1923 Great Kanto earthquake

1923 Great Kanto earthquake

Overview


The struck the Kantō plain on the Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese main island of Honshū
Honshu
is the largest island of Japan. The nation's main island, it is south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, north of Shikoku across the Inland Sea, and northeast of Kyushu across the Kanmon Strait...

 at 11:58:44 am JST on September 1, 1923. Varied accounts hold that the duration of the earthquake was between 4 and 10 minutes. The Kantō quake killed 105,385 people making it the deadliest earthquake ever to strike Japan, and the second most powerful earthquake ever to hit the region, with the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami
2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami
The 2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tohoku, also known as the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, or the Great East Japan Earthquake, was a magnitude 9.0 undersea megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan that occurred at 14:46 JST on Friday, 11 March 2011, with the epicenter approximately east...

 surpassing that record.

The quake had a magnitude of 8.2 on the Richter scale
Richter magnitude scale
The expression Richter magnitude scale refers to a number of ways to assign a single number to quantify the energy contained in an earthquake....

, with its focus
Hypocenter
The hypocenter refers to the site of an earthquake or a nuclear explosion...

 deep beneath Izu Ōshima
Izu Oshima
is a volcanic island in the Izu Islands and administered by the Tokyo Metropolitan government, Japan, lies about 100 km south of Tokyo, 22 km east of the Izu Peninsula and 36 km southwest of Bōsō Peninsula. serves as the local government of the island...

Island in Sagami Bay
Sagami Bay
Sagami Bay , also known as the Sagami Gulf or Sagami Sea, lies south of Kanagawa Prefecture in Honshū, central Japan, contained within the scope of the Miura Peninsula, in Kanagawa, to the east, the Izu Peninsula, in Shizuoka Prefecture, to the west, and the Shōnan coastline to the north, while the...

.
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Encyclopedia


The struck the Kantō plain on the Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese main island of Honshū
Honshu
is the largest island of Japan. The nation's main island, it is south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, north of Shikoku across the Inland Sea, and northeast of Kyushu across the Kanmon Strait...

 at 11:58:44 am JST on September 1, 1923. Varied accounts hold that the duration of the earthquake was between 4 and 10 minutes. The Kantō quake killed 105,385 people making it the deadliest earthquake ever to strike Japan, and the second most powerful earthquake ever to hit the region, with the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami
2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami
The 2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tohoku, also known as the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, or the Great East Japan Earthquake, was a magnitude 9.0 undersea megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan that occurred at 14:46 JST on Friday, 11 March 2011, with the epicenter approximately east...

 surpassing that record.

The quake had a magnitude of 8.2 on the Richter scale
Richter magnitude scale
The expression Richter magnitude scale refers to a number of ways to assign a single number to quantify the energy contained in an earthquake....

, with its focus
Hypocenter
The hypocenter refers to the site of an earthquake or a nuclear explosion...

 deep beneath Izu Ōshima
Izu Oshima
is a volcanic island in the Izu Islands and administered by the Tokyo Metropolitan government, Japan, lies about 100 km south of Tokyo, 22 km east of the Izu Peninsula and 36 km southwest of Bōsō Peninsula. serves as the local government of the island...

Island in Sagami Bay
Sagami Bay
Sagami Bay , also known as the Sagami Gulf or Sagami Sea, lies south of Kanagawa Prefecture in Honshū, central Japan, contained within the scope of the Miura Peninsula, in Kanagawa, to the east, the Izu Peninsula, in Shizuoka Prefecture, to the west, and the Shōnan coastline to the north, while the...

. The cause was a massive rupture of the Sagami Trough
Sagami Trough
The also Sagami Trench, Sagami Megathrust, or Sagami Subduction Zone is a 210-mile long trough where the Kanto earthquakes of 1703 , 1855 and 1923 arose. It stretches from the Boso Triple Junction where it meets the Japan Trench to Sagami Bay. It runs north of the Izu Islands chain and the...

, due to the massive amount of energy exerted on the subduction zone caused by the Philippine Sea Plate subducting under the Okhotsk Plate
Okhotsk Plate
The Okhotsk Plate is a tectonic plate covering the Sea of Okhotsk, the Kamchatka Peninsula, Sakhalin Island and Tōhoku and Hokkaidō in Japan. It was formerly considered a part of the North American Plate, but recent studies indicate that it is an independent plate, bounded on the north by the...

.

Outline


This earthquake devastated Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

, the port city of Yokohama
Yokohama
is the capital city of Kanagawa Prefecture and the second largest city in Japan by population after Tokyo and most populous municipality of Japan. It lies on Tokyo Bay, south of Tokyo, in the Kantō region of the main island of Honshu...

, surrounding prefectures of Chiba
Chiba Prefecture
is a prefecture of Japan located in the Kantō region and the Greater Tokyo Area. Its capital is Chiba City.- History :Chiba Prefecture was established on June 15, 1873 with the merger of Kisarazu Prefecture and Inba Prefecture...

, Kanagawa
Kanagawa Prefecture
is a prefecture located in the southern Kantō region of Japan. The capital is Yokohama. Kanagawa is part of the Greater Tokyo Area.-History:The prefecture has some archaeological sites going back to the Jōmon period...

, and Shizuoka
Shizuoka Prefecture
is a prefecture of Japan located in the Chūbu region on Honshu island. The capital is the city of Shizuoka.- History :Shizuoka prefecture was formed from the former Tōtōmi, Suruga and Izu provinces.The area was the home of the first Tokugawa Shogun...

, and caused widespread damage throughout the Kantō region. The power and intensity was astonishing: it managed to move the 93-ton Great Buddha
Kotoku-in
is a Buddhist temple of the Jōdo-shū sect in the city of Kamakura in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.The temple is renowned for its , a monumental outdoor bronze statue of Amida Buddha which is one of the most famous icons of Japan.- The Great Buddha :...

 statue at Kamakura
Kamakura, Kanagawa
is a city located in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, about south-south-west of Tokyo. It used to be also called .Although Kamakura proper is today rather small, it is often described in history books as a former de facto capital of Japan as the seat of the Shogunate and of the Regency during the...

 which was over 60 km away from the epicenter, sliding it forward almost two feet.

Casualty estimates range from about 142,800 deaths, the including approximately 40,000 who went missing and were presumed dead. The damage from this natural disaster was the greatest sustained by Prewar Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

. In 1960, the government of Japan declared September 1, the anniversary of the quake, as an annual "Disaster Prevention Day."

According to the Japanese construction company Kajima Kobori Research's conclusive report of September 2004, there were 105,385 confirmed deaths in the 1923 quake.

Damage and deaths



Because the earthquake struck at lunchtime when many people were using fire to cook food, the damage and the number of fatalities were augmented due to fires which broke out in numerous locations. The fires spread rapidly due to high winds from a nearby typhoon off the coast of Noto Peninsula
Noto Peninsula
thumb|right|240px|Landsat image with high-resolution data from Space Shuttle.Noto Peninsula is a peninsula that projects north into the Sea of Japan from the coast of Ishikawa prefecture in central Honshū, the main island of Japan...

 in Ishikawa Prefecture
Ishikawa Prefecture
is a prefecture of Japan located in the Chūbu region on Honshū island. The capital is Kanazawa.- History :Ishikawa was formed from the merger of Kaga Province and the smaller Noto Province.- Geography :Ishikawa is on the Sea of Japan coast...

, and some developed into firestorm
Firestorm
A firestorm is a conflagration which attains such intensity that it creates and sustains its own wind system. It is most commonly a natural phenomenon, created during some of the largest bushfires, forest fires, and wildfires...

s which swept across cities. As a result many people died when their feet got stuck in melting tarmac
Tarmac
Tarmac is a type of road surface. Tarmac refers to a material patented by Edgar Purnell Hooley in 1901...

; however, the single greatest loss of life occurred when approximately 38,000 people packed into an open space at the Rikugun Honjo Hifukusho (Former Army Clothing Depot) in downtown Tokyo were incinerated by a firestorm-induced fire whirl
Fire whirl
A fire whirl, colloquially fire devil or fire tornado, is a phenomenon—rarely captured on camera—in which a fire, under certain conditions , acquires a vertical vorticity and forms a whirl, or a tornado-like vertically oriented rotating column of air...

. As the earthquake had caused water mains to break, putting out the fires took nearly two full days until late in the morning of September 3. The fires were the biggest causes of death.

The Emperor
Emperor Taishō
The was the 123rd emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from 30 July 1912, until his death in 1926.The Emperor’s personal name was . According to Japanese customs, the emperor has no name during his reign and is only called the Emperor...

 and Empress were at Nikko
Nikko, Tochigi
is a city in the mountains of Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. Approximately 140 km north of Tokyo and 35 km west of Utsunomiya, the capital of Tochigi Prefecture, it is a popular destination for Japanese and international tourists...

 when the earthquake struck the city, and were never in any danger.

Cases of homes being buried or swept away by landslides were particularly frequent in the mountainous areas and hilly coastal areas in western Kanagawa Prefecture
Kanagawa Prefecture
is a prefecture located in the southern Kantō region of Japan. The capital is Yokohama. Kanagawa is part of the Greater Tokyo Area.-History:The prefecture has some archaeological sites going back to the Jōmon period...

. These cases were reported as responsible for the deaths of about 800 people. At the railway station in the village of Nebukawa, west of Odawara, a collapsing mountainside pushed a passing passenger train with over 100 passengers downhill into the sea along with the entire station structure and the village itself. A tsunami
Tsunami
A tsunami is a series of water waves caused by the displacement of a large volume of a body of water, typically an ocean or a large lake...

 reached the coast within minutes in some areas, hitting the coast of Sagami Bay
Sagami Bay
Sagami Bay , also known as the Sagami Gulf or Sagami Sea, lies south of Kanagawa Prefecture in Honshū, central Japan, contained within the scope of the Miura Peninsula, in Kanagawa, to the east, the Izu Peninsula, in Shizuoka Prefecture, to the west, and the Shōnan coastline to the north, while the...

, Boso Peninsula
Boso Peninsula
thumb|Locationthumb|Landsat image with high-resolution data from Space Shuttle is a peninsula in Chiba prefecture on Honshū, the largest island of Japan. It forms the eastern edge of Tokyo Bay, separating it from the Pacific Ocean....

, Izu Islands
Izu Islands
The are a group of volcanic islands stretching south and east from the Izu Peninsula of Honshū, Japan. Administratively, they form two towns and six villages; all part of Tokyo. The largest is Izu Ōshima, usually called simply Ōshima....

 and the east coast of Izu Peninsula
Izu Peninsula
The is a large mountainous peninsula with deeply indented coasts to the west of Tokyo on the Pacific coast of the island of Honshū, Japan. Formerly the eponymous Izu Province, Izu peninsula is now a part of Shizuoka Prefecture...

. Tsunami waves up to 10 meters high were recorded. Examples of tsunami casualties include about 100 people killed along Yui-ga-hama beach in Kamakura
Kamakura, Kanagawa
is a city located in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, about south-south-west of Tokyo. It used to be also called .Although Kamakura proper is today rather small, it is often described in history books as a former de facto capital of Japan as the seat of the Shogunate and of the Regency during the...

 and an estimated 50 people on the Enoshima
Enoshima
is a small island, about 4 km in circumference, at the mouth of the Katase River, which flows into Sagami Bay in Japan. Part of the city of Fujisawa, it is linked to the Katase section of the same city on the mainland by a 600 meter-long bridge...

 causeway. Over 570,000 homes were destroyed, leaving an estimated 1.9 million homeless. Some evacuees were transported by ship to as far from Kanto as the port of Kobe in Kansai. The damage is estimated to have exceeded one billion U.S. dollars at present day values. There were 57 aftershocks counted.

At around the time of the earthquake, a strong typhoon struck the Tokyo Bay
Tokyo Bay
is a bay in the southern Kantō region of Japan. Its old name was .-Geography:Tokyo Bay is surrounded by the Bōsō Peninsula to the east and the Miura Peninsula to the west. In a narrow sense, Tokyo Bay is the area north of the straight line formed by the on the Miura Peninsula on one end and on...

 area. Some scientists, including C.F. Brooks of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Weather Bureau hypothesise that the opposing forces exerted by a sudden decrease of atmospheric pressure
Atmospheric pressure
Atmospheric pressure is the force per unit area exerted into a surface by the weight of air above that surface in the atmosphere of Earth . In most circumstances atmospheric pressure is closely approximated by the hydrostatic pressure caused by the weight of air above the measurement point...

 coupled with a sudden increase of pressure from the sea caused by storm surge
Storm surge
A storm surge is an offshore rise of water associated with a low pressure weather system, typically tropical cyclones and strong extratropical cyclones. Storm surges are caused primarily by high winds pushing on the ocean's surface. The wind causes the water to pile up higher than the ordinary sea...

 on an already-stressed earthquake fault may have been enough to trigger the initial quake. Altogether the earthquake and typhoon killed an estimated 99,300 people, and another 43,500 went missing.

Post-quake massacre of ethnic minorities



The Home Ministry
Home Ministry (Japan)
The ' was a Cabinet-level ministry established under the Meiji Constitution that managed the internal affairs of Empire of Japan from 1873-1947...

 declared martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

, and ordered all sectional police chiefs to make maintenance of order and security a top priority. One particularly pernicious rumor was that Koreans
Zainichi Korean
Koreans in Japan are the ethnic Korean residents of Japan. They currently constitute the second largest ethnic minority group in Japan. The majority of Koreans in Japan are Zainichi Koreans, also often known as Zainichi for short, who are the permanent ethnic Korean residents of Japan...

 were taking advantage of the disaster, committing arson
Arson
Arson is the crime of intentionally or maliciously setting fire to structures or wildland areas. It may be distinguished from other causes such as spontaneous combustion and natural wildfires...

 and robbery
Robbery
Robbery is the crime of taking or attempting to take something of value by force or threat of force or by putting the victim in fear. At common law, robbery is defined as taking the property of another, with the intent to permanently deprive the person of that property, by means of force or fear....

, and were in possession of bombs. In the aftermath of the quake, mass murder of Koreans by brutal mobs occurred in urban Tokyo and Yokohama, fueled by rumors of rebellion and sabotage. Some newspapers reported the rumors as fact, which led to the most deadly rumor of all: that the Koreans were poisoning wells. The numerous fires and cloudy well water, a little-known effect of a large quake, all seemed to confirm the rumors of the panic-stricken survivors who were living amidst the rubble. Vigilante
Vigilante
A vigilante is a private individual who legally or illegally punishes an alleged lawbreaker, or participates in a group which metes out extralegal punishment to an alleged lawbreaker....

 groups set up roadblocks in cities, towns and villages across the region. Because people with Korean
Korean language
Korean is the official language of the country Korea, in both South and North. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in People's Republic of China. There are about 78 million Korean speakers worldwide. In the 15th century, a national writing...

 accents pronounced "G" or "J" in the beginning of words differently, 15円 50銭 (jū-go-en, go-jū-sen) and がぎぐげご (gagigugego) were used as a shibboleth
Shibboleth
A shibboleth is a custom, principle, or belief distinguishing a particular class or group of people, especially a long-standing one regarded as outmoded or no longer important...

. Anyone who failed to pronounce them properly was deemed Korean. Some were told to leave, but many were beaten or killed. Moreover, anyone mistakenly identified as Korean, such as Chinese, Okinawans, and Japanese speakers of some regional dialects, suffered the same fate. About 700 Chinese, mostly from Wenzhou
Wenzhou
Wenzhou is a prefecture-level city in southeastern Zhejiang province, People's Republic of China. The area under its jurisdiction, which includes two satellite cities and six counties, had a population of 9,122,100 as of 2010....

, were killed. A monument commemorating this was built in 1993 in Wenzhou.

In response, the Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Army
-Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

 and the police conducted operations to protect Koreans. More than 2,000 Koreans were taken in for protection from the mobs across the region, although recent studies have shown that there were incidents where army and police personnel are known to have condoned or even colluded in the vigilante killings in some areas. The chief of police of Tsurumi
Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama
is one of the 18 wards of the city of Yokohama in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. As of 2010, the ward had an estimated population of 270,433 and a density of 8,140 persons per km²...

 (or Kawasaki
Kawasaki, Kanagawa
is a city located in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, between Tokyo and Yokohama. It is the 9th most populated city in Japan and one of the main cities forming the Greater Tokyo Area and Keihin Industrial Area....

 by some accounts) is reported to have publicly drunk the well-water to disprove the rumour that Koreans had been poisoning wells. In some towns, even police stations into which Korean people had escaped were attacked by mobs, whereas in other neighbourhoods residents took steps to protect them. The Army distributed flyers denying the rumour and warning civilians against attacking Koreans, but in many cases vigilante activity only ceased as a result of Army operations against it.


The total death toll from these disturbances is uncertain. According to the investigation by the Home Ministry, confirmed victims of vigilante violence were: 231 Koreans killed, 43 injured; 3 Chinese killed; 59 Japanese killed, 43 injured. Actual estimates of Korean murder victims range from 2,500 to 6,600. 362 Japanese civilians were eventually charged for murder, attempted murder, manslaughter and assault. However, most got off with nominal sentences, and even those who were sent to jail were later released with a general pardon commemorating the marriage of Prince Hirohito.

All of those charged with murder were civilian
Civilian
A civilian under international humanitarian law is a person who is not a member of his or her country's armed forces or other militia. Civilians are distinct from combatants. They are afforded a degree of legal protection from the effects of war and military occupation...

s, despite the fact that some military and police units are now known to have taken part in the crimes, prompting accusations of a cover-up. On top of this violence, socialists
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 like Hirasawa Keishichi, anarchists
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 like Sakae Osugi and Noe Ito
Noe Ito
was a Japanese anarchist, social critic, author and feminist.-Biography:Itō graduated from Ueno Girls' High School in Ueno, Tokyo, and joined the Bluestocking Society , producer of the feminist arts and culture magazine Seitō in 1912...

, and the Chinese communal leader, Ou Kiten, were abducted and killed by members of the police, who took advantage of the turmoil to liquidate perceived enemies of the state amidst claims that radicals intended to use the crisis as an opportunity to overthrow the Japanese government.

The importance of obtaining and providing accurate information following natural disasters has been emphasized in Japan ever since. Earthquake preparation literature in modern Japan almost always directs citizens to carry a portable radio and use it to listen to reliable information, and not to be misled by rumors in the event of a large earthquake.

Aftermath


Following the devastation of the earthquake, some in the government considered the possibility of moving the capital elsewhere. Proposed sites for the new capital were even discussed.

After the earthquake, Gotō Shimpei
Goto Shimpei
Count was a Japanese statesman. He served as the head of civilian affairs of Taiwan under Japanese rule, the first director of the South Manchuria Railway, the seventh mayor of Tokyo, the first Chief Scout of Japan, the first director of NHK, the third principal of Takushoku University, and the...

 organized a reconstruction plan of Tokyo with modern networks of road
Road
A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two places, which typically has been paved or otherwise improved to allow travel by some conveyance, including a horse, cart, or motor vehicle. Roads consist of one, or sometimes two, roadways each with one or more lanes and also any...

s, train
Train
A train is a connected series of vehicles for rail transport that move along a track to transport cargo or passengers from one place to another place. The track usually consists of two rails, but might also be a monorail or maglev guideway.Propulsion for the train is provided by a separate...

s, and public services. Park
Park
A park is a protected area, in its natural or semi-natural state, or planted, and set aside for human recreation and enjoyment, or for the protection of wildlife or natural habitats. It may consist of rocks, soil, water, flora and fauna and grass areas. Many parks are legally protected by...

s were placed all over Tokyo as refuge spots and public buildings were constructed with stricter standards than private buildings to accommodate refugees. However, the outbreak of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and subsequent destruction severely limited resources.

Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright was an American architect, interior designer, writer and educator, who designed more than 1,000 structures and completed 500 works. Wright believed in designing structures which were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture...

 received credit for designing the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo
Imperial Hotel, Tokyo
The Imperial Hotel, Tokyo, Japan, was created in the late 1880s at the request of the Japanese aristocracy to cater to the increasing number of western visitors to Japan. The hotel site is located just south of the Imperial Palace grounds, next to the previous location of the Palace moat...

 to withstand the quake, although in fact the building was damaged by the shock. The destruction of the US embassy caused Ambassador Cyrus Woods
Cyrus Woods
Cyrus Woods was an American diplomat and politician.He was born September 3, 1861 in Clearfield, Pennsylvania. He attended Lafayette University and was a brother of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity there . He later graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a law degree in 1889...

 to relocate the embassy to the hotel. Wright's structure withstood the anticipated earthquake stresses; and the hotel remained in use until 1968.

The unfinished battlecruiser
Battlecruiser
Battlecruisers were large capital ships built in the first half of the 20th century. They were developed in the first decade of the century as the successor to the armoured cruiser, but their evolution was more closely linked to that of the dreadnought battleship...

 Amagi was in drydock being converted into an aircraft carrier
Aircraft carrier
An aircraft carrier is a warship designed with a primary mission of deploying and recovering aircraft, acting as a seagoing airbase. Aircraft carriers thus allow a naval force to project air power worldwide without having to depend on local bases for staging aircraft operations...

 in Yokosuka in compliance with the Washington Naval Treaty
Washington Naval Treaty
The Washington Naval Treaty, also known as the Five-Power Treaty, was an attempt to cap and limit, and "prevent 'further' costly escalation" of the naval arms race that had begun after World War I between various International powers, each of which had significant naval fleets. The treaty was...

 of 1922. However, the earthquake damaged Amagi beyond repair, leading it to be scrapped, and the unfinished fast battleship Kaga
Japanese aircraft carrier Kaga
Kaga was an aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy , named after the former Kaga Province in present-day Ishikawa Prefecture...

was converted into an aircraft carrier in its place.

Beginning in 1960, every September 1 is designated as Disaster Prevention Day to commemorate the earthquake and remind people of the importance of preparation, as September and October are the middle of the typhoon season. Schools, public and private organizations host disaster drills. Tokyo is located near a fault zone beneath the Izu peninsula
Izu Peninsula
The is a large mountainous peninsula with deeply indented coasts to the west of Tokyo on the Pacific coast of the island of Honshū, Japan. Formerly the eponymous Izu Province, Izu peninsula is now a part of Shizuoka Prefecture...

 which, on average, causes a major earthquake about once every 70 years, and is also located near the Sagami Trough, a large subduction zone that threatens to create a massive earthquake that, in the darkest case, would kill millions in the Kanto Region. Every year on this date, schools across Japan take a moment of silence at the precise time the earthquake hit in memory of the lives lost.

There are some discreet memorials in Yokoamicho Park
Yokoamicho Park
is a public park in the Yokoami district of Sumida, Tokyo, Japan.-History:Following the Great Kantō earthquake on 1 September 1923, as many as 44,000 people were killed in the park when it was swept by a firestorm...

 in Sumida Ward
Sumida, Tokyo
is one of the 23 special wards of Tokyo, Japan. It calls itself Sumida City in English.As of 2008, the ward has an estimated population of 240,296 and a density of 17,480 persons per km²...

, at the site of the open space in which an estimated 38,000 people were killed by a single firestorm. The park houses a Buddhist-style memorial hall/museum, a memorial bell donated by Taiwanese Buddhists, a memorial to the victims of World War II Tokyo air raids
Bombing of Tokyo in World War II
The bombing of Tokyo, often referred to as a "firebombing", was conducted by the United States Army Air Forces during the Pacific campaigns of World War II. The U.S. mounted a small-scale raid on Tokyo in April 1942, with large morale effects...

, and a memorial to the Korean victims of the vigilante killings.

Great Kanto Earthquake-related fiction


Several Japanese films, books, and shows were based on this disaster, including the examples below.

In Nihon Chinbotsu (1973 film)
Nihon Chinbotsu (1973 film)
is a 1973 film directed by Shiro Moritani. It is based on the novel Japan Sinks by Sakyo Komatsu, published the same year. The film stars Lorne Greene, Keiju Kobayashi, Hiroshi Fujioka and Ayumi Ishida. A remake was released in 2006, Nihon Chinbotsu, loosely based on a second section of this...

, due to the fast-moving subduction of the Pacific and Eurasian plates, the Sagami Trough ruptures in a massive earthquake called "The Second Great Kanto Earthquake". The quake in the film flattens many buildings, causes Tokyo's three rivers to flood and wash out the lower east side of Tokyo in a series of tidal waves, and crushing overpasses and bridges, killing millions of people. Like the 1923 Kanto Earthquake, the quake also causes a series of major firestorms that burn the Kanto Region to the ground. The quake in the film also flattened Yokohama, Chiba, and other large cities, killing millions more. In the film, all told the quake killed between three million and four million or more. In the manga (cartoon) version of Sinking of Japan, the Second Kanto Earthquake killed over five million.

In Japan Sinks
Japan Sinks
is a 2006 Tokusatsu film directed by Shinji Higuchi, and a remake of the 1973 screenplay based on the Komatsu novel. It stars Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, Kou Shibasaki, Etsushi Toyokawa, and Mao Daichi, and was released on July 15, 2006....

, in one scene in the book, due to the fast-moving subduction of the Pacific and Eurasian plates, the Sagami Trough ruptures in a magnitude 8.5 earthquake, killing several million people in Tokyo and other areas, caused major tsunamis, and created major firestorms.

In the historical fantasy
Historical fantasy
Historical fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy and related to historical fiction, which makes use of specific elements of real world history. It is used as an umbrella term for the sword and sorcery genre and sometimes, if fantasy is involved, the sword-and-sandal genre too...

 novel Teito Monogatari
Teito Monogatari
is a massive Japanese historical fantasy epic written by Hiroshi Aramata.-Overview:The story is a retelling of the history of Edo from an occultist perspective. The premise is based on the idea that the curse of Taira no Masakado greatly influenced the city's history from its inception to the...

(Hiroshi Aramata
Hiroshi Aramata
is a Japanese author, translator, and screenplay writer, as well as a specialist in natural history and cartography.His most popular novel was Teito Monogatari , which has sold over 3.5 million copies in Japan alone. He also wrote Alexander Senki, a novel which eventually evolved into the anime...

) a supernatural explanation is given for the cause of the Great Kanto Earthquake, connecting it with the principles of Feng Shui
Feng shui
Feng shui ' is a Chinese system of geomancy believed to use the laws of both Heaven and Earth to help one improve life by receiving positive qi. The original designation for the discipline is Kan Yu ....

.

In Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
is a Japanese anime television series that premiered on Fuji TV's noitaminA timeslot on July 9, 2009, where it ended its original run on September 17. Directed by Masaki Tachibana and written by Natsuko Takahashi, it is an original series co-produced by Bones and Kinema Citrus...

, the Sagami Trough ruptures in a magnitude 8.0 earthquake, killing over 200,000 in Tokyo, causing floods and fires and putting the main character at risk.

See also


  • 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami
    2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami
    The 2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tohoku, also known as the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, or the Great East Japan Earthquake, was a magnitude 9.0 undersea megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan that occurred at 14:46 JST on Friday, 11 March 2011, with the epicenter approximately east...

  • List of earthquakes in Japan

External links