Dr. Takeshi Kanno was on duty when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck the northeastern Japanese town of Minami Sanriku on March 11, 2011. Moments later, when a tsunami alert sounded, he immediately began to evacuate dozens of patients at Shizugawa Public Hospital to the highest floor. The wall of water quickly engulfed four floors of the hospital and flattened the town of nearly 18,000 residents. Dr. Kanno stayed by the side of surviving patients over the next two days and assisted with the helicopter evacuation effort until the last survivor was pulled to safety. A week later, he went back to the town and was committed to reconstructing medical system in the area.
Dr. Kanno was chosen as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2011 for his heroic actions of saving the lives of citizens in the community. To this day, he continues to speak out on behalf of those living in the affected areas.
Dr. Kanno is currently a medical doctor of the Department of Gastroenterology at the Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine. His research focus is in the connection between psychological stress and peptic ulcer development.