9780520246072

Earthquake Nation

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780520246072

  • ISBN10:

    0520246071

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2006-05-01
  • Publisher: Univ of California Pr

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Supplemental Materials

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Summary

Accelerating seismic activity in late Meiji Japan climaxed in the legendary Great Nobi Earthquake of 1891, which rocked the main island from Tokyo to Osaka, killing thousands. Ironically, the earthquake brought down many "modern" structures built on the advice of foreign architects and engineers, while leaving certain traditional, wooden ones standing. This book, the first English-language history of modern Japanese earthquakes and earthquake science, considers the cultural and political ramifications of this and other catastrophic events on Japan's relationship with the West, with modern science, and with itself. Gregory Clancey argues that seismicity was both the Achilles' heel of Japan's nation-building project--revealing the state's western-style infrastructure to be surprisingly fragile--and a new focus for nativizing discourses which credited traditional Japanese architecture with unique abilities to ride out seismic waves. Tracing his subject from the Meiji Restoration to the Great Kant Earthquake of 1923 (which destroyed Tokyo), Clancey shows earthquakes to have been a continual though mercurial agent in Japan's self-fashioning; a catastrophic undercurrent to Japanese modernity. This innovative and absorbing study not only moves earthquakes nearer the center of modern Japan change--both materially and symbolically--but shows how fundamentally Japan shaped the global art, science, and culture of natural disaster.

Author Biography

Gregory Clancey is Assistant Professor of History at the National University of Singapore.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
ix
Acknowledgments xi
Introduction 1(10)
Strong Nation, Stone Nation
11(28)
Earthquakes
39(24)
The Seismologists
63(28)
The National Essence
91(22)
A Great Earthquake
113(38)
Japan as Earthquake Nation
151(29)
Japanese Architecture after Nobi
180(32)
The Great Kanto Earthquake and the Submergence of the Earthquake Nation
212(23)
Notes 235(64)
Bibliography 299(20)
Index 319

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