Taken in late April, this series of photos shows some of the hardest-hit disaster areas around 40 days after the earthquake and tsunami. Starting in the city of Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture, the photographer headed south along the Sanriku Coast, before moving on to the cities of Ishinomaki and Sendai, staying as close to the coast as possible. By late April, the situation on the ground was beginning to improve. Efforts to remove the ubiquitous sludge and debris were well under way, and the prospect that vital utilities would soon be restored was on the horizon. But with aftershocks and mudslides still continuing, and a constant threat of flooding brought on by land subsidence, the mood remained somber and fearful. Of the countless wounds that scar the ravaged landscape, no two look quite the same. A world of devastation and sadness stretches as far as the eye can see.

Photos: Kuyama Shiromasa