Todai-Yale Lecture Series – The Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923

Todai-Yale Lecture Series -- The Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923

Jun SUZUKI - Professor, Graduate School of Humanities & Sociology, University of Tokyo

Friday, February 1, 2013 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm
Room 203, Henry R. Luce Hall See map
34 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 6511


In the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Eastern Japan in 2011, there has been a new upsurge of interest in historical research on past disasters from which important lessons for the future might be learned. This presentation will focus on the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923, which destroyed much of the city of Tokyo, introducing some of the new research that has appeared in Japan in recent years. Specifically, the presentation will address the following four points:

• What was the overall extent of the damage caused by the 1923 earthquake?
• Given that a disaster along the lines of the 1923 earthquake had been predicted in many circles before the event, why was it that better preparations were not made?
• In the midst of the fires that destroyed much of Tokyo, why was it that a few neighborhoods in the Akihabara area of the city did not burn? What were the actual fire-fighting techniques deployed in these neighborhoods, and how do they compare with the stories that would later circulate about them?
• How are we to explain the brutal persecution of Koreans and others that took place in the days following the disaster?

The Todai-Yale Series is generously supported by the Friends of Todai Iniitiative