Photographs of the Great Kanto Earthquake
June 7, 2013 12:37 AM   Subscribe

On Saturday, September 1, 1923, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck the Kantō region of Japan. The resulting fires destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes in Tokyō and Yokohama, resulting in 142,800 deaths. A new resource site hosted by the University of Hawai'i, The Great Kantō Earthquake Japan of 1923, provides images of 199 scanned photographs documenting the destruction and aftermath of what, at the time, was the most powerful earthquake to strike the region.

You can browse by different criteria, and be sure to click the small image displayed after clicking a thumbnail to see much larger images.

Announced today on the H-Asia mailing list.
posted by sudasana (5 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

Also infamous for the post-quake massacre of thousands of Koreans and Chinese.

Yup. And the hideous, odious, racist Ishihara Shintaro, longtime governor of Tokyo prefecture, was quoted, only a few years back:

"Atrocious crimes have been committed again and again by sangokujin and other foreigners. We can expect them to riot in the event of a disastrous earthquake."

Sadly, we see, some nationalist rabble rousers never go away. Like the Eveready Bunny, they just keep on going.

As for me (longtime resident of Tokyo) I just hope to Jeebus there's no big one on the horizon. Cause not only will it be horrific and possibly result in injury or death of me and/or my family, friends and loved ones, but the current situation at Fukushima (especially reactor 4) makes the thought of a major quake even more terrifically frightening.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:47 AM on June 7, 2013

If I might humbly add a familial self link, this is a first-hand account of the earthquake from my & fabius' grandfather Criss Gyford, who was caught up in the earthquake as a 21-year-old merchant seaman spending time in Yokohama between ships.

I might be a utterly biased but it's pretty extraordinary reading.

Grandad also survived the Western Front in WWI and being on a boat that got shelled at Dunkirk in WWII. He seemed to have a knack for getting out of a tight spot alive and passed away in his sleep at the age of 86.
posted by penguin pie at 2:20 AM on June 7, 2013 [7 favorites]

bardic, just came to post that same thing. Also, not just foreigners were murdered, but also native radicals like Osugi Sakae were targeted and killed by the military.
posted by absalom at 4:58 AM on June 7, 2013

Great post! Pathetically, the first time I even heard about the quake was from a line from Inoshiro Honda's The Mysterians, where they explain that the aliens' horrible death ray emits the same amount of energy as the Great Kanto Earthquake.
posted by unreason at 6:32 AM on June 7, 2013

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