A series of photographs taken by a 75-year-old resident of the devastated town of Minami-Sanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, show it was annihilated by a tsunami in about a minute.
Approximately half of the town's 18,000 people are still unaccounted for.
Harrowing images taken by Isao Takahashi, 75, on Friday afternoon, March 11, show the destruction of the community happened with staggering speed.
Within 1 minute and 7 seconds of seawater reaching about halfway up the first floors of houses the town had been almost completely swept away.
Takahashi was at an osteopathic therapy clinic he ran when the quake struck about 30 minutes before the tsunami hit.
He heard a public-address announcement soon after the quake warning "a tsunami as high as 6 meters is coming" and rushed home.
He took out a digital camera and headed toward a 30-meter hill nearby.
Takahashi said: "I wanted to keep a record of the town before it disappeared."
He fled up the mountain when the waves reached his feet.
(The article was written by Daisuke Ono and Narumi Ota.)
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