Kamaishi Higashi Junior High School and Unosumai Elementary School are located in the devastated city on the jagged estuary coastline of Iwate.
But......all of the 212 junior high school students and 350 elementary school children on the site are alive.
......The answer is "Tendenko".
"Tsunami tendenko" is an old saying in the region, which means that if you want to survive a tsunami, you should run away without even stopping to worry about your family.
Just after the earthquake, students and children rushed out of the school and headed to higher ground.
Grabbing the hands of elementary kids in the lower grades, they kept running for an elderly nursing facility on a hill about one kilometer away.
When they saw the waves closing in from behind, they did not wait for instruction from teachers.
About 10 minutes later, both school buildings were engulfed by the tsunami.
Thanks to repeated tsunami drills, they managed to escape the first wave of tsunami to hit Kamaishi.
Was it a miracle or an inevitable conclusion?
Whichever it was, there was no doubt that education at school saved their lives.