Tsunami source is the origin of the subsequent transoceanic water waves, and thus the most critical component in modern tsunami forecast methodology. Although impractical to be quantified directly, a tsunami source can be estimated by different methods based on a variety of measurements provided by deep-ocean tsunameters, seismometers, GPS, and other advanced instruments, some in real time, some in post real-time. Here we assess these different sources of the devastating March 11, 2011 Japan tsunami by model-data comparison for generation, propagation and inundation in the near field of Japan. This study provides a comparative study to further understand the advantages and shortcomings of different methods that may be potentially used in real-time warning and forecast of tsunami hazards, especially in the near field. The model study also highlights the critical role of deep-ocean tsunami measurements for high-quality tsunami forecast, and its combination with land GPS measurements may lead to better understanding of both the earthquake mechanisms and tsunami generation process. ?? 2011 MTS.