Man Learns To Dive To Find Wife Who Went Missing During Tsunami

Onnagawa during the 2011 tsunami.

Onnagawa during the 2011 tsunami.

The most shared article on Facebook today was the heartwarming story of a man from Miyagi Prefecture who has dedicated himself to learning to dive so that he might recover the body of his wife, who was swept away by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, and is still missing.

Netizens shed tears over the story, which demonstrates a love so strong, that it should give us all something to think about as Valentine’s Day approaches. The story also serves as a poignant reminder that even though almost three years have passed since the disaster, many families are still unable to rebuild their lives.

From Yahoo! Japan:

I Will Bring My Missing Wife Home – Onnagawa Man Passes Diving Qualification To Search For Her

The exam constitutes a written test, that Takamatsu took at the end of January. On February 7, he received notice that he had passed, and with a relieved expression on his face he said “I’ve cleared all the conditions for searching”. On February 11, which marked two years and eleven months since the earthquake, Takamatsu went into the sea at Hamagurihama in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture. The dive was led by Takahashi Masayoshi (34), a representative from a local diving shop called “Miyagi Diving Services High Bridge”. Takamatsu attached 25 kilograms of diving gear to himself, including weights, and practiced an underwater search.

Takamatsu’s wife, Yuko, who was 47 at the time she went missing, was a temporary worker at the Onnagawa branch of The 77 Bank, one of 12 bank clerks who either died or went missing during the tsunami. At the branch manager’s instruction they had all escaped to the roof of the building, when they were engulfed by a tsunami.

Immediately after the disaster he continued to search for Yuko, and on his free days he would pass by the place where the other bank clerks had been discovered. While watching over the searches being carried out by the divers of the Miyagi Maritime Safety Division, from around summer of last year he started to think “This isn’t something I should leave to other people; I want to dive into the sea and search for my wife myself”. He knocked on the door of High Bridge, who had opened a diving school in Onnagawa, and started to learn the necessary skills. Takamatsu looked back on how he felt the first time he dived in the sea: “I was frightened. I didn’t have any time to look at what was going on around me”.

Diving once per month, Takamatsu’s fear gradually subsided. And although he now has the qualification, diving alone is dangerous, so for the time being he works alongside Takahashi and other rubble removal volunteers, with the intention of improving his skills.

Takamatsu’s two children, who live in Sendai, say they support their father, even though they worry about him.

“Right before she was engulfed by the tsunami, the final text message I got from my wife was ‘I want to come home,’ says Takamatsu. “More than anything, I want to go out and search for her, and bring her back to our home”.

Comments from Facebook:

西方 誠:

That man is amazing. I’m praying that he can find her and bring her back safely.

Hiroko Ichikawa Kobayashi:

This is a magnificent love between husband and wife. I hope he can find her safely.

Masa Hasegawa:

I hope that some how, her husband can find her and bring her home.

吉田 徹:

He must have loved her so much…
He’ll find her for sure. I believe it, and I’m praying it will happen. Please do your best, Takamatsu.

Omatsu Noe:

I hope he finds his wife.

寺島 健也:

Tears were falling as I read this (T_T)
I hope that he can find her somehow.


Beautiful. I want to be loved like this.
I hope that they can meet again soon.

菅沼 宏隆:

Words fail me.

中村 知誉:

I started crying at work because of this.
He’ll definitely find her. I think she would be so happy that her husband had come to get her.
Please do your best.

Hiroko Shirae:

So cool…
I really hope he can find her!!

上田 朋浩:

Do your best and try not to get hurt!
Your wife is most certainly waiting for you to find her.

中川 史晴:

I have a feeling that if it’s this man, he’s going to be able to find her.
But I hope that he takes care of himself too, as he’s trying.

中澤 康治:

Damn! I was on the verge of tears. Please find your beloved wife and bring her home.

森本 豊:

It’s already been three years, and realistically, it’s pretty much impossible that he will find her. But, even if a hundred years had passed, his love would be unchanged. I have so much sympathy for someone who lives like this, I’d also like to do the same.

泉澤 志帆:

This is the love between a husband and wife.

須崎 きょへ:

Love is a great thing.

Hiroaki Nakanishi:

That’s the thing, when someone is just carried away by a tsunami, you kind of imagine that they’re just suddenly going to come back. If he finds her body and holds a memorial service for her, then the watch inside him that has stopped might start moving once more.

安藤 めぐみ:

If he didn’t do something he probably wouldn’t be able to go on living.
It’s not easy to guess how those people who still have family members that they haven’t found are feeling.
Take care, Takamatsu. Please bring your wife home!

菊池 健介:

I cried instantly at the part about the text message from his wife.
I really hope that he kind find her and come back with her. I pray that she will rest in peace.

長谷川 裕貢:

I’m sure he’s going to find her. The gods are watching over him, so he will be find. Do your best and don’t give up.

辻本 直仁:

This really moved me! I hope that she can come home.

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