Iconic Japan Tsunami Ship Will Be Scrapped

A fishing boat stranded during the 2011 Japan tsunami will be scrapped. The ship has been a source of contention in Kesennuma since the tsunami stranded it.

The 360 ton Kyotokumari was swept ashore by the massive tsunami from the city’s dock to a residential district. But what has become a landmark for the city has also been a stark reminder of the loss the city suffered.

While the smashed buildings around the ship have been cleared, the 200-foot tuna fishing boat remains, reports NBC News.

The tsunami-beached ship ended up causing a heated debate between residents over what to do with it. While some wanted to keep it as a symbol of survival, others felt the opposite.

But the vote came through with 68 percent of responses wanting the ship destroyed. Just 16 percent voted to keep it. While some residents, like Shigeru Saito, were happy with the outcome, Mayor Shigeru Sugawara wasn’t.

Instead, the mayor of Kesennuma was disappointed the city’s landmark would soon be gone. He commented that he “wanted to leave a visible symbol of what happened” because of the tsunami for future generations to see. But that won’t happen, at least in this case.

ABC News notes that resident Shigeru Saito voted to keep the tsunami ship, because it has drawn business to the area. He commented that his son owns a store in the city and many of his customers have been from out-of-town.

The Kyotokumaru remains towering over the former neighborhood. Its blue and red paint is peeling and it is currently being propped up by iron beams. But in a few weeks, the dismantling will begin. The company who owns the tuna fishing boat signed a contract with a nonprofit organization that recycles ships.

Until then, people will continue to leave flowers, pray, take photos, and just look at one of the remaining symbols of the devastating 2011 tsunami.

[Image by Tamaki Seto via WIkimedia Commons]