As 2-year anniversary approaches, Great East Japan Earthquake Archive goes online



Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and the National Diet Library have finally launched an online archive of photos, videos, and other infomation relating to the tragic March 2011 east Japan earthquake. It’s currently available for viewing at

Media can be browsed and sorted by location (there’s a useful map interface here), media type, and language. And while it’s not the easiest site in the world to navigate, there is a lot of content brought together from external sources under one umbrella [1]. Currently the site provides interfaces in Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean.

It’s far from perfect, but it’s good to see an initiative like this finally get going. The two year anniversary of the disaster will fall on Monday, and since then a number of organizations have curated such collections in the interests of ensuring that we remember what happened.

Other archive initiatives

Another organization that’s playing a major role in recording the impact of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami is Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), which has been collecting Street View images of the affected areas, cataloguing these as memories on its Memories for the Future website (actually, the NDL’s online archive draws content from here as well). Recently, Google have even been mapping areas in the exclusion zone near the Fukushima nuclear plant.

And then there is also Project 311, which emerged from a ‘Big Data Workshop’ organized by Google and Twitter, a collection of media reports from around the time of the earthquake. Professor Hidenori Watanave has created a Google Earth view of the data, which you can find at

Harvard has also assembled a useful digital archive too, located at

As for archiving videos, I’ve made an effort at mapping YouTube videos of the tsunami and earthquake on my own, with about 120 videos collected. Sanna Dullaway has put together a similar collection on Google Maps, which is a pretty extensive archive as well.

  1. Some of the information listed is not online but might be viewable only offline, such as in the National Diet Library.  ↩