Announcement of Judging Results

Thank you to all entrants for submitting so many photos to the Ten-Year Commemoration of the Great East Japan Earthquake Photo Contest. We are now announcing the award winners selected from among those superb works.

Minister for Reconstruction Award

Symbol of Reconstruction

Location: Takadai 3, Takatacho, Rikuzen Takata, Iwate Prefecture

Shin Murakami

The new city hall office building is the last finishing touch to the reconstruction of Rikuzen Takata. I was drawn to take this picture by the construction lights spilling out of the building at dusk in December. I hope this building, which marks a turning point in the 10-year project of reconstruction, will be well loved for a long time and become a hub for better urban development.

Award for Excellence

Being Themselves

Location: Sunflower field, Yamamotocho, Miyagi Prefecture


This year marks the tenth year of the earthquake disaster. Every year, countless sunflowers bloom along the shore of Yamamotocho, which was damaged by the disaster. Last year's sunflower festival was canceled because of Covid-19, but the sunflowers still bloomed vividly, making the visitors smile. I submitted this photo in the hope that the sunflowers would illuminate a path of light for us, so the future will be brighter in the face of the coronavirus, reconstruction, and everything else.

Hoping for Reconstruction

Location: Ukedo Port, Namie, Futaba-gun, Fukushima Prefecture

Ken Kashiwadate

As soon as the evacuation order was lifted from part of Namie-machi which had been designated a difficult-to-return zone, many fishing boats which had been evacuated to other ports came home to Ukedo. Ukedo was still as it had been, with most of the port facilities and nearby homes washed away or damaged. Against a background of reconstruction work, which had just started at last, the vivid fishing boat flags were arrayed in the blue sky. I took this picture with a prayer that the town's reconstruction, which the fishermen and their families yearn for, can come as soon as possible.

Section Awards
"Progress of Reconstruction"

A Santetsu Train Appears in the Morning Sunlight

Location: Otsuchi Station, Otsuchi-cho, Iwate Prefecture


I hadn‘t visited Sanriku in a long time. A few years ago I started taking small trips there, got to know the region and had contacts at all with the local people. I was invigorated by the lively movements of fishing boats and light trucks amid the rhythmic tones of ongoing restoration works, and by people's friendly treatment (^^). When the Santetsu train and the sunrise popped out together, it was like they were saying "good morning!", and they cheered me up (^^).

Carp Streamers for Friendship

Location: Zaimokuiwa Park, Shiraishi, Miyagi Prefecture

Tatsuya Takahashi

Eight hundred carp streamers, donated from all over Japan with wishes for reconstruction after the Great East Japan Earthquake, were raised above the Shiraishi River where it flows through Zaimokuiwa Park in Shiraishi. The long carp streamers, swimming in the clear blue sky of a sunny May day, lifted the spirits of the prefecture's people. I'm grateful for the friendship of people throughout Japan.

Ordinary Morning

Location: On the Nakoso Coast in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture

Masataka Yoshita

The sea is the symbol of Fukushima Prefecture's reconstruction. Looking at the scene of the fishing boats setting out and sparkling in the morning sun, overflowing with the light of hope for "ordinary mornings", I was thinking of the Fukushima of the future as I clicked the shutter.

Section Award
"Attractions of the Three Prefectures"

Island with Blossoming Sakura

Location: Lake Hibara, Kita-Shiobara, Fukushima Prefecture

Hiroto Kanno

Sakura island in Lake Hibara, in Urabandai, is a charming place with many sakura trees blooming on the small island. As I took the picture, I was aware of the contrast with Mt. Bandai, rising huge in the background. Aizu and Urabandai are places I like very much, and I often visit them to take pictures. They are such treasure chests of subjects that I couldn't capture them all if I spent my life there, and I expect there's still plenty to discover.


Location: Watanoha Port, Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture


This port suffered enormous damage in the Great East Japan Earthquake. Even the market it had before the disaster was lost, but I was able to photograph this scene of the return of ordinary rest days as reconstruction progressed.

The Pure Land of Jodogahama (literally "coast of pure land")

Location: Jodogahama, Miyako, Iwate Prefecture

Toshiyuki Takano

I reached Jodogahama in Miyako City on a trip to the Sanriku coast. It's a scenic spot of unusually-shaped white rocks. It is said to have got its name because a priest a long time ago said the wonderful scenery was like the pure land of paradise. That makes sense! I feel the same way. I visited the place four times, early in the morning, during the day, and in the evening, wanting to express my own version of this world of pure ground. I used a long exposure technique to get this image. I put a few minutes of time and my own wishes into the moment of this one image.

Selected works
"Progress of Reconstruction"

Traveling in Tono

Location: Tono, Iwate Prefecture (between Ayaori and Tono on the Kamaishi Line)


This steam locomotive runs along the Kamaishi Line in Iwate Prefecture. The lush rice paddies spread out around the village, with the mountains rising behind. I photographed the locomotive, running through that scenery, from a high angle. I was drawn by the steam whistle I heard in the distance, and a parent and child who had come to see the locomotive were also in the picture. After I took the picture, I felt a kind of nostalgia over the whistle sound, and the smell of smoke as the train passed, amid that tranquil scenery.

Land Reclamation Area on the Hibarino Coast, Where Reconstruction Work is Rushing Ahead

Location: Land reclamation area on the Hibarino coast, Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture

Taiji Takahashi

I was shocked by the quantity and diversity of wreckage left by the disaster. The scene made me grateful for the many people and the clever processing facilities that were sorting and processing the wreckage without waste. I was particularly amazed by the equipment that even cleans contaminated soil.

New Start Onagawa!

Location: Onagawa Station, Onagawa, Oshika-gun, Miyagi Prefecture

Yoshikazu Hiratsuka

Onagawa was not washed away. It's being reborn as a new Onagawa! There are message banners on the Onagawa Station side. How many people drew support from those words? The area in front of Onagawa Station was designed so that the light of the year's first sunrise would shine into the center of the new district. The scenery gave the town's people a strong feeling of hope.

Matsukawaura Bridge and a Fishing Boat after Its Day’s Work

Location: Matsukawaura, Soma, Fukushima Prefecture

Keisuke Takeda

Ten years after that day, the morning was more tranquil than I could have imagined. In this photo, I caught a fishing boat together with Matsukawaura Bridge. Matsukawaura Port carries on trial operations despite harmful rumors. In this location, blessed with an abundant natural environment centered on Matsukawaura Park, which is numbered among the 100 Landscapes of Japan, reconstruction is making steady progress, step by step.

Thoughts of the Reconstruction Olympics

Location: Matsushima Airbase, Higashi-Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture

Kazutoshi Ono

The sacred fire arrival ceremony was at risk of cancellation as wild winds blew. Undeterred, many spectators gathered at Matsushima Airbase, with hope and anticipation for the Reconstruction Olympics in their hearts. When the Blue Impulse planes flew above me, in addition to the presence of the sacred fire, a great cheer echoed around the venue. Their passion for the Olympics still burns fresh within me.

Morning in Onagawa

Location: Hama Terrace, Seapal Pier Onagawa, Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture


On the Hama Terrace area of Seapal Pier Onagawa, which continues from Onagawa Station to the sea, I got this picture of someone at work on a winter morning. This town has many delicious foods, like sanma (saury) and kaisendon (fresh fish rice bowl), and the people I met there welcomed me kindly. I like the place so much, I wanted to go again as soon as I got home.

A Takata Matsubara Beach to Send to My Grandchildren

Location: Takata Matsubara, Rikuzen Takata

Tsutomu Sugiyama

Rikuzen Takata Matsubara is one of the finest beaches in Tohoku, with white sand and about 70,000 green pines flourishing along its 2km length. It has many memories for me, of holiday trips, visits on the way home from work, and dates. The reconstruction of the embankment is nearly complete, and pines are being planted towards a goal of 40,000 trees, to regenerate the Takata Matsubara. If, in the time of my grandchildren, the place could be restored to its previous form of a bathing beach with a pine forest, making it a date spot thronged with bathers, I think those who lost their lives might be happy. I would be too.

Selected Works
"Attractions of the Three Prefectures"

Spring in Ihatov

Location: Tsukamori, Kuzumaki, Iwate Prefecture

Chikako Onodera

This pair of sakura trees on the broad highland are the last to blossom in Iwate. Tranquility, emotion, hope. This utopia welcomed me, together with people's lives.

An Unchanging Moment

Location: Nanshoso, Morioka, Iwate Prefecture


My eye was drawn to the beautiful fall foliage vividly reflected in a floor that has been carefully maintained for about 180 years, from Meiji to Reiwa. The colorful foliage and the gentle light seen through the window made me forget the time in a dreamy moment.

A Cliff in Fall, after a Million Years

Location: Tonohetsuri, Shimogo, Fukushima Prefecture


Tonohetsuri is a scenic spot with a succession of odd rock formations. They were formed by a million years of erosion and weathering, and they survived the earthquake. In fall, its natural sculptural beauty becomes even more lovely.

Morning Light Caressing the Water Surface

Location: Chusonji, Hiraizumi, Nishi-Iwai-gun, Iwate Prefecture

Akihito Doi

This is the Benzaiten Hall within Chusonji Temple, a World Heritage Site. It's a beautiful place, with reflections in the pool, and it's illuminated at night in the fall foliage season. I love the reflections of the fall foliage and the morning sun, so I go there early in the morning. That was a fiercely cold morning. Just as I reached the area, the slanting light of the sun reached and caressed the water surface, creating a fantastic image. It was only a moment, and I'm delighted to have caught the picture.

Drawn by the Castle in Springtime

Location: Tsurugajo Castle, Aizu Wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture


Tsurugajo Castle is a popular spot in Fukushima. In spring, in particular, it is adorned by sakura blossom, and I remember being moved by the beauty of the castle seen through the blossoms. There's a classic spot for photographing Tsurugajo Castle and the sakura, but on that day, I strolled around with my wife, looking for a scene a little different from the usual. The location I found at last was excellent, showing Tsurugajo Castle beautifully in a frame of sakura. For me, this photo of Tsurugajo Castle and the sakura is a precious one, filled with memories of time spent with my wife.

Sunrise Seen from Mt. Hiyori

Location: Hiyoriyama Park, Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture


For work reasons, the last of the first three days of the New Year was my last chance to photograph the first sunrise. This year I chose a spot that represents the local area. It gives a view of the big torii gate, the city, and the sea. Just when I'd finished taking pictures and was about to head home, some birds flew by. Thinking they would provide a good accent, I hurriedly took another picture.