Earthquake Studies and the Earthquake Prediction System in Japan
Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, 4-20, 2-103 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
At 11h58m of Sept. 1, 1923, the coastal area of the south Kanto District, including big cities such as Tokyo, Yokohama, Kamakura and Atami, was violently shaken by a big shock. Disastrous vibrations continued for a couple of minutes. Immediately after the earthquake, fires arose at 163 points in Tokyo and about 3,800 ha were burnt to ashes. About 316,000 houses, 70% of all the houses in Tokyo, vanished in the fires. In Yokohama, fires arose at about 60 points and burnt about 950 ha and 60,000 houses, that is, 60% were destroyed by fires. Sum of the dead and the missing was 142,807, about 80-90% of whom were killed by fires. The most tragic event took place in the Hihukusho-yard (6 ha), which is located in downtown Tokyo. Many people who escaped from fires and other injuries gathered in this place with the minimum of personal property necessary for daily life. Fire was started on this meager assemblage and finally, 44,030 persons – almost all who gathered there – were burnt to death.