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Book Talk

[CANCELLED] “Ghosts of the Tsunami”

Thursday, October 11, 2018   19:30 - 21:00

  • Richard Lloyd Parry (Author and foreign correspondent of The Times)


No one who was alive at the time will forget March 11, 2011, when a massive earthquake sent a 40-metre high tsunami smashing into the coast of north-east Japan. By the time the sea retreated, more than 18,000 people had been crushed, burned to death, or drowned.

It was Japan’s greatest single loss of life since the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. It set off a national crisis, and the meltdown of a nuclear power plant. And even after the immediate emergency had abated, the trauma of the disaster continued to express itself in bizarre and mysterious ways.

Richard Lloyd Parry, award-winning foreign correspondent of The Times, spent six years reporting from the disaster zone. There he encountered stories of ghosts and hauntings. He met a priest who performed exorcisms on people possessed by the spirits of the dead. And he found himself drawn back again and again to a village which had suffered the greatest loss of all, a community tormented by unbearable mysteries of its own.

What really happened to the 108 children of Okawa Primary School in Miyagi Prefecture as they waited in the school playground in the moments before the tsunami? Why did their teachers not evacuate them to safety? And why was the unbearable truth being so stubbornly covered up?

Ghosts of the Tsunami, published this year by Jonathan Cape in the U.K. and by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the U.S., is a heart-breaking and intimate account of an epic tragedy, told through the personal accounts of those who lived through it. It tells the story of how a nation faced a catastrophe, and the bleak struggle to find consolation in the ruins. The Observer called it “a future classic of disaster journalism, up there with John Hersey’s Hiroshima.” The Guardian said it has “the character of a finely conceived crime fiction or a psychological drama,” and the Economist promised that “you will not read a finer work of narrative non-fiction this year.”

For further information, visit “The School Beneath the Wave: The Unimaginable Tragedy of Japan’s Tsunami” (excerpt from “Ghosts of the Tsunami”)

Date & Time:
Thursday, October 11, 2018   19:30 - 21:00 (Doors open at 19:00)
1F Parliament student lounge, Azabu Hall
Temple University, Japan Campus
2-8-12 Minami Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo

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Kyle Cleveland (ICAS Associate Director)
RSVP is encouraged (e-mail to icas@tuj.temple.edu), but not required. RSVPなしでも参加できますので、直接会場へ起こしください。


Richard Lloyd Parry

Author and foreign correspondent of The Times

Lloyd Parry has lived in Tokyo for twenty-three years as a foreign correspondent, first for the Independent and now as Asia Editor of The Times. He has reported from twenty-eight countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq and North Korea.