Toshiaki’s mom had nine (9) sisters. Six sisters are still alive and living in Yamada. Miya obachan lived in an area near the water. She had two adult children; her daughter, Ruriko, married with two daughters and Takehiko, unmarried and living with her.
Immediately after the earthquake, a warning message was announced over the loudspeaker of the impending tsunami. Miya obachan, (80 years old) was at home with her son and said “let’s go.” She promptly headed for higher ground, most likely assuming her son, Takehiko, was behind her. Ruriko lived a couple blocks away. Accordng to a neighbor that she picked up and dropped off near safer ground, she was headed to go get her mother in her car.
Ruriko never made it. The car was found ,but her body was not. Her husband was away working in another city and her two daughters were at a Jr. High School and High School on safer ground.
Takehiko, apparently decided to go upstairs and gather some important things. Maybe thinking he had more time than he actually did or that the three story cement barrier would protect his house. His body was found on the stairs with a hanko (personal stamp for banking and official documents) in his hand. The house has washed several blocks in tact and was ironically stopped by the shrine that housed the “god of the ocean.” A vital God for Yamada and its fishermen and families.