Great Hanshin earthquake

The Great Hanshin earthquake (阪神・淡路大震災 Hanshin Awaji daishinsai), or Kobe earthquake, occurred on January 17, 1995 at 05:46:53 JST (January 16 at 20:46:53 UTC) in the southern part of Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan, including the region known as Hanshin. It measured 6.9 on the moment magnitude scale and had a maximum intensity of 7 on the JMA Seismic Intensity Scale.[4] The tremors lasted for approximately 20 seconds. The focus of the earthquake was located 17 km beneath its epicenter, on the northern end of Awaji Island, 20 km away from the center of the city of Kobe.

Up to 6,434 people lost their lives; about 4,600 of them were from Kobe.[5] Among major cities, Kobe, with its population of 1.5 million, was the closest to the epicenter and hit by the strongest tremors. This was Japan's worst earthquake in the 20th century after the Great Kantō earthquake in 1923, which claimed more than 105,000 lives.

Great Hanshin earthquake
Great Hanshin earthquake is located in Japan
Great Hanshin earthquake
Tokyo
Tokyo
Kobe
Kobe
UTC time1995-01-16 20:46:53
ISC event124708
USGS-ANSSComCat
Local dateJanuary 17, 1995
Local time05:46:53 JST
Magnitude6.9 Mw[1]
Depth17.6 km (10.9 mi)[1]
Epicenter34°35′N 135°04′E / 34.59°N 135.07°ECoordinates: 34°35′N 135°04′E / 34.59°N 135.07°E[1]
FaultNojima
TypeStrike-slip[2]
Areas affectedJapan
Total damage$200 billion USD[3]
Max. intensityShindo 7
Peak acceleration0.8 g
Casualties5,502–6,434 killed[2]
36,896–43,792 injured[2]
251,301–310,000 displaced[2]

Earthquake

Hanshin-Awaji earthquake 1995 343
Damage at Minatogawa, Kobe

Most of the largest earthquakes in Japan are caused by subduction of the Philippine Sea Plate or Pacific Plate, with mechanisms that involve either energy released within the subducting plate or the accumulation and sudden release of stress in the overlying plate. Earthquakes of these types are especially frequent in the coastal regions of northeastern Japan.[6]

The Great Hanshin earthquake belonged to a third type, called an "inland shallow earthquake".[7] Earthquakes of this type occur along active faults. Even at lower magnitudes, they can be very destructive because they often occur near populated areas and because their hypocenters are located less than 20 km below the surface. The Great Hanshin earthquake began north of the island of Awaji, which lies just south of Kobe. It spread toward the southwest along the Nojima Fault on Awaji and toward the northeast along the Suma and Suwayama faults, which run through the center of Kobe.[8] Observations of deformations in these faults suggest that the area was subjected to east-west compression, which is consistent with previously known crustal movements.[9] Like other earthquakes recorded in western Japan between 1891 and 1948, the 1995 earthquake had a strike-slip mechanism that accommodated east-west shortening of the Eurasian Plate due to its collision with the Philippine Sea Plate in central Honshu.[10]

The Mj 7.3 earthquake struck at 05:46 JST on the morning of January 17, 1995. It lasted for 20 seconds. During this time the south side of the Nojima Fault moved 1.5 meters to the right and 1.2 meters downwards. There were four foreshocks, beginning with the largest (Mj 3.7) at 18:28 on the previous day.

Intensity

USGS Shakemap - 1995 Kobe earthquake
USGS ShakeMap for the event

It was the first time that an earthquake in Japan was officially measured at a seismic intensity (shindo in Japanese) of the highest Level 7 on the scale of Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). After the earthquake, seismic intensity observation in Japan was fully mechanized (from April 1996) and JMA seismic intensity Levels 5 and 6 were each divided into 2 levels (from October 1996).

An on-the spot investigation by JMA concluded that tremors by this earthquake were at seismic intensity of Level 7 in particular areas in northern Awaji Island (now Awaji City) and in the cities of Kobe, Ashiya, Nishinomiya and Takarazuka.[11]

Tremors were valued at seismic intensity of Levels 4 to 6 at observation points in Kansai, Chūgoku, Shikoku and Chūbu regions:[11]

Damage

Damage was extremely widespread and severe. Structures irreparably damaged by the quake included nearly 400,000 buildings,[3][12] numerous elevated road and rail bridges, and 120 of the 150 quays in the port of Kobe. The quake triggered around 300 fires,[3] which raged over large portions of the city.[13] Disruptions of water, electricity and gas supplies were extremely common. In addition, residents were afraid to return home because of aftershocks that lasted several days (74 of which were strong enough to be felt).

The majority of deaths, over 4,000, occurred in cities and suburbs in Hyōgo Prefecture. A total of 68 children under the age of 18 were orphaned, while 332 additional children lost one parent.[14]

A section of the Nojima Fault (left) and preserved damage at the Earthquake Memorial Park near the port of Kobe

Nojima fault top view
Port of Kobe Earthquake Memorial Park2

One in five of the buildings in the worst-hit areas were completely destroyed (or rendered uninhabitable). About 22% of the offices in Kobe's central business district were rendered unusable, and over half of the houses in that area were deemed unfit to live in. High rise buildings that were built after the modern 1981 building code suffered little; however, those that were not constructed to these standards suffered serious structural damage. Most of the older traditional houses had heavy tiled roofs which weighed around two tons, intended to resist the frequent typhoons that plagued Kobe, but they were only held up by a light wood support frame. When the wood supports gave way, the roof crushed the unreinforced walls and floors in a pancake collapse. Newer homes have reinforced walls and lighter roofs to avoid this, but are more susceptible to typhoons.

The damage to highways and subways was the most graphic image of the earthquake, and images of the collapsed elevated Hanshin Expressway made front pages of newspapers worldwide. Most people in Japan believed those structures to be relatively safe from earthquake damage because of the steel-reinforced concrete design. Although the initial belief was construction had been negligent, it was later shown that most of the collapsed structures were constructed properly according to the building codes in force in the 1960s. However, the steel-reinforcement specifications in the 1960s regulations had already been discovered to be inadequate and revised several times, the latest revision being in 1981, which proved effective but only applied to new structures.

Hanshin-Awaji earthquake 1995 Kashiwai-building 001
Immediately before the collapse of the Kashiwai building

Ten spans of the Hanshin Expressway Route 43 in three locations across Kobe and Nishinomiya were knocked over, blocking a link that carried forty percent of Osaka-Kobe road traffic. Half of the elevated expressway's piers were damaged in some way, and the entire route was not reopened until September 30, 1996. Three bridges on the less heavily used Route 2 were damaged, but the highway was reopened well ahead of Route 43 and served as one of the main intercity road links for a time. The Meishin Expressway was only lightly damaged, but was closed during the day until February 17, 1995 so that emergency vehicles could easily access the hardest-hit areas to the west. It wasn't until July 29 that all four lanes were open to traffic along one section.[15] Many surface highways were clogged for some time due to the collapse of higher-capacity elevated highways.

Most railways in the region were also damaged. In the aftermath of the earthquake, only 30% of the Osaka-Kobe railway tracks were operational. Daikai Station on the Kobe Rapid Railway line collapsed, bringing down part of National Route 28 above it. Wooden supports collapsed inside supposedly solid concrete pilings under the tracks of the Shinkansen high-speed rail line, causing the entire line to shut down. However, the railways rebounded quickly after the quake, reaching 80% operability in one month. The Kobe Municipal Subway resumed operation the day after the earthquake with limited service between Seishin-Chuo and Itayado stations (along with the Hokushin Kyuko Electric Railway between Tanigami and Shin-Kobe); service resumed across the entire line on February 16, 1995, with full service resuming a month later after repairs were completed. Trains continued to operate with speed restrictions until July 21, 1995.

Artificial islands, such as the modern Rokkō Island and especially Port Island in Kobe, suffered severe subsidence due to liquefaction of the soil; water breaking through the surface and flooding those islands was initially believed to have seeped in from the sea, but in fact rose from the liquefied remains of once-solid soils used to construct the islands. However, the newly completed artificial island supporting Kansai International Airport was not significantly affected, due to being further away from the epicenter and because it was built to the latest standards. The Akashi Kaikyō Bridge, under construction near the earthquake's epicenter, was not damaged but was reportedly lengthened by a full meter due to horizontal displacement along the activated tectonic fault.

Name

Outside Japan the earthquake is commonly known as the Kobe earthquake. In Japan, the disaster by this earthquake is officially called The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Disaster (阪神・淡路大震災 Hanshin-Awaji Daishinsai), which is often shortened to The Great Hanshin Earthquake Disaster (阪神大震災 Hanshin Daishinsai). Hanshin refers to the region between Osaka and Kobe. In the scientific literature it is often called the 1995 Southern Hyōgo Prefecture Earthquake (平成7年(1995年)兵庫県南部地震 Heisei 7 nen (1995 nen) Hyōgo-ken Nanbu Jishin), the name chosen by the Japan Meteorological Agency in the week after the main shock.

Other aspects

Hanshin-Awaji earthquake 1995 337
Damage in Sannomiya

The quake ravaged many of the facilities of what was then the world's sixth-largest container port and the source of nearly 40% of Kobe's industrial output.[16]

The sheer size of the earthquake caused a major decline in Japanese stock markets, with the Nikkei 225 index plunging by 1,025 points on the day following the quake. This financial damage was the immediate cause for the collapse of Barings Bank due to the actions of Nick Leeson, who had speculated vast amounts of money on Japanese and Singaporean derivatives. Discussions of Japan's "Lost Decade" tend towards purely economic analysis, and neglect the impact of the earthquake on the Japanese economy which at the time was already suffering from recession.

Despite this devastation in a big production center, the local economy recovered very quickly.[16] Even though less than half the port facilities had been rebuilt by that stage, within a year import volumes through the port had recovered fully and export volumes were nearly back to where they would have been without the disaster.[16] Less than 15 months after the earthquake, in March 1996, manufacturing activity in greater Kobe was at 98% of its projected pre-quake level.[16]

Volunteerism

The fact that volunteers from all over Japan converged on Kobe to help victims of the quake was an important event in the history of volunteerism in Japan. The year 1995 is often regarded as a turning point in the emergence of volunteerism as a major form of civic engagement.

In December 1995, the government declared January 17 a national "Disaster Prevention and Volunteerism Day", and the week from January 15 to 21 a national "Disaster Prevention and Volunteerism Week", to be commemorated with lectures, seminars, and other events designed to encourage voluntary disaster preparedness and relief efforts.[17]

Disaster planning

The earthquake proved to be a major wake-up call for Japanese disaster prevention authorities. Japan installed rubber blocks under bridges to absorb the shock and rebuilt buildings further apart to prevent collateral damage. The national government changed its disaster response policies in the wake of the earthquake, and its response to the 2004 Chūetsu earthquake was significantly faster and more effective. The Ground Self-Defense Forces were given automatic authority to respond to earthquakes over a certain magnitude, which allowed them to deploy to the Niigata region within minutes. Control over fire response was likewise handed over from local fire departments to a central command base in Tokyo and Kyoto.[18]

Fire char kobe 2005.0117
1.17 memorial in Kobe in January 2005, ten years later

In response to the widespread damage to transportation infrastructure, and the resulting effect on emergency response times in the disaster area, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport began designating special disaster prevention routes and reinforcing the roads and surrounding buildings so as to keep them as intact as possible in the event of another earthquake.[19] Hyōgo's prefectural government invested millions of yen in the following years to build earthquake-proof shelters and supplies in public parks.[20]

Memorials

The Kobe Luminarie is an event held for approximately two weeks every December. A street leading from the Daimaru store in Motomachi to Higashi Yuenchi Park (next to Kobe city hall) is decorated with arches of multicoloured lights that were donated by the Italian government. Amongst the commemorative events held on the anniversary of the earthquake, large "1.17" digits are illuminated in Higashi Yuenchi Park in the early hours of January 17 each year.

Response

Japan Trip (2271)
Local memorial in Kobe. "We won't forget that time"

Approximately 1.2 million volunteers were involved in relief efforts during the first three months following the earthquake. Retailers such as Daiei and 7-Eleven used their existing supply networks to provide necessities in affected areas, while NTT and Motorola provided free telephone service for victims. Even the Yamaguchi-gumi yakuza syndicate was involved in distributing food and supplies to needy victims.[21]

Local hospitals struggled to keep up with demand for medical treatment, largely due to collapsed or obstructed "lifelines" (roads) that kept supplies and personnel from reaching the affected areas. People were forced to wait in corridors due to the overcrowding and lack of space. Some people had to be operated on in waiting rooms and corridors.

To help speed the recovery effort, the government closed most of the Hanshin Expressway network to private vehicles from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm daily and limited traffic to buses, taxis and other designated vehicles.[22] To keep the light rail system running even though it had quite severely damaged sections, shuttle buses were commissioned to transfer patrons to stations around damaged sections.[23]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c ISC (2015), ISC-GEM Global Instrumental Earthquake Catalogue (1900–2009), Version 2.0, International Seismological Centre
  2. ^ a b c d USGS (September 4, 2009), PAGER-CAT Earthquake Catalog, Version 2008_06.1, United States Geological Survey
  3. ^ a b c Comfort, Louise (1995). Self Organization in Disaster Response: The Great Hanshin Earthquake of January 17, 1995 (PDF). p. 12.
  4. ^ The City of Kobe (January 1, 2009). "STATISTICS" (PDF). The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake: Statistics and Restoration Progress. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 26, 2011. Retrieved November 29, 2009.
  5. ^ Kobe City FIRE Bureau (January 17, 2006). "被害の状況". 阪神・淡路大震災. Kobe City Fire Bureau. Archived from the original on April 14, 2008. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  6. ^ "Earthquakes in Japan" (PDF) (in Japanese). Cabinet Office, Government of Japan. pp. 5–6. Retrieved May 6, 2009.
  7. ^ "(2) Shallow inland earthquakes", Seismic Activity in Japan.
  8. ^ Koketsu, Kazuki; Yoshida, Shingo; Higashihara, Hiromichi (1998). "A fault model of the 1995 Kobe earthquake derived from the GPS data on the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge and other datasets" (PDF). Earth, Planets and Space. 50 (10): 803. Bibcode:1998EP&S...50..803K. doi:10.1186/BF03352173.
  9. ^ "7-2(2)The 1995 Southern Hyogo Prefecture Earthquake", Seismic Activity in Japan.
  10. ^ Somerville, Paul (February 7, 1995). "Kobe Earthquake: An Urban Disaster". Eos. 76 (6): 49. Bibcode:1995EOSTr..76...49S. doi:10.1029/EO076i006p00049-02 (inactive August 20, 2019). Archived from the original on May 1, 1997. Retrieved May 6, 2009.
  11. ^ a b Search result on JMA database (in Japanese) of seismic intensity.
  12. ^ Anshel J. Schiff, ed. (1999). Hyogoken-Nanbu (Kobe) Earthquake of January 17, 1995: Lifeline Performance. Reston, VA: ASCE, TCLEE. ISBN 9780784404089.
  13. ^ Seconds from disaster – Kobe Earthquake, National Geographic video
  14. ^ Kyodo News, "Hunt for tsunami orphans hampered, unprecedented", Japan Times, April 2, 2011, p. 4.
  15. ^ Kitamura, Yamamoto & Fujii 1998, p. 240
  16. ^ a b c d "Economics Focus: The Cost of calamity". The Economist. The Economist Newspaper Limited. 398 (8725): 68. March 19–25, 2011.
  17. ^ "'Disaster Prevention and Volunteerism Day' and 'Disaster Prevention and Volunteerism Week'" (in Japanese). Cabinet Office, Government of Japan. December 15, 1995. Retrieved May 2, 2009.
  18. ^ Burritt Sabin (October 31, 2004). "The Great Hanshin Earthquake: Lessons for Niigata". J@pan Inc Newsletter (No. 295). Japan Inc Communications. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  19. ^ "Restoration from the earthquake disaster – City planning based on the lessons learned from the disaster". Great Hanshin Earthquake Restoration. Kinki Regional Development Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport]. Retrieved November 23, 2006.
  20. ^ Japan Echo Inc. (April 2, 1998). "Earthquake Readiness: From Underground Stores to Satellite Monitoring". Trends in JAPAN. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  21. ^ Fukushima, Glen S. (1995), "The Great Hanshin Earthquake", JPRI Occasional Paper (No. 2), Japan Policy Research Institute
  22. ^ Kitamura, Yamamoto & Fujii 1998, p. 260
  23. ^ Kitamura, Yamamoto & Fujii 1998, p. 256

Sources

  • Kitamura, R.; Yamamoto, T.; Fujii, S. (1998). "Impacts of the Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake on Traffic and Travel – Where Did All the Traffic Go?". In Cairns, S.; Hass-Klau, C.; Goodwin, P. (eds.). Traffic Impact of Highway Capacity Reductions: Assessment of the Evidence. London: Landor Publishing. pp. 239–261.

External links

1995 in Japan

Events in the year 1995 in Japan. It corresponds to Heisei 7 (平成7年) in the Japanese calendar.

2002 Amagasaki mayoral election

Amagasaki, Hyōgo held a mayoral election on November 17, 2002. Aya Shirai, backed by the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) and the local group Amagasaki Residents Group for Democratic City Administration defeated the incumbent Yoshio Miyata, who had been mayor since before the Great Hanshin Earthquake and ran on a platform of cutting costs. Miyata had been heavily favored in the race but later came under criticism for his willingness to accept over 35 million yen in severance pay from the city. Miyata's loss effectively marked the end of the Five Party Cooperative Alliance (Rengō Gotō Kyōgikai) that had been established in 1994 to combat the influence of the Liberal Democratic Party and the Japanese Communist Party in Hyōgo Prefecture; Miyata's victory in Amagasaki in 1994 had been the first electoral victory of the Alliance.

Historically, this was the second time a woman was elected mayor in Hyogo Prefecture, and was a precursor to the city electing the youngest female mayor in Japanese history, Kazumi Inamura, in 2010. This represented the first time successive women had been elected mayor in Japan, evidence of a shift from the previous lack of women acting as heads of local and prefectural governments, and has been attributed in part to women's activism in the wake of the Great Hanshin Earthquake. According to Atsushi Tsujikawa, as "an event symbolic of the period", Shirai's election was "featured widely in mass media and became a topic of conversation throughout the country."

Akashi Strait

The Akashi Strait (明石海峡, Akashi Kaikyō) is a strait between the Japanese islands of Honshu and Awaji. The strait connects Seto Inland Sea and Osaka Bay. The width of the Akashi Strait is approximately 4 kilometers. Its maximum depth is about 110 meters. The utmost tidal current is about 4.5 metres per second (8.7 knots).The 1.5 kilometer strait is one of the important points of the Seto Inland Sea and is at the mouth of the Pacific Ocean. The surrounding waters around Akashi Strait is a known fishery area. The Akashi Strait is designated as an international shipping channel by the Maritime Traffic Safety Act in Japan.The Akashi Kaikyō Bridge crosses the strait. This 3.911 kilometer long suspension bridge links the city of Kobe, the capital of the Hyōgo Prefecture, on Honshu Island to Iwaya on Awaji Island, also within the Hyōgo Prefecture. Its longest span measures 1.991 kilometers. After 10 years of construction it was finally opened to traffic on 5 April 1998. At the time of its opening in 1998, it was the world's longest suspension bridge.The Great Hanshin Earthquake occurred beneath the Akashi Strait and struck on 17 January 1995 with magnitude 7.2. The Nojima Fault is responsible for the Great Hanshin earthquake. The fault cuts across Awaji Island and a surface trace of about 10 kilometers long appeared on Awaji Island due to the earthquake. The Nojima Fault is a branch of the Japan Median Tectonic Line which runs the length of the southern half of Honshu island.

Awaji, Hyōgo

Awaji (淡路市, Awaji-shi) is a city located on Awaji Island in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan.

The modern city of Awaji was established on April 1, 2005, from the merger of the former town of Awaji, absorbing the towns of Tsuna, Higashiura, Hokudan and Ichinomiya (all from Tsuna District).

As of April 1, 2017, the city has an estimated population of 43,110 and a population density of 230 persons per km². The total area is 184.05 km².

Notable local places to visit are Awaji Yumebutai (Kiseki No Hoshi Greenhouse), Nojima Fault (the focus of the Great Hanshin earthquake), Akashi Kaikyo National Government Park, Honpuku-ji Temple and Awaji World Park Onokoro.

Kansai University of Nursing and Health Sciences is also located in the city.

Far Away (EP)

Far Away is a 1995 EP released to introduce the then upcoming album Moving Target by the Danish progressive metal band Royal Hunt. The instrumental "Double Conversion" appears only on this release. The live tracks were recorded in Japan in 1995 during the "Clown in the Mirror" tour. Royal Hunt dedicated the song "Far Away" to all the people of Japan who lost their relatives and friends in the 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake.

Geology of Japan

The islands of Japan are primarily the result of several large ocean movements occurring over hundreds of millions of years from the mid-Silurian to the Pleistocene as a result of the subduction of the Philippine Sea Plate beneath the continental Amurian Plate and Okinawa Plate to the south, and subduction of the Pacific Plate under the Okhotsk Plate to the north.

Japan was originally attached to the eastern coast of the Eurasian continent. The subducting plates, being deeper than the Eurasian plate, pulled Japan eastward, opening the Sea of Japan around 15 million years ago. The Strait of Tartary and the Korea Strait opened much later.

Japan is situated in a volcanic zone on the Pacific Ring of Fire. Frequent low intensity earth tremors and occasional volcanic activity are felt throughout the islands. Destructive earthquakes, often resulting in tsunamis, occur several times a century. The most recent major quakes include the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, the 2004 Chūetsu earthquake and the Great Hanshin earthquake of 1995. Hot springs are numerous and have been developed as resorts.

J-Friends

J-FRIENDS was a special unit made up of Johnny's Entertainment groups Tokio, V6, and KinKi Kids. It was formed to raise funds for the education of children involved in the Great Hanshin earthquake of 1995. Until their disbandment in 2003 they were able to release 6 singles and held some charity concerts and events. In the end they were able to donate 874.278.322 Yen.

Japanese Red Cross Society

The Japanese Red Cross Society (日本赤十字社, Nippon Sekijūjisha) is the Japanese affiliate of the International Red Cross.

The Imperial Family of Japan traditionally has supported the society, with the Empress as Honorary President and other imperial family members as vice presidents. Its headquarters is located in Tokyo and local chapters are set up in all 47 prefectures. 9,610,000 individual and 120,000 corporate members belong to the society, which operates 92 Red Cross hospitals and 79 blood centers all over the country. The Japanese Red Cross Society conducts relief activities when major disasters take place. Large earthquakes which frequently occur in Japan (such as the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake, the 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake and the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami) are an area of work for the society.

Kazuyoshi Itō

Kazuyoshi Itō (伊藤和幸 Itō Kazuyoshi) is a Japanese astronomer.

In 1994, he discovered 6879 Hyogo at Sengamine Observatory, a 20-kilometer sized carbonaceous asteroid from the main belt. The body was named in honor of the Japanese Hyōgo Prefecture with its capital city of Kobe, where the Great Hanshin earthquake occurred on 17 January 1995. Naming citation was published on 3 May 1996 (M.P.C. 27130).

Kobe Luminarie

Kobe Luminarie (神戸ルミナリエ) is a light festival held in Kobe, Japan, every December since 1995 to commemorate the Great Hanshin earthquake of that year. The lights were donated by the Italian Government and the installation itself is produced by Valerio Festi and Hirokazu Imaoka. Over 200,000 individually hand painted lights are lit each year with electricity generated from biomass in order to stay environmentally friendly.Lights are kept up for about two weeks and turned on for a few hours each evening. Major streets in the vicinity are closed to auto traffic during these hours to allow pedestrians to fill the streets and enjoy the lights. It is viewed by about three to five million people each year.

List of earthquakes in 1995

Earthquakes in 1995 details the major earthquakes that occurred around the world in the year 1995.

Meriken Park

Meriken Park is a waterfront park located in the port city of Kobe, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. The park features the Kobe Port Tower, Kobe Maritime Museum, and a memorial to victims of the Great Hanshin earthquake. The name of the park comes from the word "American," which was commonly translated as "Meriken" during the Meiji era. Meriken Park is also the location of the Hotel Okura Kobe and Kobe Meriken Park Oriental Hotel.

Nagata-ku, Kobe

Nagata (長田区, Nagata-ku) is one of 9 wards of Kobe City in Japan. It has an area of 11.46 km², and a population of 96,072 (2018). This region suffered the largest number of casualties in the Great Hanshin earthquake.

Nojima Fault

Nojima Fault (野島断層, Nojima Dansō) is a fault that is responsible for the Great Hanshin earthquake. It cuts across Awaji Island. It is a branch of the Japan Median Tectonic Line which runs the length of the southern half of Honshu island.

Osaka International Ladies Marathon

The Osaka International Women's Marathon (大阪国際女子マラソン, Ōsaka Kokusai Joshi Marason) is an annual marathon road race for women over the classic distance of 42.195 kilometres which is held on the 4th or 5th Sunday of January in the city of Osaka, Japan, and hosted by Japan Association of Athletics Federations, Kansai Telecasting Corporation, the Sankei Shimbun, Sankei Sports, Radio Osaka and Osaka City.

The first edition took place on January 24, 1982, and was won by Italy's Rita Marchisio. The 1995 marathon was cancelled due to the Great Hanshin earthquake. The race takes place in the city and passes prominent landmarks such as Osaka Castle. The course was altered in 2011 to allow for faster times by cutting out a number of hilly sections near Osaka Castle. The finish line of the race is at Nagai Stadium, which was the host venue for the 2007 World Championships in Athletics.The Osaka Half Marathon, open regardless of gender, is held alongside the women's marathon.The Japanese rock group The Alfee has written many of the theme songs for the marathon.

Paper Dome

The Paper Dome (Chinese: 桃米紙教堂; pinyin: Táomǐ Zhǐ Jiàotáng) is a temporary church building constructed using paper tubes as structural elements. It was designed on a pro-bono basis by Shigeru Ban, internationally known Japanese architect who is renowned for his paper tube structures and buildings. This temporary structure was built on September 17, 1995 to serve as a temporary church for Takatori Catholic Church after the Great Hanshin earthquake. Nonetheless, the venue was not only limited for use to religious worship but also used as a place for communal gatherings. However, when the church community planned to build a permanent building, the structure was donated to Taomi Village in Puli Township, Nantou County, Taiwan which had suffered the 921 earthquake in 1999. The deconstructed structure was shipped in 2006 to Taiwan, reconstructed there and is now one of the top tourist attractions in that area.

Robocup Rescue Simulation

Robocup Rescue Simulation is an education and research project intended to promote the development of robotic agents for search and rescue. The project was initiated in reaction to the Great Hanshin earthquake, which hit Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan, on 17 January 1995, killing more than six thousand people, most of them in the city of Kobe.According to event organizers, "The intention of the RoboCup Rescue project is to promote research and development in this socially significant domain at various levels involving multi-agent team work coordination, physical robotic agents for search and rescue, information infrastructures, personal digital assistants, a standard simulator and decision support systems, evaluation benchmarks for rescue strategies and robotic systems that [can] all [be] integrated into comprehensive systems in future."The RoboCup Rescue Simulation Project challenges teams of researchers to design virtual robots to solve various challenges, or to build real, autonomous robots, which are evaluated in specially designed rescue simulations.The project is one of several competitions operated by RoboCup, which is best known for the Robot Soccer World Cup.

Yodokō Guest House

The Yodokō Guest House was built as the summer villa for the well-to-do brewer of Sakura-Masamune sake, Tazaemon Yamamura, and is the only surviving Frank Lloyd Wright residence in Japan. The guest house was designed in 1918, and construction was completed in 1924.Set into a hilltop in Ashiya, overlooking the Port of Kobe in western

Japan, the villa demonstrates Wright's genius for spatial composition: although it has four

levels, none is taller than two stories. By stepping the house into the hill, Wright took

advantage of the extraordinary views of Osaka Bay the site offered. The exterior evokes Wright's Los Angeles textile block houses, but its decorative blocks are of Oya stone, not concrete.In 1947, the house became the property of Yodogawa Steel Works, Ltd., and was used as an official residence for the company president. It was the first Taishō period building in Japan to be named an Important Cultural Property, in 1974. It was opened to the public as Yodokō Guest House in 1989. The building was damaged due to the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995, but was subsequently repaired and has been re-opened.

Yoshinori Watanabe

Yoshinori Watanabe (渡辺 芳則, Watanabe Yoshinori, January 5, 1941 – December 1, 2012) was a yakuza, the fifth kumicho (chairman or Godfather) of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan's largest yakuza organization. He became kumicho in 1989. He was known for a more low-key approach than his predecessors, partly due to an anti-gang law passed in 1992. He retired in 2005.

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