Special Issue on the 100th Anniversary of the Great Kanto Earthquake
Haruo Hayashi* and Shunichi Koshimura**
*Professor Emeritus, Kyoto University
Uji, Kyoto, Japan
**Professor, Tohoku University
Sendai, Miyagi, Japan
On September 1, 1923, the Great Kanto Earthquake struck the Tokyo metropolitan area of Japan. It was an extremely powerful earthquake that caused a great fire. The death toll reached approximately 105,000, and the economic loss is estimated to have exceeded 30% of the Japanese gross national product at that time.
For September 2023, the Journal of Disaster Research (JDR) has planned a special issue to commemorate 100 years since the Great Kanto Earthquake. While previous special issues by the JDR have focused on specific disasters, this special issue will focus on the lessons and findings from the catastrophe and will cover even the progress of disaster research since then. We received fourteen important and thought-provoking manuscripts not only on scientific and engineering aspects but also on social and cultural aspects, including comparisons with other disasters, historical views, reconstruction issues, and future perspectives. These fourteen articles can be categorized into the three groups described below.
The first four articles are the English translations of articles that originally appeared in “Koho Bosai,” the bimonthly journal on natural disaster reduction that is complied and published by the Disaster Management Section, Cabinet Office, Government of Japan. The JDR believes that these four articles provide a concise English description of various aspects of the Great Kanto Earthquake disasters. Dr. Takemura summarizes the seismic features of the 1923 Kanto Earthquake. Dr. Sekizawa summarizes the large scale urban fires that it caused. Dr. Suzuki describes various aspects of the emergency responses. Dr. Murosaki details the recovery project in Tokyo. Those articles discussed various lessons learned from the 1923 Kanto Earthquake and emphasized the importance of transferring the lessons toward future disaster mitigation.
The next six papers were originally works studying various aspects of the Great Kanto Earthquake disasters. Dr. Midorikawa reviews the strong ground motion of the 1923 Kanto Earthquake. Dr. Kaneko evaluates the resulting tsunami. Mr. Mammen sheds new light on the relationship between Charles A. Beard and Goto Shinpei in terms of the recovery. Dr. Albini studies the voices of foreign residents who left impressive disaster processes at that time. Dr. Murao reviews the urbanization of Tokyo after the Kanto Earthquake. Dr. Shima studies the response of the Tokyo Electric Light Company, Inc. to the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake.
The last four papers are works on various aspects of disaster risk reduction, but all of these works were inspired by the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake in one way or another. Dr. Shaw provides a framework for repositioning earthquake risk reduction. Dr. Shimbo explores the Phase Free Concept. Dr. Shoji focuses on the possibility of Medium-Wave AM Radio Broadcasting. Dr. Yamaguchi studies the Risk Communication Method.
The Editorial Board of the JDR thanks all of these contributors and hopes that these articles serve as great sources for further research in disaster risk reduction.
This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internationa License.