Taiken Japan

Autumn Leaves 2016

Earthquakes in Japan


Earthquakes in Japan

Sanny Soedjatmiko Hartanto

Do you know that there are about 1500 earthquakes in Japan every year? It is because Japan is located in a area of high seismicity, near major tectonic plate boundaries and is situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire.

The Deadliest Earthquake

The deadliest earthquake in Japan occurred in 1923, and it is known as the Great Kanto Earthquake. It caused about 105,000 deaths.

Tohoku Earthquake

Photo : William Saito on Flickr
This is the strongest earthquake that has happened in Japan. It reached 9.0 on the magnitude scale and produced a tsunami approximately 10 meters high. The most terrible part of this is the Fukushima  nuclear accidents. This matter got a lot of attention from all around the world.

Earthquake Measurement in Japan

Photo : Jackman Chiu on Flickr
The earthquake measurement in Japan is a little bit different than the Modified Mercalli scale used in United States or the Liedu scale used in China. Unlike the other scales, the Japanese Shindo scale is a unit with ten levels, ranging from shindo zero, a very light shake to shindo seven, a severe earthquake.

Things to Keep in Mind During an Earthquake

  1. You must sty away from windows or glass ceilings. When an earthquake occurs, the first thing that will be broken fast are glass objects, such as glass ceilings and windows. So, it is better to stay away from them!
2. Look for shelter. When the earthquake gets strong, it is better for you to get down on your knees and go under the table. The most important thing is to protect your head. When you are outside, it is better to go to open area without buildings, trees, and etc.
Photo : Direct Relief on Flickr

3. Please do not act as Superman! You are not a superhero! Please don’t forget your position if you want to help others while earthquake occurs.


Photo : Helgi Halldórsson on Flickr
4. Be prepared. You should prepare to live without food or water for a day or two. And for foreigners I recommend you to know about one phrases “Tasukete kudasai” which means, “Please help me”.


Photo : Global X on Flickr
5. If a fire occurs, the most dangerous thing is the smoke, especially carbon monoxide. It is better to cover your nose and mouth with a handkerchief when fire occurs. Although you should go fast, do not hurry, stay calm and precise.


Photo : Loco Steve on Flickr

My Own Experience

Photo : NATSUKO KADOYAMA on Flickr
I got some experience of earthquake in Japan. Fortunately, it was not such a big earthquake, maybe just about shindo level 2 or 3. This is the first time I got the experience of an earthquake, and I can say that it is such an unbelievable shaking. I also participated in earthquake drills in Japan, and I have felt the most severe earthquake, at shindo level 8. I cannot say anything about that! If it occurs in the real life, I am not sure I can survive. It is such a terrible shaking. I recommend everyone to try an earthquake drill in Japan so you know what to expect !