Miki Endo, a 25-year-old public worker, saved thousands of lives in Minami Sanriku, one of the Japanese cities hardest hit by the tsunami.
A circulating video clip lasts only 10 seconds, but it features the repeated warning calls from Endo's post -- "run away fast" -- as she alerts villagers of the coming disaster. Some 10,000 residents of Minami Sanriku were killed, but thanks to this worker's heroic efforts, thousands more were able to escape.
The Japanese publication Mainichi Shimbun reported that Endo did not let go of her microphone even as the tsunami engulfed the city. The photograph used in the video shows the remains of her post as it currently stands.
One survivor, Taeza Haga, 61, heard Endo's repeated warning calls and ran to his car to head for higher ground above the village.
He told Endo's grieving mother: "I heard the voice of your daughter the whole way."