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Earthquake NationThe Cultural Politics of Japanese Seismicity, 1868-1930$
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Greg Clancey

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780520246072

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520246072.001.0001

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. A Great Earthquake

. A Great Earthquake

(p.113) Five. A Great Earthquake
Earthquake Nation

Gregory Clancey

University of California Press

On the morning of October 28, 1891, an unusually powerful earthquake centered in the Nōbi Plain near Nagoya rocked central Japan from Osaka to Tokyo. Contemporary seismologists, estimating on the basis of the yet-to-be-invented Richter scale, place the earthquake's magnitude as 8.4, making it the strongest seismic event in modern Japanese history. Given the power and extent of what would be named “the Great Nōbi Earthquake,” it was natural that all parties to the seismic question would flock to the ruins and draw lessons. The range and diversity of the destruction between Nagoya and Osaka indeed provided the evidence for many types of argument. On the one hand, there were tens of thousands of collapsed and/or burned Japanese wooden farmhouses. On the other hand, a number of very large European-style buildings and engineering structures had also dramatically failed.

Keywords:   powerful earthquake, Nōbi Plain, seismic event, Great Nōbi Earthquake, Nagoya, Osaka

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