The toughest man in Japan

posted at 8:36 pm on March 23, 2011 by Allahpundit

On a day when the news about radiation levels has turned more ominous, we need something to boost morale. So here you go: Meet Hideaki Akaiwa, formerly an unknown resident of northern Japan, recently a hero responsible for saving two lives, soon to be global Internet shorthand for alpha-male bravado in the same way Chuck Norris is. I’m giving you two versions of his story. The one you should read is the memorable, much-linked telling at Badass of the Week, but since that one’s littered with F-bombs, the one I’m going to quote is this LA Times profile from a few days ago.

Your country’s just been hit by a mega-quake and your city’s almost completely underwater. Your spouse is out there somewhere, missing and possibly dead. What do you do?

Answer: You call this guy.

Akaiwa said he was at work a few miles away when the tsunami hit, and he rushed back to find his neighborhood inundated with up to 10 feet of water. Not willing to wait until the government or any international organization did, or did not, arrive to rescue his wife of two decades — whom he had met while they were surfing in a local bay — Akaiwa got hold of some scuba gear. He then hit the water, wended his way through the debris and underwater hazards and managed to reach his house, from which he dragged his wife to safety.

“The water felt very cold, dark and scary,” he recalled. “I had to swim about 200 yards to her, which was quite difficult with all the floating wreckage.”

With his mother still unaccounted for several days later, Akaiwa stewed with frustration as he watched the water recede by only a foot or two. He repeatedly searched for her at City Hall and nearby evacuation centers.

Finally, on Tuesday, he waded through neck-deep water, searching the neighborhood where she’d last been seen. He found her, he said, on the second floor of a flooded house where she’d been waiting for help for four days.

His wife was apparently trapped on the upper floor of their submerged house, almost out of air when he reached her. The last the LA Times saw of him, he was heading out on his bike into the ruins of the city, searching for more survivors — while wearing a pair of Ray-Bans. Dude. As I say, though, their report doesn’t do the story justice; read the one at Badass of the Week, unless you have a strong objection to profanity.

Exit question: Coming soon to Japanese theaters — “Godzilla vs. Hideaki Akaiwa”?

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I see a badass anime series in his future — Hideaki Akaiwa, Superhero!

ScoopPC11 on March 24, 2011 at 10:19 AM


So much awesome coming out of this disaster!

Bob's Kid on March 24, 2011 at 10:39 AM


I am guessing if his house (and wife) were a mile out he probably would have MacGyvered a boat out of flip flops and flotsam.

notalemon on March 24, 2011 at 10:50 AM

I love this story. This is much more inspiring than the coal miners in Chile. When things normalize I hope they do a film or something.

petunia on March 24, 2011 at 10:55 AM

What a man!

perries on March 24, 2011 at 11:07 AM

More heroes today:

Latest NEI Updates
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Two workers were hospitalized for radiation exposure Thursday, even as Tokyo Electric Power continued to make progress in stabilizing reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Three workers received radiation exposure of 17 to 18 rem from standing in contaminated water while laying cable in the reactor 3 turbine building, TEPCO said. One of the workers did not require hospitalization. The exposures were less than the 25 rem emergency dose limit established by the Japanese government.

External electric power was restored to reactor 1 and lights were on in the control room. Lighting was restored to the reactor 3 control room Wednesday. Electric power also has been connected to some of the instruments in all reactors except unit 3. While external electricity is available at all six units, it is not in wide use as workers inspect and repair cooling equipment before it can be energized. Reactors 5 and 6 have been safely shut down with cooling systems running on offsite power.

Seawater is being injected to cool the cores of reactors 1, 2 and 3. Workers continue to spray water into the spent fuel pools of reactors 3 and 4.

In Tokyo, the level of radioactive iodine in tap water has dropped to within safety limits Thursday. Yesterday, the Japanese government had advised against giving tap water to infants under one year old.

Maybe not Hideaki Akaiwa heroic. But tough enough….


Subsunk on March 24, 2011 at 11:26 AM

I’ve been scuba diving half my life but there is no way in hell I’d be able to go into that water. That man is ten kinds of awesome

BrideOfRove on March 24, 2011 at 11:39 AM

sesquipedalian on March 23, 2011 at 9:36 PM

You are obviously not familiar with the First Rule of Holes, are you?

VelvetElvis on March 24, 2011 at 12:28 PM

You know, Chuck Norris has a history of getting his @$$ kicked by Far Easterners. If Bruce Lee could do it, certainly Hideaki Akaiwa could. And after kicking Chuck’s @$$ he then would use Steven Seagal as a toothpick and Claude Van Damme to clip his nose hairs.

MNHawk on March 24, 2011 at 12:45 PM

human honey badger. go to youtube and watch honey badger video by randall that will sum it up.

lees on March 24, 2011 at 1:56 PM

Imagine all that debris, like refrigerators, cars, roofs of houses, he had to swim around, through, or under to get 200 yards

Hideaki Akaiwa don’t care. Hideaki Akaiwa don’t give a shit.

Pervygrin on March 24, 2011 at 3:16 PM