• Ghosts of the Tsunami

  • Death and Life in Japan's Disaster Zone
  • By: Richard Lloyd Parry
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 7 hrs and 47 mins
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $15.48

Buy for $15.48

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Rathbones Folio Prize 2018 

On 11 March 2011, a massive earthquake sent a 120-foot-high tsunami smashing into the coast of Northeast 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, an award-winning foreign correspondent, lived through the earthquake in Tokyo and 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 local children 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 is a classic of literary nonfiction, a heartbreaking 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. 

©2017 Richard Lloyd Parry (P)2017 Audible, Ltd
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Ghosts of the Tsunami

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    9
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    7
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

No Reviews are Available
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Barbara
  • Barbara
  • 01-19-18

Hungry Ghosts

The manifestation of so many ghosts to those left behind in the wake of the Tsunami can readily be explained psychologically. When someone desperately wants to see or hear from someone who has died, almost anything can be interpreted as a veridical vision. Three friends of mine have visited "psychics" after the death of loved ones, and strangely enough, not once did the psychic tell them they could see or hear nothing and here's your money back. The proof they received of the presence of the dead was always in their mind utterly conclusive. It always sounds so persuasive that if I had a relative who had died leaving a hidden buried treasure, I'd be scuttling up the stairs to see Madame Warsawka or whoever at Mach 1. Alas, the information given by psychics, like astrologers, is never that useful.

But I don't think that these hungry ghosts are the point of this book, which may well reduce you to tears. Not me though: that was just grit in my eye. A book about the loss of a loved family member - especially an adored child - is often very hard to read, if not impossible. But when the loss occurs on a scale like this - 18, 000 + wiped out within the time it takes me to write all of this - the mind balks. Despite this, by focussing on a few individuals within a small community, the author tells the story on a scale which makes it possible to take in. The descriptions of the persistence of parents, and one mother in particular, and the courage and compassion of the rescuers made me reflect how disaster so often reveals the truth about human beings. Even the fecklessness and dishonesty of some teachers and officials, described in such a way that you are appalled at their immoveable stupidity, does not overshadow that truth at the heart of this story: the love and compassion of one human being for another.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mark
  • Mark
  • 10-30-17

sublime

the whole nature of human existence, joy and sadness, poverty and riches is here. I was truly humbled and reminded how fortunate I am. Sounds corny but thats how I feel.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Steve Tipper
  • Steve Tipper
  • 10-20-17

great read, factual and informative

Really enjoyed listening to this book, well written and goes to the core of humanity when disaster strikes. full range of emotions with a deeply spirtual twist

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for S. Morris
  • S. Morris
  • 03-25-21

Naked Human Tragedy

Most people will be aware of the events of March 11th, 2011, but few of us ever think about it now. It was a terrible and tragic disaster, the Tsunami killing some 18,000 people in a stroke. Perhaps the subsequent meltdown and nuclear disaster at Fukishima is more of a conscious memory for most. This book deals with the Tsunami and it's immediate aftermath as well as the stories of those who survived and does not touch on the nuclear disaster which followed.

This book details the plight of those that lived through the disaster and we hear the heart breaking accounts of parents who lost their children and their efforts to find their bodies. This book is powerfully poignant in places, so much so that one account of a mother in denial when she finally was taken to her daughters body moved me to tears.

The writing here is top notch. The journalist author is extremely talented in how he portrays the events. My only very minor negative on that count is how sometimes his prose becomes a little too poetic at times, which I found serves to slow the flow of the overall narrative occasionally. Still, this book is a masterpiece of writing.

Of course, the only difficulty I really had reading this was occasionally losing who was who as the narrative switched from person to person and then returned through the selection of people covered. Japanese names can be difficult for English speaking readers to keep track of at times, but I was able to keep on top of thisfor the most part.

Simon Vance, the narrator, does a superb job of reading this powerfully told story, so top marks to the publisher for selecting a top class narrator for this.

This is a story of human tragedy, courage, determination, misery and hope. If you're like me, it will leave you thinking about those people for a long time. Ghosts of the Tsunami shows the best and worst of humanity, its frailty and strength and is well worth your time.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 02-25-21

Bad pronunciation

The pronunciation of Japanese words and names is really bad and a distraction. They should have chosen someone with a knowledge of Japanese pronunciation especially as this is the story of someone who has lived in Japan for a number of years.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for D. Oxford
  • D. Oxford
  • 10-07-17

Voices that deserve to be heard

Ghosts. The feelings and thoughts that linger long after the wave has receded.
Moving testimony. A privilege to listen to.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for max
  • max
  • 02-17-22

Fantastic and real

Being a Geography teacher i can boil down the tsunami to statistics and facts while forgetting these are real people who experienced a terrifying event. The perspective it gives is brilliant and I'm glad I've listened to their stories and now share them in lesson. Give this a shot.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-11-22

What a ride

Having followed the tragic event of Japan during the tsunami this is a must. Humanise the suffering and stops the oh it was horrible comment. Very well written and spoken

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for SaraN
  • SaraN
  • 11-14-21

Appreciate today

A good read-/listen for everyone. Even if it is a bit gruesome at times. I remember the event, and the scenes aired out on tv. Too hard to understand. Never forget to love each other. To appreciate eachother. It could end in an instant. Live here and now. Not in the yesterday or in the tomorrow. Here and now.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Yoshay
  • Yoshay
  • 02-07-21

A must listen

Ghosts of the Tsunami is at once heartbreaking and at the same time exhilarating account of how we see life it the face of death. How we find the courage to go on, and how we lean on to the ghosts of the departed to make sense of our living, to heal and to see life beyond the dying.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Eliot Jameson
  • Eliot Jameson
  • 08-23-21

mesmerising

I was caught up the struggle to come to some acceptance of the lose

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-16-21

Here thanks to tiktok

Very nice stories from all perspective. It’s not as scary as I thought it would be but still I cried so much

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for T Austin
  • T Austin
  • 05-28-21

Just wow!

As a listener who was also in Tokyo on March 11, Richard absolutely nailed the descriptions and emotions of such a sudden and tragic event.

I’m personally not a believer of ghosts and spirits, but the way Richard tells the story of each family - helps the western reader understand the spiritual link to the culture and tradition of Japanese people.

The stories are confronting, raw, and I feel privileged to have heard them in a way they should be told - by the families.

This is the first audio book that had me in tears during certain chapters. It is always hard to hear about tragic events involving children.

Overall an amazing book, with Richard taking us deep into the lives of survivors, victims, and the spirits left behind.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-09-20

Very moving recount of tragedy.

I learnt so much about the aftermath and the bureaucracy of modern Japan. A sad moving account of the struggles of so many who survived and in some ways also didn't.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for michael padden
  • michael padden
  • 01-20-18

Enlightening

Over the years, i have often thought about the victims of the tsunami and their stories and how the survivors have regained some semblance of a normal life. This beautifully narrated insight has indeed satisfied my curiosity. The plight of the Japanese during and after this tragic disaster will always now be part of my consciousness. A remarkable book!