The embedded video clip lasts a scant 10 seconds. It’s a broadcast call of Miki Endo, urging the citizens repeatedly to hurry and escape. Miki Endo was a 25 year-old public worker who worked in the Crisis Management Dept. of the city of Minami Sanriku, one of the worst-hit cities in the Miyagi prefecture - of its 17,000 inhabitants, 10,000 perished and only 7,000 or so survived the tsunami.
Many of those 7,000 that survived escaped death because of Miki Endo’s broadcast. Mainichi Shimbun reports that Miki Endo did not let go of her microphone, even during the very moment the black waves of the tsunami engulfed the city, so that every last villager could hear her warning call. One co-worker told Miki’s mother, that he saw Miki being swept away by the tsunami wave.
A 61 year-old man named Taeza Haga heard Miki Endo’s warning broadcast, and scrambled to his car, just his cellphone in hand. He barely made it to the higher regions of Minami Sanriku, where he could see entire buildings and houses being swallowed up by the tsunami. Mr. Haga noticed Miki Endo’s mother, standing anxiously by the list of survivors, and took hold of her hand, and told her -
I could hear your daughter’s voice all the while I came up here.
All over Japan, these stories proliferate, encourage and move us even in the midst of this unbelievable chaos. There is even a video capture I saw of a ramen noodle shop in Roppongi, in which the owner is doing his heroic best to protect the safety of the customers before his own or his store’s… and as the store is rattling as if it will crumble in a wink, even in that moment of life-or-death kind of panic, the customers - before leaving - do not forget to leave the proper money on the table for their food! The incredible civic honor of the Japanese people and polity makes me profoundly ashamed of my own culture: from a college student to politicians to basketball players - Alexandra Wallace. Governor Haley Barbour’s press secretary. Cappie Pondexter - these people seem to regard Japan’s disaster as just an opportunity to air out their long-harbored racism or some narcissistic, self-serving purpose.
The skeletal structure of red beams in the YouTube clip above is the tattered remnant of the building where Miki Endo made her last broadcast, a girl in her beautiful 20s. No racist comments or insensitive quips made by any creep in any society can take away the lives that she saved: a precious multitude. Although cut tragically short, she lived the most worthwhile life of them all, a beautiful sentinel. Please spread the word of her legacy.
(Photo, by Tadashi-san, taken at a temple in Mt. Komatsu this past November, of prayer volitions tied onto wires)