Following the 2011 tsunami the Japanese government began building seawalls like this one in Ofunato Bay, Iwate prefecture.
The walls, including this one in Ofunato Bay, Iwate prefecture, are up to 41 feet high and intended to hold back a tidal surge.
Walls such as this, in Ofunato Bay, Iwate prefecture, are controversial because of their ecological impact.
This wall along Ofunato Bay, in Iwate prefecture, has narrow windows allowing residents to see the ocean.
The tourism industry in Japan’s northeastern coast has been hurt by the seawalls.
The Japanese government has spent around $12 billion to build walls like this one on Ryori Bay, Iwate prefecture.
The construction of seawalls like this one on Kesennuma Bay, Miyagi prefecture, have been a boon to the giant Japanese construction companies awarded government contracts.
Local residents complain that walls such as this, on Hirota Bay, Miyagi prefecture, impede their views of the ocean and cause environmental damage.
Hundreds of miles of walls have been built, including this stretch on Toni Bay, Iwate prefecture.
Fishermen complain that walls like this one on Hirota Bay, Iwate prefecture, prevent nutrient-rich runoff from the mountains from reaching the sea.
Because coastal villages have been relocated to higher ground, much of the land behind the seawalls is uninhabited.
Photographer Tadashi Ono believes walls like this one on Miyako Bay, Iwate prefecture, are a rejection of Japanese history and culture.
Some Japanese residents believe walls like this one on Miyako Bay, Iwate prefecture, are actually counterproductive because they provide a false sense of security.
Ono believes that building walls goes against the Japanese tradition of cooperating with the sea.
Throughout its history, Japan has been enriched and protected by the ocean, but now it’s building walls—like this one on Taro Bay, Iwate prefecture—to keep the ocean out.
Ono believes the walls, like this one in Raga Bay, Iwate prefecture, are being “constructed just to be constructed.”
Only time will tell if walls like this one in Raga Bay, Iwate prefecture, will protect the Japanese coast from future tsunamis.