The Tohoku coastal area was severely damaged by the tsunami.

Twelve years later, families with children from other areas have moved to the land that was raised during the reconstruction work.

I don't know the damage of the land directly, but I want to protect my child's life.

We interviewed parents who have small children in the affected areas.

favorite land

Hidenori Hatada (38) has a daughter in the fifth grade and a son in the first grade.

Five years ago, I bought a house in the Yuriage district of Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture, where more than 700 people died, and moved from inland.

Mr. Hatada, whose hobby is sea fishing, often visited Yuriage for fishing.

He decided to move after confirming the safety aspects, such as a school designated as a tsunami evacuation center within a few minutes' walk from his house.

Mr. Hatada

: “I did a lot of research on tsunami disaster prevention measures before buying the house. The locals have no walls and have a system that accepts them, so it’s a very comfortable place to live. I have anxiety that I have to escape to

“The impact of the facts is difficult to convey”

On the other hand, I think it is difficult to tell children at home about the specific damage in the Yuriage district.

Mr. Hatada

: “I think that the fact that he died so much must have been a big shock. I strongly tell the children that if an earthquake hits, they should evacuate.”

Difficulty communicating to children

Such anguish of the parent generation is highlighted in the NHK questionnaire survey.

We conducted an online survey of 1,000 people in their 20s to 50s living in the coastal areas of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima, as well as areas where evacuation orders were issued due to the nuclear accident.

Of these, 292 people with minor children were asked if they had the opportunity to tell them about the disaster.

40% said they “almost don’t talk” and “don’t want to talk”

As a result, excluding those with small children,

▽ "I try to talk a lot" was 8%,

▽ ▽ "I try to talk when I have the chance" was 52%, while

▽ "I rarely talk." was 35%,

and ▽ "I don't want to talk" was 6%,

making it more than 40%.

I don't know how to tell you

When we asked those who answered "hardly talk" or "don't want to talk," with multiple answers, ▽ "I don't have a chance to

talk," was the most common response, at 58%,

followed by

▽ "Children show no interest." 19% said

In addition,

▽ "I don't know how to convey it" was 13%.

Even if you are prepared, you may feel uneasy

On the other hand, there are some parents who feel that even if they tell their children about their experience of the earthquake, there is a limit to what they can do to prepare themselves at home.

Hiroe Takeuchi (45) moved to the Yuriage district after the earthquake.

Her children are 6th grade, 2nd grade and 1st grade.

At the time, Takeuchi's eldest son, who was living in Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture, was just one month old.

Some people around me had evacuated outside the city due to the nuclear accident.

However, I decided that it would be difficult to evacuate with my eldest son, who has not been vaccinated and needs to be breastfed every three hours, so I stayed at home.

Immediately after the disaster, the water supply was cut off at home and the store was not open, so a friend provided milk and diapers. However, I also have high expectations for school education.

"For when I'm not around"

Ms. Takeuchi

: “Since we are a single-mother family, we talk about what to do if something happens while the children are at home and I am at work. I'm worried about that. I think I can do it properly even in an emergency, because I always do it in the time of disaster prevention education at school."

parents rely on

In the questionnaire, we asked multiple answers about the methods that should be focused on in order to convey memories of the earthquake to children.

▽The most common answer was "Tell them in class at school," at 66%.

▽ 51% answered “Utilization of earthquake disaster remains and facilities to pass on traditions”,

▽ 43% answered “Dissemination through television and newspapers”.

The difficulty of telling children who do not know about the disaster

Academic disaster prevention education has high expectations from parents.

There are also changes on the ground.

At Yuriage Elementary and Junior High School in Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture, which is an integrated elementary and junior high school, classes are held regularly to learn the lessons of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Last month, Mr. Naomitsu Kakui (64), who lost his parents in the tsunami and is working as a local storyteller, was in charge of classes for grades 5 to 7.

He feels that the difficulty of teaching children is increasing year by year.

Mr. Kakui

: “Children don’t know about the earthquake, nor about Yuriage before the earthquake.

From “sad events” to “learning things”

Mr. Kakui says that after the disaster, he mainly communicated what he experienced and felt, but now he tries to reduce that content and communicate the lessons of the disaster as objectively as possible.

This is because we wanted children to be interested in the disaster as something to learn, rather than leaving it a thing of the past as a sad event.

In last month's class, I talked about how lessons learned from the 1933 Showa Sanriku tsunami were applied to the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Among them, there was a district in Iwate Prefecture where evacuation drills were carried out based on the lessons learned and there were no casualties. I told you that there were few people who knew.

At the end of the class, Mr. Kakui said, "I want everyone to know about the earthquake and tell them about it, and I want them to follow the lessons learned and prepare for the next disaster. If you evacuate, you will be saved, so I want you to continue living." I complained.

A 6th grade girl who listened to the class said,

"I learned that there were many victims and people who were traumatized by one big earthquake, and that we are now taking countermeasures by making use of the lessons learned. I thought that it is important to cherish one's own life and evacuate as soon as possible, even one minute and one second."

“Suppress your emotions calmly, first as an opportunity to protect your life”

Ms. Kakui

: “Even children can understand the sadness of the loss of so many people, so I think it’s better to try to keep your emotions in check and speak calmly. So, first of all, I hope it will be an opportunity to protect our lives.”

“For children to continue learning”

Reo Kimura, a professor at the University of Hyogo who specializes in social psychology, points out that it is necessary to create an environment where children can continuously learn to protect their own lives.

Professor Kimura

: "When passing on the lessons of the earthquake to children, there are those who want to convey their own experiences as a policy of parents, while those who do not want to convey them, and those who have come from other areas after the disaster. It is important for parents to convey their experiences, but in order for children to continue learning about disaster prevention, it is essential that not only schools but also folklore museums and the media systematically convey disaster prevention wisdom. I think we need to keep telling them."