Breakout the tissues: this will be the most heartbreaking and moving story you read today.
Years since rescuers stopped looking for the bodies of those who died in the devastating 2011 Japanese tsunami, two men have learned to dive and are scouring the ocean to find the bodies of those they have lost.
Driven by love, Yasuo Takamatsu (pictured) and Masaaki Narita are trawling the icy depths of the waters near their hometown of Onagawa in the hope of finally putting laying their wife and daughter, respectively, to rest, The New York Times reports. The two women, named Yuko Takamatsu and Emi Narita, were both employees of a local bank when they were evacuated to the roof. Despite this, both women were swept away by the wave.
After the tragedy, Takamatsu spent years searching - on land - for the body of his wife Yuko. Finally, he decided to turn his quest towards the ocean. To do so, he turned to dive instructor Masayoshi Takahash. “At the age of 56,” Takamatsu said, “the reason I’m actually interested in learning to dive is that I’m trying to find my wife in the sea.”
Later, Takamatsu told Narita, the father of Emi, about his quest, who then also learned to dive to to find his daughter.
The pain and loss of the devastating earthquake and tsunami, which claimed 15, 891 lives, remains searingly acute. For five years, Narita’s wife Hiromi has prepared lunch for Emi, packed with her favourite things like pork soup and deep fired prawns, and delivered it to the sea. In the months after the tsunami, the couple would leave their house every day at 5a.am. to deliver Emi lunch before they had to go to work.
“You will do anything for your child,” Hiromi is quoted as saying in the powerful story by The New York Times.
Takamatsu has so far completed more than 110 dives in his quest to find Yasuo.
“I expected it to be difficult,” Takamatsu said, “and I’ve found it quite difficult, but it is the only thing I can do. I have no choice but to keep looking for her. I feel closest to her in the ocean.”
Read the full story here.