Talk about wisdom of the ancients… this CBS News article highlights the Japanese village of Aneyoshi, which heeded the warning of an old stone marker:
“High dwellings are the peace and harmony of our descendants,” the stone slab reads. “Remember the calamity of the great tsunamis. Do not build any homes below this point.”
The east coast of Japan has these scattered about, but apparently not all of the warnings were heeded. Or perhaps the warnings weren’t so clear. Another interesting tidbit is that awareness of the tsunami danger didn’t persist simply by word-of-mouth:
“It takes about three generations for people to forget. Those that experience the disaster themselves pass it to their children and their grandchildren, but then the memory fades,” [Fumihiko Imamura, a professor in disaster planning at Tohoku University in Sendai, a tsunami-hit city] said.