Japanese Studies at the Libraries has recently acquired a vast collection of postcards showing scenes from the Great Kantō Earthquake (関東大地震 Kantō daijishin). With over 600 in the set, the photographic images on the face of the cards provide an in-depth look at the progress and ensuing destruction, including the tragic deaths of an estimated 100,000 to 140,000 people, of this historic event. The postcards are in good condition and offer a valuable window on the many sites, from Tokyo to Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, and other prefectures on the Kantō Plain, affected by this disaster.
Sample Postcard Showing the Earthquake’s Destruction in Isezakichō, a district of Naka Ward in Yokohama
Last month the world observed the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. As time passes since the Great East Japan Earthquake (2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami) some important and interesting records of this event are being added to the collection to support research. The National Diet Library has generously sent us some materials as part of their gift and exchange program, including in-depth studies of previous earthquakes and tsunamis in Japanese history. Recently I have also started to collect creative writings, such as poetry, fiction and literary essays, as well as personal accounts of those who survived. Continue reading