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Japan Earthquake Anniversary: Photos From Before And After Tsunami Show Destruction (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 02/27/2012 2:28 pm   Updated: 02/29/2012 12:01 pm

The devastation caused by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011, cannot be overstated; the 9.0-magnitude quake created scenes cut from disaster films, but with real-world consequences. CNN reports that 30-foot walls of water took everything in their paths, from rice fields to reinforced buildings.

Check out the slideshow below for before-and-after photos of the disaster.

Roads cracked like porcelain, cars were tossed like toys, and hundreds were killed in an instant. The destructive force of last year's disaster lingers a year later.

"This is the kind of earthquake that hits once every 100 years," restaurant worker Akira Tanaka told the BBC.

More information about the tsunami and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster slowly has trickled out, with orphaned photos still finding their way home, and secret reports about the lack of preparation for a nuclear disaster painting a grave portrait. As the fallout continues, California prepares itself for the tsunami debris to reach its coasts.

Below, see photos of the same locations before and after the tsunami hit. Stay tuned for more anniversary coverage from The Huffington Post.

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  • Japan Tsunami One Year Later

    This combination of pictures shows a catamaran sightseeing boat washed by the tsunami onto a two-story tourist home in Otsuchi, Iwate prefecture on April 16, 2011 (top) and the same area on Jan. 16, 2012 (bottom). March 11, 2012 will mark the first anniversary of the massive tsunami that pummelled Japan, claiming more than 19,000 lives. Credit: Toru Yamanaka, AFP / Getty Images

  • Japan Tsunami One Year Later

    This combo shows an image (top) taken by a Miyako City official on March 11, 2011 of the tsunami breeching an embankment and flowing into the city of Miyako in Iwate prefecture and the same area (bottom image) on Jan. 16, 2012 nearly one year after the March 11 tsunami devastated the area. Credit: Jiji Press / Toru Yamanaka, AFP / Getty Images

  • Japan Tsunami One Year Later

    This combination of pictures shows people evacuating with small boats down a road flooded by the tsunami in the city of Ishinomaki in Miyagi prefecture on March 12, 2011 (top) and the same area on January 13, 2012 (bottom). Jiji Press / Toru Yamanaka, AFP / Getty Images

  • Japan Tsunami One Year Later

    This combination of pictures shows a vehicle sitting on a three-story building in a tsunami hit area of the town of Minamisanriku in Miyagi prefecture on March 13, 2011 (L) and the same area on Jan. 14, 2012 (R). Credit: Jiji Press / Toru Yamanaka, AFP / Getty Images

  • Japan Tsunami One Year Later

    This combination of pictures shows people walking on a bridge upon which a boat lies washed up by the tsunami in Hishonomaki, Miyagi prefecture on March 15, 2011 (top) and the same area on Jan. 13, 2012 (bottom). Credit: Philippe Lopez / Toru Yamanaka, AFP / Getty Images

  • Japan Tsunami One Year Later

    This combination of pictures shows a private plane, cars and debris outside Sendai Airport in Natori, Miyagi prefecture on March 13, 2011 (top) two days after a tsunami hit the region on March 11, 2011 and the same area on Jan. 12, 2012 (bottom). March 11, 2012 will mark the first anniversary of the massive tsunami that pummeled Japan, claiming more than 19,000 lives. Credit: Mike Clarke / Toro Yamanaka, AFP / Getty Images

  • Japan Tsunami One Year Later

    This combination of pictures shows damage caused by the March 11, 2011 tsunami seen from a hill overlooking the city of Kesennuma on March 16, 2011 (top) and the same area on Jan. 14, 2012 (bottom). Credit: Phillippe Lopez / Toru Yamanaka, AFP / Getty Images

  • Japan Tsunami One Year Later

    This combination of pictures shows local residents looking at a tsunami hit area of Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture on March 12, 2011 (top) and the same area on Jan. 11, 2012 (bottom). Credit: Kazuhiro Nogi / Toru Yamanaka, AFP / Getty Images

  • Japan Tsunami One Year Later

    This combination of pictures shows a rescue worker walking through rubble in the tsunami hit area of Minamisanriku, Miyagi prefecture on March 18, 2011 (top) and the same area on Jan. 14, 2012 (bottom). Credit: Mike Clarke / Toru Ymanaka, AFP / Getty Images

  • Japan Tsunami One Year Later

    This combination of pictures shows a tsunami hit area of Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture on March 22, 2011 (top) and the same area on Jan. 15, 2012 (bottom). Credit: Nicolas Asfouri / Toru Yamanaka, AFP / Getty Images

  • Japan Tsunami One Year Later

    This combination of pictures shows a fishing boat lying amongst the tsunami rubble in Otsuchi, Iwate prefecture on March 31, 2011 (top) and the same area on Jan. 16, 2012 (bottom). Credit: Toshifumi Kitamura / Toru Yamanaka, AFP / Getty Images

  • Japan Tsunami One Year Later

    This combination of pictures shows the view of a tsunami hit area of Ofunato, Iwate prefecture on March 14, 2011 (top) and as the scene appears on Jan. 15, 2012 (bottom). Credit: Toshifumi Kitamura / Toru Yamanaka, AFP / Getty Images

  • Japan Tsunami One Year Later

    This combination of pictures shows cars piled up in front of the airport control tower in Sendai on March 14, 2011 (L) after a tsunami hit the region on March 11, 2011 and the same area on Jan. 12, 2012 (R). Credit: Phillippe Lopez / Toru Yamanaka, AFP / Getty Images

  • Japan Tsunami One Year Later

    This combination of pictures shows the view of a tsunami hit area of Ofunato, Iwate prefecture on March 14, 2011 (L) and on Jan. 15, 2012 (R). Credit: Toshifumi Kitamura / Toru Yamanaka, AFP / Getty Images

  • Japan Tsunami One Year Later

    This combination of pictures shows a tsunami hit area of Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture on March 22, 2011 (top) and the same area on Jan. 15, 2012 (bottom). Credit: Nicolas Asfouri / Toru Yamanaka, AFP / Getty Images

  • Japan Tsunami One Year Later

    This combination of pictures shows residents walking on roads covered with mud and debris in a tsunami hit area of Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, on March 14, 2011 (top) and the same area on Jan. 13, 2012 (bottom). Toru Yamanaka, AFP / Getty Images

  • Japan Tsunami One Year Later

    This combination of pictures shows a cherry blossom tree amongst tsunami devastation in the city of Kamaishi, Iwate prefecture on April 20, 2011 (top) and the same area on Jan. 16, 2012 (bottom). Credit: Yasuyoshi Chiba / Toru Yamanaka, AFP / Getty Images

  • Japan Tsunami One Year Later

    This combination of pictures shows a tsunami hit area of Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture on March 22, 2011 (top) and the same area on Jan. 15, 2012 (bottom). March 11, 2012 will mark the first anniversary of the massive tsunami that pummelled Japan, claiming more than 19,000 lives. Credit: Nicolas Asfouri / Toru Yamanaka, Getty Images


More photos from Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture:


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Filed by Clare Richardson  |