Video Duration 24 minutes 53 seconds
From: Witness

Tendenko: Surviving the Tsunami

We ask if a code promoting self-preservation in a tsunami could account for one Japanese community’s high survival rate.

Filmmakers: Donald Harding and Ben Harding

The March 2011 tsunami in Japan caused death and devastation on a shocking scale. In one town, however, survival rates were unusually high and hundreds were saved thanks to a different approach to tsunami survival called Tendenko.

Tendenko prioritises individual action and self-preservation – and yet such thinking is anathema to Japanese culture.

As communities begin to rebuild their lives, this film explores one family’s remarkable story of survival and looks at what lessons can be learned from the disaster.

Could Tendenko offer a better solution for the future of both Japan and other tsunami-prone regions?

This film first aired in March 2012.