchi. Camera: Hideo Inoue, Tetsuro Ishiyama, Yoshinori Matsuda, Kenji Yamaichi, Toshiyuki Kanemaru. Lighting: Yasuhiro Hara, Hwang Dong Ho, Hidenori Shutou. Video Engineers: Masato Kanezawa, Kentaro Sugisawa. Sound: Shinichiro Ogata, Mitsugu Shiota, Takanori Okado, Satoshi Aoyama, Seicho Nojima, Yoichi Oikawa (Sound Design). Computer Graphics: Yoshikatsu Date, Makiko Sugiura, Aki Tanaka, Rie Takeshima, Daisuke Tanaka, Akihiko Yanomori, Hiroyoshi Sugiura. Editors: Takayuki Agui, Ken Takahashi, Masayuki Tani. Narrator: Marc Carpentier. English Translation: John Junkerman. Reporters: Kenichi Nakamaru, Shu Morino