Needless to say, Japan has had their fill of Tsunamis.  After the devastation of the 11 March Tohoku earth quake, the nation would like to give a huge FU to any future tsunami coming our way.

And so, three huge Japanese contractors are working on a special surprise for the next tsunami that tries to hit the shores of Wakayama prefecture in the form of a gigantic steel column. If successful it would be so poetically beautiful… if the Japanese only knew the beauty of the middle finger.

First let’s get through the technical details. Starting from Shimotsu Port in Kainan City, Wakayama, a revolutionary wave breaking system will be implemented this October by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Obayashi Corp, and Toa Corp.  A 10 meter section of breakwaters will be built by next February in the first stage of a 230 meter defense perimeter around the Wakayama peninsula, a high risk area for tsunamis.

The problem with traditional breakwaters is that they get in the way of shipping routes and are generally pretty ugly.  But these breakwaters are telescoping steel pipes that lie nestled under the ocean floor. When a tsunami warning is raised these columns can pneumatically spring up to 7.5 meters above sea level within 10 minutes.

That sounds good, but there is one problem with this project. Its 730,000,000 yen (US$9.3M) price tag and 2020 completion date aren’t so bad considering the scope of it. It’s just, well, from the looks of their plan the pipes will come out simultaneously.

That’s great, but… ah shucks, I’d like to humbly ask these companies that the pipes rise up from the center out, creating a middle finger orientation.  It shouldn’t be such a logistical problem, just a matter of timing.  Unfortunately in Japan the middle finger has no special meaning.

I can’t help but remember the photos of that tsunami hitting shore last year.  So, the thought of a photo of a human engineered wave breaker in the shape of a defiant steel middle finger in front of that tsunami would be one hell of a satisfying image.

Source: Mitsubishi Press Release via Asahi Shinbun (Japanese)

Diagram of a single pipe