Japanese villagers are overwhelmed with gratitude for the former mayor who conceived of this gargantuan floodgate. Plagued by visions of the 1933 tsunami that killed hundreds of villagers, Kotaku Wamura insisted on the $30 million project completed in the 1970s. The residents of Fudai were completely opposed. It was ugly. It was huge. And it was expensive. But a few decades later, that very floodgate spared the lives of all but one of Fudai’s residents when the tsunami struck in March of 2011.
At 51 ft high and 673 feet wide, the floodgate just about encircles the entire village and was built in twelve years. Wamura, who was not alive to experience the devastating tsunami, nonetheless witnessed hundreds of bodies being dug up from Fudai’s earth in 1933. If he had anything to do with it, which he did, this kind of mass destruction was not going to happen again.
And it didn’t. Although the powerful waves struck the floodgate and broke the floodgate in during the tsunami, their force was broken by the concrete barrier. Only one resident went missing. Reports show that local villagers visited Wamura’s grave in order to give thanks for his unwavering convictions that essentially saved their lives.