Earthquake is named – Higashi Nihon Dai-Shinsai

In Japan, unusually large, disastrous earthquakes are given official names. This happens very rarely.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Kan named the March 11 earthquake the 東日本大震災 (Higashi Nihon Dai-Shinsai) which translates as, “The Great Eastern Japan Earthquake Disaster” or slightly abbreviated in English as “The Great Eastern Japan Earthquake.”

The word for earthquake in Japanese is 地震 (jishin) and the word 震災 (shinsai) means earthquake disaster.

Other named earthquakes in the past have been:

The Great Hanshin Earthquake in Kobe in 1995, where 6,434 people died.

The Great Kanto Earthquake in the Tokyo area in 1923, where 140,000 people died.

The Great Kanto Earthquake was the largest earthquake in Japan in the 20th century, but the Higashi Nihon Dai-Shinsai was the largest earthquake ever in Japan. There has been huge loss of life, but I can’t imagine what it would have been like if the epicenter was 140 miles south, here in the Tokyo area.



Earthquake is named – Higashi Nihon Dai-Shinsai — 3 Comments

  1. Doug, In the 1970s, a Japanese friend and I decided to watch the fireworks over by the river. In the Shitamachi area we decided to have a drink first and walked into a bar where the bartender was a woman probably in her mid 40s or so. After we had a couple of drinks, we started to leave when this old lady appeared from the upstairs rooms and started talking to us. We had another drink. During the conversation she got around to telling us about the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. She was a young girl at the time. When the quake hit, she ran upstairs just before the Tsunami slammed into the area. Eventually she was saved by rescuers who managed to get her into the boat through the upstairs window and that window when seen from the outside was high on the wall. Her tales of that area of Tokyo in 1923 were so interesting, we had a another drink or two. By that time, the fireworks were finished and so were we. Dave

  2. All the earthquakes were terrible but will there be more and how can Japan protect itself and the people? We really don’t need to name another quake if it does not happen. Let us hope. Love, Muttle

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