A rubber-soled, cheap canvas shoe that anyone living in Japan immediately recognizes as the type children use as indoor footwear while at school. The red-rubber tip indicates that its missing owner was a girl. The style and size tell us it was probably worn by a very young child, attending kindergarten or early elementary school. The child most likely came from a rural area where old basics like this are more readily available than trendier styles printed with popular anime characters.
The shoe is soaked with sea water. It was the only thing the tsunami left behind when it took the child. The words translate roughly to: What the tsunami left behind.
This is an original Etegami painted with sumi ink and water-soluble gansai paints on a soft washi postcard. Etegami is a traditional Japanese folk art that combines simple images with thoughtful words.