JDR Vol.19 No.1 pp. 38-49
doi: 10.20965/jdr.2024.p0038


Damage by the 1855 Edo Earthquake and Response to the Disaster—Study Based on Edo Ohjishin no Zu (Picture Scroll of the 1855 Edo Earthquake)—

Reiko Sugimori

Historiographical Institute, The University of Tokyo
7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan

Corresponding author

September 6, 2023
December 20, 2023
February 1, 2024
1855 Edo Earthquake, historical material, restoration process, disaster response, disaster risk reduction

The great earthquake in 1855 caused extensive damage to Edo, where the shogunate was located and more than one million people lived. The picture scroll on the subject of this earthquake, Edo Ohjishin no Zu, has been conventionally understood as depicting the general situation in Edo before and after the earthquake. However, an examination of related historical documents reveals that the scroll depicts the specific situation in the area between the Saiwaibashi-mon Gate and the Shiba Residence of the Satsuma Domain up to three months after the earthquake. The depiction of the damage and people’s behavior corresponds well with the descriptions in the historical documents. Edo Ohjishin no Zu shows the damage caused by the earthquake and fire, and the restoration process based on the facts, indicating that restoration progressed to some extent in the town areas during the three months after the earthquake. The premise that made this possible was the experience in dealing with fires that had accumulated in Edo, where fires were common. Although it was the first time for the machi-kaisho offices to provide relief in the wake of an earthquake, they quickly responded to the complex disaster involving fire by drawing on their past experience. Edo Ohjishin no Zu is a historical material that describes the sequence of events from the occurrence of the earthquake to the restoration process and can be used as a reference for disaster response even today.

Cite this article as:
R. Sugimori, “Damage by the 1855 Edo Earthquake and Response to the Disaster—Study Based on Edo Ohjishin no Zu (Picture Scroll of the 1855 Edo Earthquake)—,” J. Disaster Res., Vol.19 No.1, pp. 38-49, 2024.
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Last updated on Jul. 12, 2024