Grieving Husband Continues Search for Wife 10 Years After Fukushima Tsunami

It’s been 10 years since Yasuo Takamatsu lost his wife Yuko when a devastating tsunami hit the town of Onagawa, in Miyagi prefecture, but he continues to search for her every week.

On the day that Yuko disappeared, in 2011, Yasuo Takamatsu received one last text message from her. It read “Are you ok? I want to go home.” He has been looking for her ever since, and doesn’t plant to stop until he finds her or he stops drawing breath. In the beginning, the grieving husband searched for Yuko on land, starting at the bank where she was last seen, then along the beaches of Onagawa, in nearby forests and mountains. Two years after her disappearance, Yasuo contacted the local dive shop asking for diving lessons, so he could start searching for her in the sea. He has been going on weekly dives for the past seven and a half years, racking up almost 500 underwater searches.

Photo: Marek Okon/Unsplash

Yasuo Takamatsu has been aided in his underwater searches by Masayoshi Takahashi, the diving instructor that taught him to dive. He has been keeping track of Yasuo’s searches, recording what areas he has combed, what depth he has dived to, the shape of each search, etc.. Despite their combined efforts, no clue of Yuko’s fate has been found.


“I’m always thinking that she may be somewhere nearby,” Yasuo recently told the Associated Press, adding that  he will keep searching for his wife as long as his body moves. Apart from his weekly dives, the 64-year-old also joins local authorities in underwater searches for the 2,500 people who remain unaccounted for following the 2011 tsunami.


In his searches, Takamatsu has found all sorts of items belonging to missing persons, but nothing that could help bring closure to his decade-long search. He refuses to give up, though. Every week, he puts on his diving suit and risks his life in search of his beloved.


“In the last text message that she sent me, she said, ‘Are you okay? I want to go home,’” Yasuo said. “I’m sure she still wants to come home.”

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