|Footage aired on Japanese television shows a boat perilously close to the eye of a huge whirlpool.
[Note ]The quake, which hit at 2:46pm local time, triggered a tsunami that washed ashore ships and devastated all in its path.
Waves up to 30 feet high engulfed the coastal city of Sendai, 230 miles north east of Tokyo, and grounded ships in Hachinohe a further 150 miles north.
All Japanese ports have been closed and tsunami warnings have been issued for areas across East Asia and the western coast of South America, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
The magnitude 8.9 quake surpasses the Great Kanto quake of September 1, 1923, which had a magnitude of 7.9 and killed more than 140,000 people in the Tokyo area.