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.
More photos from Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture: